What are the Different Evening Primrose Oil Benefits?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Oenothera biennis, or evening primrose oil, is a popular herbal supplement. The benefits of evening primrose oil range from promoting heart health to resolving skin problems. Evening primrose oil benefits may be especially helpful for women, and menstrual cycle symptoms are often treated with the herbal formula. Breast pain, premenstrual syndromes, and menopausal syndromes may be eased by the supplement. Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, have also been clinically proven to be reduced by the evening primrose oil.

Primrose oil may be helpful for reducing the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.
Primrose oil may be helpful for reducing the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

Essential fatty acids are present in pure evening primrose oil. This makes the oil an effective tool in aiding the body's growth and development. Two evening primrose oil capsules, a standard dose, may contain up to 20 calories and 1/14 of an ounce (2 grams) of fat.

Some herbalists believe that evening primrose oil can help treat multiple sclerosis.
Some herbalists believe that evening primrose oil can help treat multiple sclerosis.

Though concrete research on evening primrose oil benefits remains inconclusive about most of its purported medical qualities, it continues to be used as a treatment for several other conditions. Some herbalists claim that evening primrose oil benefits include treating conditions such as diabetes, allergies, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, asthma, cancer, and other illnesses. Medical proof that these conditions can be healed by primrose oil, however, remains to be found.

Evening primrose oil can be taken to induce labor.
Evening primrose oil can be taken to induce labor.

Unlike some other herbal remedies, evening primrose oil benefits may extend toward children. It has been used to treat skin rashes and eczema in children as well as adults. Children are typically prescribed up to 1/7 of an ounce (2 to 4 grams) of the oil in capsule form. A physician should always be consulted prior to giving children herbal remedies.

Evening primrose oil may be helpful for easing menstrual problems.
Evening primrose oil may be helpful for easing menstrual problems.

Typical evening primrose oil doses are given through capsule form, though oil tinctures can be taken as well. An adult dose usually consists of 1/7 to 1/4 of an ounce (2 to 8 grams) daily. Women who are nursing or pregnant should consult with a physician prior to taking evening primrose oil. Though side effects are rare, they can include headache, loose stools, and upset stomach.

Pure evening primrose oil is rich in essential fatty acids.
Pure evening primrose oil is rich in essential fatty acids.

Native to North America, the evening primrose gets its name from its blooming habits. Unlike many wildflowers, it blooms at night. It features wide yellow, white, or pink flowers and tiny black and brown seeds, from which the oil is derived from. Other names for the oil include EPO and sun drop.

Skin rashes like eczema may be treated with evening primrose oil.
Skin rashes like eczema may be treated with evening primrose oil.
Primrose oil may be helpful in relieving breast pain.
Primrose oil may be helpful in relieving breast pain.
Evening primrose oil may be helpful in treating asthma.
Evening primrose oil may be helpful in treating asthma.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

fBoyle

Evening primrose oil is great for skin too. It hydrates skin and helps prevent wrinkles. It is also used for conditions like eczema and acne. But its use for acne is a bit controversial.

Evening primrose oil helped with my acne but I know that it can make acne worse in some people. A friend tried evening primrose oil too and she said that she got more acne spots afterward. I have not had this problem. Taking 500mg of evening primrose oil per day keeps my acne under control. I think it's worth a try.

SteamLouis

@discographer-- Yes, some women use evening primrose oil (EPO) to improve fertility. It is believed that EPO makes cervical mucus thinner, which makes it easier for sperm to reach the egg.

EPO is also used after the 36th week of pregnancy to soften the cervix and make delivery easier. Prostaglandins prepare our cervix for delivery and EPO contains prostaglandins. The oil can be taken orally as a supplement or inserted into the vagina or applied topically. However it is not advised for use before the 36th week because it may induce labor early.

I used EPO after my 36th week and I had a very easy delivery. I was told that my cervix was very soft so I know that the EPO worked. I used it topically, during perineal massage.

discographer

Does anyone know what benefits evening primrose oil offers during pregnancy? My cousin mentioned using it once for pregnancy.

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