Evening primrose oil properties

Medicinal properties of evening primrose oil

Flower of Evening primrose

Evening primrose oil is rich in GLA, an omega 6 fatty acid

Evening primrose stands fundamentally out for its wealth in essential fatty acids (EFA). they are essential in the metabolism because the body requires them for numerous functions, but cannot synthesize them, therefore, they must be contributed by the diet and are therefore called essential.

What role do GLA essential fatty acids in evening primrose have in the body?

These are necessary for the proper production of prostglandins (precursor substances of hormones capable of regulating many functions of our body), as well as the proper functioning of the body’s cells or to correctly develop the functions of the brain. )

EFAs are a type of fat. They are necessary for the correct prostaglandins production, (Prostaglandins are precursors of the hormones and they able to regulate many functions of our body) They are also necessary for cells and brain to work correctly. One of the most interesting functions of evening primrose AGEs is their anti-inflammatory properties, used against premenstrual syndrome and in numerous pain effects (arthritis, …

Evening primrose is a plant whose seeds contain omega-6 essential fatty fats. Among these, we can find fundamentally between a 60 or 80% of linoleic acid and till a 15 % of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Properties of the types of omega 6 of evening primrose

Linoleic acid (Omega 6) is easier to obtain since one can take it from the diet, from many varied vegetable sources, as nuts which are one of the vegetable with the highest quantity. Avocado, soya or sunflower oils, almonds or peanuts…etc will be another possible sources where to obtain it from. Crude cold first-pressure oils are also very rich in omega 6 (linoleic acid): soybean oil, walnut oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, wheat germ oil, etc.

The second type of essential oil that primrose oil contains, and the most important one,  is gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. It  doesn’t appear in considerable quantities in any food except in the oils of primrose, borage or blackcurrant. Primrose possesses from 7 to 10% of this kind of fatty acid, the highest amount after blackcurrant, which makes it very advisable to be be used as a source of this component.

Therefore, the importance of evening primrose oil lies in its richness in GLA, a type of omega 6 that is a direct precursor of prostanoids or eicosanoids series 1 (E1), important for hormonal balance, the development of the nervous system, regulation of inflammation, good blood circulation and for skin disorders.

Which is better, evening primrose oil or borage oil?

 primrose flowers
Evening primrose flowers

In general, evening primrose on borage is recommended because it is considered to be safer, even if it is more expensive and higher doses are required.

Nor should we forget that the oil of evening primrose seeds contains high amounts of oleic acid, whose importance in the health of the heart and arteries has also been revealed many times and that can be found in other plant sources such as avocados, Nuts or olive oil.

* See: Difference between omega 3, omega 6 and GLA

Benefits: What is evening primrose oil used for?

Among all the applications and properties of evening primrose oil, we can mention the following:

Evening primrose oil for healthy skin, hair and nails

  • Skin health: GLA deficiency has been related to certain skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, healing problems, pruritus and erythema. Essential fatty acids have an important role in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and “caring for the skin from the inside.” These nutrients are essential to keep the dermis healthy, so it is widely used to treat these conditions. (Take three 1000 mg capsules per day divided into 3 doses, preferably with other foods.)
  • Hair loss and nail health: The use of this supplement, due to its ability to improve circulation, can be used in case of hair loss related to a lack of blood supply to the hair follicle. (Take three 1000 mg capsules per day divided into 3 doses.) Evening primrose oil helps keep nails free of cracks. (3000 mg daily divided into 3 doses)

Evening primrose for women’s illnesses:

Evening primrose oil pearls

It has been proved that the use of evening primrose oil is very suitable to treat a series of illnesses related with the women’s health:

  • Evening primrose for premenstrual syndrome (PMS): Gamma-linolenic acid contributes to prostaglandin E1 production, a kind of a hormone that reduces the inflammatory processes. This property is very useful in the treatment of the negative symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome, so much in what refers to its physical aspects as the psychological ones.
    The use of evening primrose complements helps to reduce the stomach swelling, headache or bigger sensibility in women’s breasts, general body swelling, increase of weight, pain in the back, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, urinary problems, diverse manifestations in the skin, as dryness, labial herpes or acne, etc.
    As for the psychological aspects, the complements of this plant will help to combat depression, irritability, bigger aggressiveness, anxiety, etc. The use of this oil constitutes an alternative without contraindications to the use of prostaglandin inhibitors or hormones.

How to treat premenstrual syndrome with evening primrose oil?

  • Take capsules of evening primrose oil before menstruation according to the leaflet indications.
  • The usual dose is about 250 mg of GAL every day, what would represent about three capsules of 1000 mg of primrose oil a day distributed in 3 doses.
  • Avoid non reliable brands due to the adulteration that these oils are frequently subjected to
  • It is preferable to eat it with other foods to improve its absorption, for example with a fruit and about 4 nuts.

Other woman’s problems treated with evening primrose oil

  • Endometriosis: (Take evening primrose oil capsules before menstruation according to the patient’s leaflet) (Avoid unreliable brands, due to adulteration of the oils they usually suffer)
  • Infertility: the use of this oil can be useful to solve certain infertility problems related with women’s hormonal dysfunctions.
  • Ovary cysts: Their use can be effective in the reduction of the ovary cysts.
  • Lumps in breasts: the capsules of this oil, rich in Omega-6 fatty acids, seem to reduce the mammary inflammations, avoiding or reducing the formation of benign lumps in women’s breasts (Fibrocystic mastopathy)

Evening primrose for rheumatoid arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties of Evening primrose oil are very useful for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The use of this supplement in a habitual way for a period of 6 months helps to improve the illness, showing less pain and a bigger flexibility in joints.

