Health Benefits of Evening Primrose OilEvening primrose oil is derived from a wildflower evening primrose that primarily grows in the mild climate of North America and Europe and other countries with similar climate. Evening primrose plant blooms throughout the summer, but its flowers last only for a day wherein they bloom with the morning sunlight and start dying as the sun sets, thus the name is derived from this characteristic of the plant.
The active ingredient believed to be present in evening primrose oil (EPO) is omega-6 essential fatty acid and gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which are essential for various functions in the body. The essential fatty acids are not synthesized in the body thus its supplementation through proper diet is essential.
Health and evening primrose oil
- Evening primrose oil is studied for variety of disorders mainly individuals affected with metabolic products of essential fatty acids, but more conclusive scientific researches are required in this field to prove its safety and effectiveness.
- Evening primrose oil when taken orally can be beneficial for eczema cure and for atopic dermatitis.
- The gamma linolenic acid in evening primrose oil may be beneficial for people with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy.
- Evening primrose can be beneficial for high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) by having effects on prostaglandins.
- Based on unclear scientific researches evening primrose oil may also have effects in breast cancer, breast cyst, breast pain (mastalgia), fatigue post viral infection or chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis treatment. However to prescribe it, more conclusive scientific studies need to be conducted.
- Traditionally based on scientific theories, evening primrose oil is also used for atherosclerosis, alcoholism, bronchitis, chemotherapy induced neuropathy, cystic fibrosis, stomach or intestine disorders, kidney stones, heart diseases, hepatitis B, hot flashes, inflammation, post-menopausal syndrome, pain, promoting easier birth, whooping cough and wound healing.
Side effects and evening primrose oil
- Evening primrose can cause seizures in some individuals especially in individuals with previous history of seizure disorders or its intake in combination with anesthetics. Thus it is not recommended for people using anesthetics or taking medication for mental illness.
- EPO intake can also cause occasional headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and loose stools.
- EPO can lower the blood pressure, so it should be used with caution for people with high blood pressure, and people taking medications or herbs or supplements to lower the blood pressure.
Evening primrose oil should be taken in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional to avoid its side effects.