Evening Primrose Oil Facts

Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose | Source

What is evening primrose oil?

Evening primrose oil is the essential oil extracted from the wildflower of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis ). It is known to be a significant source of the essential amino acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA) which belong to the family of Omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are not naturally produced by the body and therefore they are needed to be introduced from an outside source.

Evening primrose seeds.
Evening primrose seeds. | Source

Where does evening primrose oil comes from?

The oil is extracted from the seeds of evening primrose; a wildflower with a deep yellow color and is about 5-7 feet. Native to cold climate areas, it can be commonly found in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. What’s unique to it is that its flowers bloom throughout summer evenings but only last for a night, hence the name “evening primrose.” Each plant produces seed pods that contain an abundance of seeds.

There are many ways of extracting essential oils from plants. For the case of evening primrose cold press extraction is really more preferred. Other methods that exist are distillation and the use of organic solvents such as ‘hexanes.’ The heat from distillation however oxidizes and destroys the essential fatty acids while using solvent extraction leaves trace amounts of solvent in the oil.

What are the benefits of evening primrose oil?

Evening primrose oil benefits primarily are because of the essential fatty acids it contain. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA) are synthesized by the body as building blocks of proteins. In simpler terms, they are used to repair and generate new muscle cells.

Supplementing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA) from evening primrose oil have been found to have beneficial medicinal results. It aids the natural healing processes of the body and is especially useful in helping cure skin illnesses like eczema, psoriasis, acne, as well as alleviating rheumatoid arthritis and breast pain. Though research is still ongoing, many believe that evening primrose oil helps in controlling diabetes and high blood pressure.

Evening primrose oil for acne

Consumed topically, the essential fatty acids in the oil help dilute sebum, the oily substance that causes acne. Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous glands to nourish the skin yet an excess blocks the pores and causes bacteria buildup. Diluting this sebum reduces the chances of having clogged pores.

Consuming evening primrose oil orally reduces skin redness and blemishes, hydrates, smoothens, nourishes, and rejuvenates the skin leaving a beautiful healthy glow.

Evening primrose oil for menopause and women

The essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is also found to be involved in the synthesis of prostaglandins. These substances act like hormones and are generally present in the body. They are important for the overall healthy well-being of an individual yet more crucial at during menopause. This is because during menopause, the body declines in production of oestrogen, a hormone that help regulate the healthy well-being of a woman. The resulting hormonal imbalance causes some of the discomfort experienced by menopausal women. Prostaglandin PGE1 helps correct the hormonal imbalance and aids to having a healthy menopausal period.

Evening primrose oil also helps minimize symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) which includes but not limited to the following: bloating, mood changes, night sweats, insomnia, headaches, hot flashes, cramping, breast tenderness and pain, fluid retention, and vaginal dryness.

Other believed uses of evening primrose oil:

  • helps in alcohol withdrawal
  • lower risks of hypertension
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Raynaud's disease
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • for blood clotting disorders
  • certain cancers

And its side effects?

The recommended dosage of evening primrose oil is around 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily. In most cases, it is well tolerated when consumed. Reported evening primrose oil side effects are only mild cases of nausea, headache, and likely because of an overdose, loose stools and stomach pain.

There are important considerations however when consuming evening primrose oil:

  1. People with seizure disorders such as epilepsy must not consume omega-6 supplement products (such as evening primrose oil) as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is linked with higher tendencies of seizures.
  2. People with blood clotting disorders are also not recommended to consume evening primrose oil. This is because GLA is linked to higher risks of bleeding. Do not consume if you are taking in anticoagulants (blood thinning medications).
  3. Discontinue use if unpleasant skin reaction results. Some people might be allergic to the components of the oil.

  4. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should always consult with their doctor before using any medication. (This would include oil supplements.)

  5. Ask your doctor if there are other medications that you consume. Consuming oil supplements may possibly have interacting effects with other medications.

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Comments 3 comments

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

It is always a good thing when you learn something new. Thanks for providing such good information on primrose oil. I was not aware of the many benefits it provides. Very useful information.

cepheid profile image

cepheid 5 years ago from Estonia Author

Truth is I also just learned about it a few hours ago. Random research is actually quite fun.

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 5 years ago from California

Interesting hub. I am confused about clotting disorders and Evening Primrose.

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