Studies carried out in United States applied doses of 2,5 g of gamma-linolenic acid every day during a period of 6 months. In these experiments it was demonstrated that the patients presented less pain and their joints were less inflamed. (The habitual doses usually applied in in this case are about 350 daily mg of GLA, distributed in two or three takings during meals)

Multiple sclerosis: High doses of this supplement (up to 8 g everyday) are used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis with very promising results.

Evening primrose for circulatory system diseases

The use of this oil reduces the levels of ” bad ” cholesterol (LDL). Besides to its capacity to reduce cholesterol, it is necessary to say that it possesses anticoagulant properties for blood, it also favors dilation and flexibility of the arteries and it impedes their inflammation.

In general, it improves blood circulation and it prevents many illnesses of the circulatory system as the inflammations of the arteries (phlebitis), hemorrhoids, varices or hypertension. (The usual dose is about 250 mg of GLA a day)

Other uses of evening primrose

  • Diabetes: It has been useful as a complementary medicine in the treatment of the diabetes. On one hand, this oil helps to maintain the levels of insulin stable, on the other hand, it prevents the secondary effects that this illness provides in the nervous system of some patients, such as the usual tingling sensation or the numbness of the members.
    Its use in laboratory with mice has demonstrated that it was able to avoid such problems as diabetic retinopathy or diabetic atherosclerosis, two illnesses that take place by the excess of sugar in blood.
  • Urticaria: Evening primrose has got antihistamine properties that could be used in the treatment of urticaria, helping reduce the appearance of the characteristic “wheals” and reducing the itching.
  • Digestive tract diseases : Evening primrose oil protects the mucous tissue of the digestive tract so that it can be considered a good ally to protect the stomach. It is specially useful in the treatment of drunkenness, especially in what refers to the negative symptoms that hangover produces the following day after drinking.
  • Allergies:Using it prevents the appearance of the respiratory allergies and reduces its negative symptoms, as sneezing, lacrimation, etc.
  • Regulator of tearing and salivation: It is appropriate to control the excess of production of saliva or tears (Treatments must be applied during 2 to 4 months.)
  • Nail fungus: Primrose oil can also be used to treat nail fungus. (The usual intake is 3,000 mg / day split into 3 doses)
  • Alzheimer disease: It is suspected that the lack of fatty acids could be one of the triggers of Alzheimer’s. Analysis in patients with this disease show low levels of fatty acids. Supplement intake of essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 could improve the evolution of the disease (Take it according to the patient’s leaflet).
  • Macular degeneration: Essential fatty acids prevent macular degeneration and help in the formation of vitamin A from carotenes. (Take it according to the patient’s leaflet).
  • Alcoholism: It is particularly useful in the treatment of binge drinking, especially in regard to the negative symptoms that produce a hangover the next day. It also seems that it exerts a positive role in alleviating the negative effects of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. On the other hand, it has been shown that its use protects the liver against the negative effects of alcohol.
  • Hepatitis: It has been proved very effective in the treatment of hepatitis.
primrose oil properties drawing
Main properties of evening primrose oil

External use preparations with primrose oil

  • Eczemas: In external use, this oil is used for the treatment of eczemas, especially the atopic eczema, a chronic illness related with allergy problems that attacks the skin providing it a leather-like texture. Its application during 3 or 4 months is very positive to reduce itching, dryness and to prevent skin desquamation. It is an alternative treatment to the use of corticoids or topical inmunomodulators.
  • Acne: its topical application reduces blackheads, pustules and skin inflammations. This property takes place because the power of its oil in diluting the accumulation of fat in the pores of the skin, what impedes that these may become blocked which would produce the skin flaws of acne.
  • Torn and strained muscles: By rubbing the strain or torn muscles with this oil, we will diminish muscle pain. (Empty the content of a capsule on the fingertips to massage the affected area)
  • Raynaud’s syndrome: For the treatment of Raynaud’s disease, characterized fundamentally by circulatory problems in the fingers of the hands and of the feet, as well as in the ears and nose. The frictions with this oil will improve blood circulation in these areas avoiding redness or numbness and reducing pain. (Empty the content of a capsule on fingertips to massage the affected area)

Non medicinal uses of evening primrose

Evening primrose as edible plant

Plant of North American origin that was introduced in Europe in the XVII century as forage for animals, especially for pigs. In America it was already used previously to feed the livestock and also for human feeding.

The roots were boiled or caramelized. The first winter roots, cooked before bloom, are eatable. They have a very strong flavor so that they should be boiled a couple of times. The flowers can be used to perfume salads.

 Evening primrose in gardening

This plant is used in ornamental gardening because its beautiful yellow flowers can decorate parterres and slopes. Its resistance and adaptation to dryness and pollution makes it ideal for its use on the edge of highways.

On the other hand, its thick roots and rosettes are useful to fix unstable soils during the first two years. In fact, this plant was initially imported and planted with this purpose, until the medicinal properties of its oil was discovered.

Evening primrose toxicity

  • Avoid using it with epilepsy.
  • There is a possibility to suffer adverse reactions such as nausea or uneasiness. It is better to take this supplement together with food to minimize to the maximum its possible secondary effects in the stomach.
  • It sometimes produces headache.
  • It is preferable to take this supplement together with small doses of vitamin E to avoid its degradation and to absorb it better.

punto rojo More information on evening primrose

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

22 April, 2021

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