of the Week for 12th September
By Lynn Kirkland
Cowslips are delightful and a sign that spring is here.
They appear at the same time as the violets and the early forget- me- nots which make lovely picking flowers for a vase to brighten up a room.
Cowslips do have herbal uses and they are an edible flower.
They look delightful gracing a desert as an edible garnish or can be scattered through salads if you have enough.
Historically cowslip flowers and leaves have been used for widely varying health issues ranging from migraines to menstrual problems, to coughs and insomnia.
Nowadays it would be rare for this herb to be used as the days when it grew in abundance in the wild are gone.
In England it was a wild flower and it was a popular herb to use for making wine with.
Cowslip wine was very popular among the country folk of Britain.
Using an infusion of cowslips on the face was also a wonderful country remedy used to help the complexion.
Cowslips are delicately scented perennial and can self sow if you leave the flowers to set seed.
So I guess it is a toss up between the pleasure of picking the flowers to bring their beauty inside or leaving them in the garden to form seed.
The cowslips you see in the photo are the variety that has the herbal history to it and these are called primula vera.
There are many colourful primulas available in the garden shops but these are not the ones to add to the plate of make wine with.
The healing herbal varities usually have vera meaning true or officinalis denoting its recognised medicinal usage in the botanical name.