The Native Americans first used evening primrose to help heal bruises. It was eventually taken back to Europe by English and German settlers but it’s only recently that the oil from the plant’s seeds has been used medicinally.
What is Evening Primrose?
Evening primrose is a wild flower which contains oil in its seeds that is rich in the essential fatty acids: gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA). GLA and LA are a particularly healthy form of omega-6 fatty acid.
You can buy evening primrose as oil or in capsules. Look for products that contain 8% gamma-linolenic acid. Evening Primrose oil is also used in soaps and cosmetics.
Why do I need Evening Primrose?
Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties. One of its most popular uses is to relieve skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. Some studies have shown evening primrose reduces symptoms such as crusting, itching, swelling and redness. More research is needed as not all experts agree.
Another popular use for evening primrose is to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Evening Primrose is also thought to promote healthy skin, hair and nails and may be beneficial for a number of conditions including: rheumatoid arthritis* (due to its anti-inflammatory properties), Raynaud’s phenomenon, diabetic peripheral neuropathy (a nerve condition that causes tingling and numbness), for menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, for relief of mastalgia (breast pain) and to help the brittle bone condition osteoporosis when used in combination with calcium and fish oils. More research is needed for many of these conditions.
Can too much Evening Primrose be bad for you?
Evening primrose is an omega-6 supplement which in too high doses can cause headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and loose stools (poo). It has also been linked to seizures so you should not take evening primrose if you have epilepsy or another seizure disorder.