Evening Primrose Oil

November 12, 2012

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the primrose plant, native to the United States. It has been used traditionally by the Native Americans to treat a variety of conditions. The European settlers also added the seeds to their foods.



Essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid make up to 25 percent of evening primrose seeds. It also contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and helps maintain the crucial omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid ratio in your body.


Evening primrose oil has been used to treat a variety of conditions including:

  • Eczema – Some research studies and clinical trials have proven that application of the oil can help relieve eczema symptoms such as redness, scaling and itching. It can be used safely in children and adults with skin conditions.
  • Premenstrual syndrome – Although, it has not been validated scientifically, many women across the world use evening primrose oil to relieve the symptoms of PMS.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – The oil may also benefit individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, and help slow down the progression of the disease. However, it may not replace your existing prescription medications.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon – Some studies have also suggested that evening primrose oil may reduce the symptoms in some people with Raynaud’s phenomenon, characterized by extremely cold hands and feet.
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy – The evening primrose oil can relieve the symptoms of diabetes neuropathy including numbness, tingling, pain, burning, or lack of sensation in their feet and legs.
  • Breast pain – The oil has also been used to relieve breast pain and mastalgia in a number of European countries.
  • Menopausal symptoms – Primrose oil can help treat hot flashes associated with menopause.

Available Forms:

The evening primrose oil is available as oils and capsules. Most experts recommend two to eight grams of evening primrose oil that has been standardized to contain 8% gamma-linoleic acid. However, you should consider the benefits and side effects of the herb before using it. Here are some additional trips:

  • Look for products that have been tested for safety and quality. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the production and distribution of evening primrose oil supplements in the United States. Hence, make sure the product has been evaluated by an independent agency.

  • Do not exceed the recommended dosage of the herb. Your doctor may help you establish the right dosage.

  • Inform the doctor about your pre-existing conditions, and other medications you might be taking.

Side Effects

The common side effects include nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and headache. It is not recommended for individuals with epilepsy and bleeding disorders. The herb may interact with certain blood-thinning, blood pressure and antidepressant medications.

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