Evening primrose oil benefits

What are the uses for Evening primrose?

Evening primrose oil benefits and the various uses of evening primrose began to attract more attention when a discovery was made on its therapeutic properties.

However, before we begin discussing the discovery or its therapeutic benefits, we would like to share with you what it is and cover some of its healing history.

Evening Primrose

Evening primrose is a native plant to North America with bright yellow flowers. At dusk, each flower blooms for only one night and by morning - the bloomed flower withers and dies. Hence the names evening primrose or evening star!

Although the plant is a native to North America, its seeds hitched rides on traveling ships to Europe and eventually it made its way around the world. Today, the plant is cultivated widely for its medicinal oil benefits. However, in earlier times the entire plant was used medicinally.

History of Uses for Evening Primrose

Traditional Benefits of Evening Primrose

Native Americans prize it not only for its medicinal powers, but also as a food source. Many tribes boiled and ate the roots of the plant, while others found the young leaves and seeds as a good food source. Medicinally, the Native Americans used the whole evening primrose plant to treat swelling and inflammations of wounds by applying it externally. In addition, they treated coughs by drinking root tea.

The early colonist enthusiastically adopted the plant and used its roots as a food source and garnished breads by using its seeds. The Shakers used a tea made from the herb's seeds to treat indigestion and other digestive problems.

In the 19th-century, the Eclectic physicians (early naturopaths) used evening primrose for the same reasons, except they advised adding lard and mixing it with a strong tea and then applying it to wounds and other skin conditions.

Up until the 1980's, herbalists recommended it mostly for indigestion problems and it was thought of as being a minor medicinal herb. However, evening primrose oil benefits began to get widely studied and recommended when a discovery was made that a key essential fatty acid, which is rarely found in plants was indeed in the herb's seed oil.

Modern Evening Primrose Oil Benefits


Modern Uses for Evening Primrose

Evening primrose oil benefits is believed to come from a compound known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a fatty acid found rich in the oil of the plant's seeds.

GLA for short, is an essential fatty acid that our bodies converts to prostaglandins (hormone-like substances), which harbors anti-inflammatory properties.

Since the body does not manufacture essential fatty acids (EFA's), they must be obtained through proper diet or supplementation.

The possible benefits of evening primrose include the following:

  • Alleviating pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Minimize skin itchiness, flaking, and inflammation of eczema
  • May help with acne
  • May be helpful in alleviating symptoms associated with PMS such as bloating, breast tenderness, menstrual cramps, and other PMS symptoms.

    But wait, it doesn't stop here. There are more uses for evening primrose ...

    The most exciting evening primrose oil benefits are in the possibilities that the herb may also be useful for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    Evening primrose oil may help people who suffer from diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), and it may be useful in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

    Although the benefits of evening primrose look promising, much more clinical studies are needed to confirm all the aforementioned benefits. However, from all of its intriguing possibilities, the strongest evidence lies in the treatment of eczema.

    Side Effects of Evening Primrose

    There is no evidence of side effects when taken at the recommended dosage. Very high doses may cause nausea, stomach upset and headaches.

    To maximize your evening primrose oil benefits, look for supplements that provide at least 40 mg of GLA per 500 mg of evening primrose. The usual daily dosage range 160 to 240 mg of GLA divided into two or three doses. Higher amounts may be needed to treat certain conditions as well as severe eczema.

    Precautions of Evening Primrose

    Indeed, evening primrose oil benefits may be substantial. However, it's very important to be aware of precautions.

    If you have a medical condition, or if you're taking prescription medications, herbs, or supplements, you should always speak to a qualified healthcare provider before starting any supplementation. This is really important.

    In addition, there is not enough evidence on the safe use of evening primrose for women who are pregnant or nursing and, as such, it is not recommended for use.

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    We hope this webpage discussing the benefits of Evening Primrose Oil was useful to you!

    To Your Health!

    The Editors

    And remember, to maximize your evening primrose oil benefits, look for supplements that provide at least 40 mg of GLA per 500 mg of evening primrose. In addition, always speak with a physician before taking any dietary supplements.

    More than Evening primrose oil benefits can be found at our Herbal Supplement Guide web-page

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