Evening Primrose Oil has been compared to vitamin C in its incredible ability to prevent and protect against a number of health related problems. The source of much of the healing effect is phenylalanine, which is a powerful pain relieving compound used often in the treatment of headaches and migraines.
Ongoing medicinal trials and studies are being conducted to further establish evening primrose oil's ability to treat conditions such as weight control and obesity, PMS and symptoms of menopause, alcoholism, heart disease, aging problems, ,acne, hyperactivity (mostly in children), schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. Because evening primrose oil benefits so many different health problems, it is one of the first recommendations made by modern day herbalists because the preventative and therapeutic qualities are so essential for preventing disease and maintaining a youthful appearance.
Evening Primrose Oil Benefits
In addition to phenylalanine, evening primrose oil is rich in the essential fatty acid GLA, which contributes a large part to the healing effects of the herb. The concentration of GLA in evening primrose is actually one of the highest concentrations of the fatty acid and few plants contain any GLA.
Gamma-linoleic acid, linoleic acid and other nutrients found in this oil are essential for the body to build and maintain cell structure. They are also used to improve elasticity of your skin, regulate hormone, improve nerve function and aid a multitude of problems from pre-menstrual syndrome to painful migraine headaches.
The hormone balancing effect of evening primrose oil also promotes healthy breast tissue.
The specific benefits of evening primrose oil are:
- Reduces the discomfort of menopause, menstruation, PMS, fibrocystic breasts and endometriosis. The GLA found in evening primrose oil is able to interfere with the body's production of inflammatory prostaglandins that are released during mentruation. This can lessen menstrual cramps and minimise bowel flare-ups, premenstrual breast tenderness, cravings for carbohydrates and it also controls the inflammation associated with edometriosis.
Those who suffer from PMS often have unusually low levels of GLA in their body. An evening primrose oil supplement can help with this. For women with fibrocystic breasts, the fatty acids in the oil are useful to reduce the inflammation of the breasts and for promoting the increased absorption of iodine – which is a mineral often with abnormally low levels in women who suffer the condition. Evening primrose oil also reduces hot flushes and increases an overall feeling of well-being.
The gamma-linoleic acid, linoleic acid and other nutrients in this oil are essential for cell structure and improve the elasticity of the skin. These fatty acids also help to regulate hormones and improve nerve function aiding problems ranging from PMS to migraine headaches. The hormone balancing effect contributes to healthy breast tissue.
- Eases joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. A six-month study into the effects of GLA found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis who took the fatty acid capsules reported fewer signs of inflammation and another study also showed that tender and swollen joints dropped significantly when taking GLA, compared to those who took a placebo. Evening primrose oil is an excellent way to get these GLA fatty acids if you do suffer from joint pain or arthritis.
- Fight nerve damage in diabetics. Recent research has shown that GLA in evening primrose oil can actually prevent, and in certain cases it can reverse, nerve damage which is common in patients with diabetes. The 12-month study revealed that many symptoms of patients with mild diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) – including numbness, loss of sensation and tingling – were reduced in those who took evening primrose oil. Those who took a placebo saw no improvement.
- Treating the symptoms of eczema. One of the causes of eczema happens when the body is unable to convert fats you consume in your diet into GLA. Therefore, supplementing your diet with GLA from evening primrose oil can be beneficial as your body doesn't have to exert energy trying to convert it. Studies have shown that the oil can relieve eczema related inflammation, oozing, flaking and itching. Taking GLA (through evening primrose oil) can also reduce the need for steroid creams or drugs – many of which have nasty and unpleasant side effects.
- Used in the treatment of acne and rosacea. Again, it's the essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil that can help to dilute a thick, oily substance known as sebum which clogs the pores of acne sufferers. Reducing the clogging of these pores can prevent lesions and lumps from forming. Rosacea is treated because the EFA's reduce the inflammation and control the flow of nutrients into the skin cells. This produces prostaglandins – which stimulate the contraction of blood vessels which reduces the flushed effects of rosacea.
- Fight multiple sclerosis. While there are only limited studies, the essential fatty acids in evening primrose are proven to reduce inflammation and may also be useful in reducing inflammation associated with the progressive nerve disorder multiple sclerosis. Over time, this make actually promote healthy nerve development as well.
- Treating Alzheimer related memory deficiencies. Evening primrose oil may be able to increase the transmission of nerve impulses, which can help to slow memory loss in those fighting this progressive brain disorder.
- Improving impotence and female infertility. Poor circulation which leads to impaired penile blood flow is a primary cause of male impotence, The essential fatty acid GLA in evening primrose oil promotes blood flow, and can be used to reduce the effects of impotence. Many men take the oil with both vitamin C and ginkgo biloba. Long term, evening primrose oil can prevent the narrowing of the blood vessels, which is usually a result of high cholesterol and plaque buildup in the veins. GLA may also help women who are unable to conceive by improving their uterine function.
- Replenishing scalp, nails and hair. Essential fatty acids are also very import to nourish and replenish the scalp and hair, as well as for preventing cracked nails and to keep them healthy. Evening primrose oil is very often used for cosmetic beauty and wellness for this reason.
- Treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. With the correct levels of GLA, your brain is able to produce prostaglandin E, which is a specific type of prostaglandin that prevents alcohol withdrawal symptoms (e.g. seizures, depression) by protecting both the liver and central nervous system.
Evening primrose oil side effects
While it is completely natural and safe to take, you may need to consult a doctor before taking evening primrose oil if you:
- Suffer from epilepsy
- Pregnant and/or breast feeding
Evening primrose oil information
|Latin name||Common names||Properties||Uses||Treatments|
|Oenothera biennis||Fever Plant, OEP, Sun Drop||anti-aggregatory, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-thrombotic, vasodilator||Acne, allergies, arteriosclerosis, asthma, cholesterol regulation, chronic headaches, diabetic nerve damage. dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity in children, high cholesterol, impotence and female infertility, inflammation||Alzheimer's-related memory deficiencies, PMS, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, multiple sclerosis, lupus|