The Primrose possesses somewhat similar medicinal properties to those of the Cowslip which is used more often in clinic situations these days. Be wary to cultivate them yourself at home too close to each other as they cross pollinate, also it is advised against picking wild cowslips due to sustainability issues.
The aerial parts are most commonly used when fresh and in bloom and sometimes the root. In the early days of medicine, the Primrose was considered an important remedy in muscular rheumatism, paralysis and gout. Pliny speaks of it as almost a panacea for these complaints. The whole plant is sedative and too much has been said to cause delirium so use in moderation. I find that it can be a good gentle sedative for children when taken as a tea, flower essence or drops of tincture.
An infusion of the roots is a good remedy against nervous headaches. The roots are harvested in the autumn when two or three years old and dried for later use. An ointment has been made from the plant and used for treating skin wounds.
It is used mostly today as an expectorant (due to saponins) and tonic to the respiratory & nervous system. It also contains salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin.