Natural Health Remedies for You

Evening Primrose Benefits

This pages focuses on evening primrose benefits - What are the numerous health benefits of evening primrose oil? Are there any evening primrose oil side effects? Read on and find out.

What is Evening Primrose Oil

The sweet-smelling evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a biennial plant that grows from three to nine feet tall. Between June and October, the evening primrose flowers bloom at twilight and wilt by dawn, which is why it is called "evening primrose".

Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant.

Evening Primrose Benefits

Evening Primrose Benefits

Evening primrose is good for you in three ways.

First, evening primrose oil (EPO) is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. GLAs help to produce compounds that perform important functions such as regulating brain function, blood flow, gastrointestinal activity, fluid balance, and fat decomposition.

Second, evening primrose leaves are rich in quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid. (Bioflavonoids are not produced by the human body but are found in many leaves, bark, seeds, and flowers). Bioflavonoids protect blood vessels, aid in circulation, stimulate bile production, and lower cholesterol levels.

Finally, evening primrose seed (not the oil) is a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid which can be converted by our body into serotonin, a brain chemical, which acts as a natural mood enhancer and antidepressant.


Evening Primrose Health Benefits

Evening primrose benefits are numerous. EPO is good for a variety of conditions, especially those resulting from an imbalance of essential fatty acids, skin irritation and inflammation, or an immune deficiency. Here are some of the evening primrose benefits:
  • Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS): Physical and mental discomforts before and during menstruation (such as irritability, bloating, breast soreness, depression) can be eased by evening primrose oil. Clinical studies show that women suffering from PMS have low levels of GLA; taking a supplement of the GLA-rich evening primrose oil is effective in alleviating PMS symptoms.
  • Eczema: People suffering from eczema, a skin condition that causes inflammation, redness, itchiness, burning, and scabbing, can benefit from taking a supplement of EPO. When applied topically, it has been shown that the oil can also reduce swelling and irritation.
  • High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol: When blood pressure is higher than normal, the heart's workload is increased. Elevated blood cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart disease. The GLA in evening primrose oil is effective in lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Arteriosclerosis: When combined with a low-cholesterol diet, EPO may reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, because it contains anticlotting compounds.
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH): BPH, also known as noncancerous prostate enlargement, is common among older men. Research indicates that 50 percent of men have some degree of prostate enlargement by age 50. It has been found that EPO helps prevent prostate problems because it acts as a powerful 5-alpha-reductase type II inhibitor, which helps reduce enlarged prostates.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): MS is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system, causing nerve damage, vision problems, and muscle weakness. EPO is found to be able to reduce or prevent inflammatory processes.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes may experience a condition called diabetic neuropathy, which can cause loss of feeling in their extremities. The GLA and tryptophan found in evening primrose help stimulate the central nervous system and are beneficial for people suffering from diabetic neuropathy.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: One of the evening primrose benefits is its ability to relieve pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Taking EPO supplements and applying the oil topically can significantly help with pain relief.


Evening Primrose Benefits - Dosage


Evening primrose oil is available in capsules and in liquid form. The usual dosage is about three grams per day for most conditions.

EPO is best taken with food as this will help to ensure adequate absorption of GLA. Other nutrients that are important for the body to utilize the GLA in evening primrose oil are zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium.


Evening Primrose Oil Side Effects

There are a lot of evening primrose benefits, but are there any evening primrose oil side effects?

Generally speaking, EPO side effects are uncommon but it may cause headaches, nausea, bloating, and abdominal discomfort in a small percentage of people.

In addition, schizophrenic patients on phenothiazines (Thorazine) may experience mild breathing difficulties or even increased risk of epilepsy if they take EPO.

Finally, if you are pregnant or lactating, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking EPO or any other herbal or nutritional supplements.


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
Duke, J.A., Dr. Duke's Essential Herbs, (Rodale Books, 2000).

TOP of Evening Primrose Benefits
Top 10 Most Visited Pages

Subscribe to This Site:


Enjoy This Site?

Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

| Homepage | Links |
| Contact Us | Privacy Policy |

Information on this site is for educational purpose only.
It is not intended to replace the advice and treatment of a professional medical practitioner.

Return to top
Copyright© 2009.