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16 Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

Updated on March 28, 2016
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Evening Primrose Plants

Beach evening primrose plant.
Beach evening primrose plant. | Source
Close-up of leaves of evening primrose plant.
Close-up of leaves of evening primrose plant. | Source
Evening Primrose plant seeds. This is where the oil comes from.
Evening Primrose plant seeds. This is where the oil comes from. | Source

Evening Primrose Oil Health Benefits

Evening primrose oil is the oil that comes from the seeds of the evening primrose plant. its scientific or Latin name is oenothera biennis.

What is unique about this oil is that it is one of only a few good sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that is found mostly in plant based oils such as borage seed oil, evening primrose oil and black currant seed oil.

Even though borage oil has GLA just like evening primrose oil, a guy on a video was saying that it is much better to use the evening primrose oil than the borage oil due to other oils that are in these plants.

The NCCAM (National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) is one of the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Alternative medicine is medicine used instead of conventional medicine. Complimentary medicine is medicine used in addition to conventional medicine.

For 2012, evening primrose oil was one of the top 5 herbs that were searched for in 2012 on the NCCAM website. The others include aloe vera, St. John's wort, echinacea and fenugreek. See 15 Health Benefits of St. John's Wort, 12 Health Benefits of Echinacea, and 11 Health Benefits of Fenugreek.

Dr. James A. Duke is an American botanist with a Ph.D. in botany. He has spent over 3 decades working for the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). He created a list (database) of the different plant medicines (phytochemicals) that are in plant foods, herbs or herbal foods and what they could do for health.

He wrote a book about the best 13 herbs for health and healing. See the article: Best 13 Herbs for Health and Healing. This list includes evening primrose oil. This list also includes echinacea, hawthorn berries, turmeric and ginkgo biloba.

Other omega-6 essential fatty acids like arachidonic acid and linoleic acid may be unhealthy since they may create inflammation especially if people are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. The GLA can actually reduce inflammation. Different people give different ideal ratios but a 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is fine.

There are lots of oils with omega-6 and Americans have a tendency to not get enough omega-3. One very good source is fatty fish. For vegetarians or vegans, a great source is flaxseed or chia seeds. These also have a lot of nutrients and fiber. Everyday the ocean is getting more polluted and the mercury levels in fish keep going up.

Herbs have many good side effects whereas drugs or medications have many nasty side effects. Then later the medication may be recalled for having deadly side effects on too many people. The most popular drug was Vioxx for pain. It was recalled because it caused to many deaths from heart attacks.

On my article about St. John's wort I give a link to a medical center that says that it works as well on depression as does the drugs Zoloft and Prozac. There are recently many lawsuits against Pfizer for not giving a warning to people that Zoloft can create serious birth defects. Every month we hear about a drug getting recalled for damage it is doing. Herbs are rarely recalled.

16 Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

1. Great for Skin Problems

This oil helps with atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and acne. Here is a PubMed article called Evening primrose oil is effective in atopic dermatitis: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.

It is taken orally for these problems but it can also be applied topically.

2. Heart Health

The evening primrose oil has been shown to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

3. Helps Endometriosis

For more help with this see: How to Cure Your Endometriosis. I know about this first hand since I helped a women who could not get pregnant due to this condition, to have twins-- a boy and a girl. University of Maryland Medical Center says that this herb oil is good for endometriosis, hormonal imbalance and stress.

They say to take a standardized extract of 500mg to 1,000 mg daily. It is the gamma linolenic acid (GLA) in it that helps with the above. They say not to take it if you are taking antipsychotic medications, medications that increase bleeding or if you have a history of seizures.

4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Some studies have shown that this oil can help with CFS.

5. PMS (premenstrual syndrome)

This is one of the most popular uses of evening primrose oil. Also other things have been found to help this. I do not know the reason for this but many people have found that changing to a vegetarian diet helps with this. Maybe the extra fiber in the diet helps this. Also it is good to avoid having excess weight and to exercise regularly. Some have found that improving diet and avoiding junk foods like cake, cookies and candies help.

Also it helps to eat more raw fruit and vegetables. The purpose of menstruation is to help to clean the body out of toxins. The above mentioned things helps to keep the intake of toxins into the body lower and helps the body to clean out toxins that are in the body.

6. Evening Primrose Oil Helps Whooping Cough

This is one of the traditional benefits of this oil.

7. This Helps Rheumatoid Arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties of this oil helps with this.

8. Helps Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The anti-inflammatory properties of this can help with many things including MS.

9. Helps Alzheimer's Disease

Anti-inflammatory herbs help with many conditions that are related to age.

10. Cancer

Some studies have shown that this herb can help with cancer like beast cancer.

11. Good for Asthma

Please note that with many of these conditions you can find studies show that it works and shows that it does not work.

12. Helps with Symptoms of Menopause

13. Help IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) has an article about this. It says that it also helps to use probiotics. Also fasting can greatly help with this. If someone fasts for several days, this gives the colon (bowel) a rest. Like the heart, the colon contracts regularly without ever stopping. If someone does not eat for a while, then the colon does not have more wast to get rid of so these contractions can stop.

If someone can fast for a week, this gives the colon a long rest. When someone starts eating again, the the colon starts contracting again. But after having a rest like this, the colon works better than it has in many years. I know this from what I read and also from my own experience.

14. Helps with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

At least one study showed that evening primrose oil could help with this.

15. Helps with Weight Loss

This is one of the benefits of the gamma linolenic acid (GLA) that is in this herb or oil.

16. Helps with Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

They have found that this herb can help with the symptoms of alcohol due to the GLA in it

Another benefit of this herbs is to shorten or helping to start labor. But there are articles saying that it does not work for this and can increase the risk of complications. So you have to check this one out yourself.

Of course if you are having a baby, you probably have someone helping you, like a doula or midwife that might know more about this. On the first video below, the first benefit is induction of labor at childbirth.

Top 10 Evening Primrose Oil Benefits

Primrose Oil Review for PMS: Look at the labels, don't be fooled!


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