It is really surprising how this plant succeeds in avoiding auto-pollination, thus defending its own species at best. The process is interesting and quite complicated. There are two types of primrose flowers that are apparently identical but morphologically different.
Some flowers feature short pistil and huge stamens that keep pollen out of the ovary; others have a long pistil reaching the corolla, so that the stamens below, which are of a normal size, cannot let pollen fall into the ovary. This is the reason why, in late spring, mountain and sub-mountain meadows are dotted with vivid yellow primrose flowers.
"Primula veris dicitur a primo vere... ", wrote Joseph P. de Tournefort about primrose in the 17th century. Indeed this is one of the first flowers to bloom so extensively as to be considered a sign of the return of spring. Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen (12th century) studied this plant's properties accurately. She devoted her life to medicine, preparing simple herb-based medicaments. All her findings were collected in a book, "Liber simplicia medicinae", where she maintains she has been given such knowledge directly by the Holy Virgin.
Hildegard defined this plant "herba paralisis", as she considered it a formidable remedy against these "accidents". She also praised its properties in healing melancholy.
Later, primrose was said to be of some use as far as cardiopathy was concerned.
Nowadays, it is well known that cowslips feature an active substance that can be found especially in the root and has expectorating properties.
Its cardiovascular action, however, has not been proved yet. It is worth remembering that in northern Europe, primrose has long been used in the treatment of bronchial diseases.
by Dr. Ernesto Riva