PRIMROSEPrimula Vulgaris Mar –May

 CONSTITUENTS-Primulite, Volemite, Primaverin, Primulverin, Salicylates, Tannins, Glycosides, Silicic acid, Primverase

HISTORY- There is an account of where the generic name comes from, it comes from the Latin word “Primus,” meaning first.

In Greek this flower is called “Primeol,” whilst it is called “Primeverole,” in the French language and Primeverola,” in Italian-meaning the first spring flower.

Culpeper calls it “Herba Paralysis.” In Scotland the Primrose is called the “May Spink,” “May Floore,” “Pink,” “Pinkie,” “Faulie Pumrose,” “Buckie Faalie,” “Maisie Spink,” “Meysie Spink,” “Faulie Pumrock” and “Pimrose.”

Chaucer refers to it in “The Miller’s Tale,” and refers to a fine lady as a “Prime Robe.

In some areas of Britain it is called “Fairy Cups,” due to the superstition that fairies shelter in them on rainy days.

In Roman legend, it was given in memoriam to the youth Paralisos, who was the son of Priapus and Flora. When Paralisos’s lover Melicenta died, he died shortly afterwards.   So his parents gave the Primrose to the earth as an act of remembrance.

April the 19th is Primrose day-it is the anniversary of the death in 1881 of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, as the flower was his favourite. Queen Victoria sent a wreath of primrose flowers to Disraeli’s funeral.

The Primrose is sacred to Druid’s and Pagans as it is the Mother Goddess’s flower. The Primrose represented inconstancy and lover’s doubts. It was used as a love oracle

“Maiden’s as a true love in their bosoms place the Primrose;

  If it loses its freshness a girl knows her lover is unfaithful.”

It was believed that Olwen the May Queen was made from nine flowers the primrose being just one of them.

A bunch of five flowers which are growing beside water is said to open the gateway to Fairy land if they are placed on a magical Standing Stone according to Scottish legend.

In Scotland the Primrose is associated with safety posies which are left on the door step to encourage Fairies to bless the house and anyone living in it.

In Wales and Ireland the primrose also was a fairy flower, whilst in England the flower represented wantonness.

The Primrose according to folklore was considered to be the key to the secret treasure chest’s of the world. If you want to see fairies you must eat the flowers according to Scottish legend. There is an account of bunches of Primroses being left in the cowshed to convince the fairies not to steal the milk.

It is associated with St Bride/ the Goddess Brigid/ Bride (the Celtic Goddess of Rebirth and Renewal); the flowers were gathered as a gift to her on St Bride’s day 1st February. Which is also, the ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc. From the last corn sheaf from last year’s harvest, they made a figure of a woman they dressed her with shells, crystals, Primroses, Snowdrops and any other greenery they found. It was carried in procession, with the young girls dressed in white with their hair loose which symbolised youth and purity.

The Primrose in Medieval times was dedicated to St Agatha, and was ceremonially gathered by children on the 13th of March. In later Christian legend it is dedicated to St Valentine as the rhyme tells us

 “While the Crocus hastens to the shrine;

  Of Primrose lone on St Valentine:”

 This is due to the belief it flowered on the 14th of February, Saint Valentine’s Day.

William Shakespeare mentions the primrose in his play “Hamlet,” calling it “The Primrose path of dalliance.” Due to the belief it was the way of pleasure and indulgence.

It is also mentioned in the “Golden Fleece,” as “The primrose of her wantonness.”

In times past they were strewn on graves. It was thought dangerous to bring fewer than 13 flowers into the house was considered a death token.

According to legend picking a primrose with six leaves helps the heart as this rhyme written by John Donne in 1600 tells us “ the primrose where with six leaves gotten grace; maids as a true love ,in their bosoms place;”

It is popular in Scottish rhymes and relished as a snack by Scottish bairn’s.

MEDICINAL USES- It was recommended by Pliny for the treatment of rheumatism.

It is mentioned in Elizabeth Rainbow’s herbal written in 1650.

According to Gerard –Primrose tea drunk in the month of May is famous for curing the phrensie,” whilst Culpeper states “That the flowers should be ground down to a powder and taken as a snuff to encourage violent sneezing……Of the leaves of primrose is made as fine a salve to heal wounds as any I know.”

 Primrose tea was used to cure the phrensie.

Primroses have traditionally been used to treat coughs for centuries. The flowers and roots were dried and used for coughs as it is a bronchial expectorant.

Why not make a primrose tea using the flowers it does indeed stop a cough in its tracts and can get rid of phlegm.  It has been proven to work by scientists.

 The leaves were traditionally used in northern Scotland to make a salve for burns and small cuts.

The leaves were used for abscesses on the Isle of Lewis. The leaves were also used as a poultice to bring boils to a head and burst.