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Overview Information

Cowslip is a plant that grows throughout Europe and Asia. The flower and root are used to make medicine.

Cowslip flower is most commonly used for swollen nose and throat and bronchitis. It is also used for trouble sleeping, headache, muscle spasms, heart failure and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In combination with gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel, cowslip is commonly used for maintaining healthy sinuses and treating swollen and painful sinuses caused by a viral infection (sinusitis).

How does it work?

Cowslip contains chemicals that might thin and loosen mucus.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Inflamed nasal passages (sinusitis). Taking products containing cowslip, gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel seems to improve symptoms of sinusitis. Taking a similar product containing cowslip and these ingredients along with a prescription intranasal steroid also seems to improve nasal symptoms better than taking the intranasal steroid alone.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Bronchitis. Early research shows that taking cowslip root in combination with thyme (Bronchipret) by mouth relieves symptoms of bronchitis such as coughing, fever, and increased production of mucus.
  • Asthma.
  • Cough.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Gout.
  • Headache.
  • Hysteria.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Nervous excitability.
  • Nervous system complaints.
  • Spasms.
  • Tremors.
  • Whooping cough.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cowslip for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Cowslip is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in small amounts as part of combination products containing gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel (SinuComp, Sinupret, Sinupret +) or when taken as part of a combination product containing cowslip and thyme (Bronchipret). There isn't enough information to know if cowslip is safe when used in medicinal amounts other than as part of the combination product. The combination products can cause digestive system upset and occasionally allergic skin rash.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking cowslip if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.



We currently have no information for COWSLIP Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:



  • Inflamed nasal passages (sinusitis): Specific combination products (SinuComp, Sinupret, Sinupret +) taken in doses to provide 36 mg of cowslip flower, 12 mg of gentian root, and 36 mg each of European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel has been used three times daily for 7 days.

View References


  • Budzianowski J, Morozowska M, Wesolowska M. Lipophilic flavones of Primula veris L. from field cultivation and in vitro cultures. Phytochemistry 2005;66:1033-9. View abstract.
  • Ernst E, Marz R, Sieder C. A controlled multi-centre study of herbal versus synthetic secretolytic drugs for acute bronchitis. Phytomedicine 1997;4:287-93.
  • Marz RW, Ismail C, Popp MA. Action profile and efficacy of a herbal combination preparation for the treatment of sinusitis. Wien Med Wochenschr 1999;149:202-8. View abstract.
  • Neubauer N, Marz RW. Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, clincal trial with Sinupret sugar coated tablets on the basis of a therapy with antibiotics and decongestant nasal drops in acute sinusitis. Phytomedicine 1994;1:177-81.
  • Peric A, Kovacevic SV, Gacesa D, Peric AV. Efficacy and safety of combined treatment of acute rhinosinusitis by herbal medicinal product Sinupret and mometasone furoate nasal spray. ENT Updates 2017;7(2):68-74.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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