The evening primrose plant is native to North America and also found sporadically in Europe and the southern hemisphere. It blooms in the evening, giving it that name, and displays bright yellow flowers. For medicinal purposes, the seeds from the evening primrose flower are cold-pressed and the oil is extracted. Evening primrose oil is not used for cooking. 1
Evening Primrose Oil Health Uses and Health Benefits
Evening primrose oil benefits include containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid that the human body needs but can’t manufacture on its own. Omega-6 needs to come from digesting foods and these acids are fundamental blocks for building cell membranes as well as a variety of hormones needed for brain development and overall normal growth. 1,2,3
Evening primrose oil benefits also include other natural ingredients necessary for good health, particularly for treating skin conditions like evening primrose oil for acne and women’s conditions such as menstrual cramps and breast irritation. Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are contained in evening primrose oil. 1,2
The oil is widely available in liquid and capsule form. The highest quality, organic EPO will be certified by a reputable party. 3
Native Americans have used the evening primrose plant for centuries. Today, the many evening primrose oil health benefits can treat several ailments. The following are the top evening primrose oil uses:
- Dry Skin (Xeroderma) - Xeroderma or xerodermia is a condition where the skin is deficient in oils and natural moisturizers. It commonly shows on the scalp, legs, arms and extremities. Skin scaling, cracking, and severe itching is common. Ingesting evening primrose oil or applying the oil topically to the area is an effective remedy.
- Premenstrual Syndrome - Evening primrose oil is a PMS treatment and helps with other menstrual discomforts. Clinical studies have repeatedly confirmed that evening primrose oil has pain-reducing therapeutic properties and support the use of evening primrose oil for PMS as well as relieving symptoms from menopause.
- Multiple Sclerosis - MS is a central nervous system or neurological disorder where the body attacks its own cells by mistake. The high amounts of Vitamin D in EPO contribute as a control for MS.
- Perimenopause - “Peri” means “around” the menopause which is the transaction time between regular menstrual periods and when they stop at menopause. This can be quite a difficult and uncomfortable period for women. Ingesting evening primrose oil is a proven relief for perimenopause discomfort.
- Fibrocystic Breast - This breast tissue condition affects up to 50 percent of women in childbearing years. Non-cancerous lumps appear and can be quite painful. Evening primrose oil can be used orally or massaged topically for relief in breaking down the lumps and reducing the pain.
- Menopause Syndrome - Also known as Post-Menopausal Syndrome, this is the time when a woman’s body changes and is no longer able to conceive or bear children. The transition during this period is often accompanied by hot flashes that EPO is effective in treating as a natural remedy.
Evening Primrose Oil Side Effects and Precautions
Side effects from regular use of evening primrose oil are limited provided it’s taken within recommended doses of under twelve grams per day. Additional use may result in abdominal pain, stomach upset and gastrointestinal irregularity. Headaches and nausea may also occur from excessive amounts. 1
Because evening primrose oil is high in Omega-6 fatty acids, overuse has been known to contribute to forming blood clots, depressing the immune system, causing inflammation and contributing to weight gain. 1,2
People who are taking blood thinning or blood pressure medication should have their doctor’s advice before consuming evening primrose oil. It may also be unsafe for anyone prone to epilepsy. 1