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Evening Primrose - Side Effects and Benefits of Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose Oil

Alternative Names:

Oenothera biennis , Huile D'Onagre, Kaempe natlys, King's cureall.

Herb Description

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), a small yellow wildflower, is a member of the fuchsia and willow herb family. The common name of the plant is derived from the flower, which opens and releases its scent during the evening. The seeds contain oils that has been used therapeutically for centuries. Evening primrose oil (EPO) holds an essential omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is considered to be the active ingredient. It is also rich in Vitamin E just like olives and nuts are. Our body is not in the position to produce it but we can consume it by eating fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, salmon and herring, and using safflower, sunflower and rapeseed oils in our cooking.

Positive results from well­designed controlled clinical trials have been reported for diabetic peripheral neuropathy & rheumatoid arthritis, however, efficacy is not well established due to mixed or limited trial results. Evening primrose oil has some medicinal actions that may work as an anti-inflammatory for conditions such as arthritis, eczema, high blood pressure or hypertension. Evening primrose oil is considered to abate cramps in association with pre-menstrual symptoms, though this has yet to be scientifically proven.

Uses and Benefits

EPO has been used for minimizing the risk of heart disorder by reducing cholesterol and by abating the risk of blood clots . It has also been used as a treatment for controlling symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), to ebb breast pain, to reduce symptoms of cystic breast disease as well as eczema. Evening Primrose Oil also has effects on cervical mucus .

Evening primrose oil (EPO), along with borage and black currant oils, are high sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). These plant oils are used for premenstrual syndrome and associated breast pain & arthritis. EPO has also been prescribed for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, hyperlipoidaemia , chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, schizo­phrenia, menopausal hot flushes, and many other ailments.

Evening primrose oil (EPO) treats, cures, or prevents practically everything—from breast pain, rheumatoid arthritis, premenstrual syndrome, skin diseases, and other skin disorders to diabetic neuropathy, cancer, high blood cholesterol levels, and heart disease.

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is an essential fatty acid that holds gamma linolenic acid (GLA). This gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is changed to a hormone-like compound known prostaglandin E1 which has anti-inflammatory actions and may also work as a blood thinner and blood vessel dilator. Due to this anti-inflammatory actions of evening primrose oil, it is efficacious to help people suffering from aches, pains and cramps.

Side Effects

Individuals with allergies to plants in the Onagraceae family may also be allergic to EPO. Individuals allergic to gamma-linolenic acid or any other components in evening primrose oil should avoid its use. It may produce skin rash if contact .

Liquid preparations of this supplement may hold sugar or alcohol. Caution is recommended if person have liver disease, diabetes or alcohol dependence . Ask to doctor about the safe use of this supplement. EPO supplement should not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation . Consult to health practitioner before using this supplement.

EPO and other GLA-containing plant oils are well tolerated in clinical trials lasting up to 1 year. A few cases of diarrhea or soft stools, belching, abdominal bloating, and head­ache have been reported.

In early studies of chronic schizophrenia, EPO was reported to worsen the psychosis of three patients, who on electroencephalography evaluation were subsequently found to have temporal lobe epilepsy. Based on this single report, EPO has since been believed to be able to "lower the seizure threshold" in patients with epilepsy. This effect has not been corroborated.


  • In case of arthritis:

3 gm use three times in a day.

  • In case of skin rash:

6 - 8 gm use three times in a day.

  • In case of breast pain:

3-4 gm use three times in a day.

  • In case of PMS:

3 gm use three times in a day.

Drug Interactions

EPO may produce seizures when used in the same time with phenothiazine drugs such as thioridazine, chlorpromazine, trifluoperazine. There is a risk of seizure when taken with anesthesia, and patient may require to stop using evening primrose oil before some surgeries.

About the Author: Steve Mathew is a writer, who writes many great articles on conditions, diseases and various other ailments. For more information on Evening Primrose Oil, visit

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