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Both the so-called forest cowslip or common cowslip (Primula elatior) and the cowslip (Primula veris) are under special protection in Germany and many other countries. Medicinal plants have been pushed to the brink of extinction in some regions due to extensive agriculture and wild collection, so that in many places they are no longer allowed to be picked or dug up.

The Primula veris is under nature protection

Cowslips imported from wild collections

Its special value as a medicinal plant - Primula veris in particular is often used in natural medicine to treat coughs and other respiratory infections - means that the individual plant components are imported in large quantities, especially from countries like Turkey. There, the imported supplies come almost exclusively from wild collections, with overexploitation of the natural occurrence of cowslips being pursued. In the meantime, cowslips are either rare or even threatened with extinction in large parts of their very large distribution area. The perennial is one of the most threatened medicinal plants.

Cowslips are protected in many countries

Wild populations, in particular of the cowslip, may not be collected in Germany as they are strictly protected under the Federal Species Protection Ordinance. In six federal states alone, the cowslip is considered potentially endangered or critically endangered, especially in Saxony and Brandenburg. In addition, the wild perennial is also protected in many other European countries, e.g. in Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg etc.

Plant cultivars in the garden for medicinal purposes

If you want to use cowslips for medicinal purposes, it is best to use plants from your own garden for the reasons described. Both plants and seeds from cultivated breeds are commercially available, which are wonderful to cultivate and propagate. Cowslips prefer a sunny to half-shady location on moist, humus-rich soil. In addition, the plants are extremely easy to care for.


Incidentally, the cowslip can not only be used as a medicinal plant, parts of the perennial are even edible. Contrary to some claims, cowslips are not poisonous.

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