The Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil
Updated: Nov 1, 2023
Evening Primrose Oil (also known as EPO), is made from the seeds of evening primrose flowers native to North America. The oil is extracted from the plant seeds which contain essential fatty acids such as Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA), and is usually sold in capsules.
GLA is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Evening Primrose Oil can be taken orally to treat a wide variety of conditions!
What's the buzz about Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening Primrose Oil is created by harvesting the plant seeds of this flower which contains essential fatty acids like omega-6. Essential fatty acids are just that, essential for health, and getting them from our diet is important because our bodies don’t make them on their own. GLA is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory effects in the body. People use evening primrose oil for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause symptoms, arthritis, high cholesterol, acne, and many other conditions, but there is not enough scientific evidence to fully support these uses yet. Some evidence suggests that EPO may benefit some conditions on its own or as a complementary therapy, but more research is needed. Read more about how this supplement can benefit certain conditions and how best to use it.
Fertility and Menstrual Health
Evening Primrose Oil can be beneficial for women’s hormonal balance regarding PMS, fertility, and menopause. For fertility, EPO can increase the quantity and quality of cervical mucus. Having adequate cervical mucus is important around the time of ovulation to help sperm find the egg. By decreasing inflammation, it is believed that EPO can help ease menstrual cramps and cycle related lower back pain. The menstrual cycle is vitally important for hormonal balance in a woman’s body, and is often referred to as the 5th vital sign (among body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure). Cycle balance allows for others bodily systems to work properly. Researchers believe some people experience PMS because they’re sensitive to prolactin levels in the body. GLA converts to a substance in the body (prostaglandin E1) thought to help prevent prolactin from triggering PMS.
The high levels of fatty acids can also help muscles relax, and EPO has been shown in pregnant women to make the cervix more favorable for labor by improving Bishop scores in term and post-term pregnant women (1). Evening primrose oil is typically consumed orally via capsules. These capsules can also be inserted vaginally, which may have an effect on cervical softening for women close to their due date. Please speak with your ob/gyn or midwife before starting evening primrose oil.
EPO can help with cyclic breast pain and tenderness associated with the menstrual cycle. It can also help with nipple vasospasms, experienced during pregnancy or when breastfeeding (2). Vasospasms occur in the nipple of the breast when blood flow is disrupted. This can happen during pregnancy due to altered blood flow or when breastfeeding due to poor latch when nursing or using pump settings that are too strong. Some believe the GLA in EPO is thought to reduce inflammation and help inhibit prostaglandins that cause cyclical breast pain.
EPO can help with skin health, specifically with eczema and acne. It is believed that EPO can reduce inflammation in the skin, which may contribute to these conditions. The fatty acids in EPO can also make help the skin retain moisture to feel more smooth and hydrated. The GLA in EPO may help acne by reducing inflammation and the number of skin cells that cause lesions.
Heart Health and Circulation
Heart disease kills more than 600,000 people in the United States each year. Hundreds of thousands more are living with the condition. Some people are using natural remedies, such as EPO, to help. Omega 6 fatty acids found in evening primrose oil can be beneficial for heart health and maintaining healthy blood pressure by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising good cholesterol (HDL).
Where can I buy Evening Primrose Oil?
ANH Wellness carries a wide variety of health products and supplements such as Evening Primrose Oil that you can purchase by stopping in the office or through our online distribution website. You're more than welcome to call or email us if you have any questions!
You can find evening primrose oil supplements in pharmacies, health food stores, and online. When shopping for an evening primrose oil, it’s important to purchase a high-quality supplement from a trusted company. It is typically sold in gelcap form. Evening primrose oil is generally considered safe for use in adults. evening primrose should not be given to children or older adults without first consulting a healthcare provider. Let your healthcare provider know if you are taking evening primrose oil—or any supplement—to avoid drug interactions and potentially severe side effects.
EPO theoretically holds promise for a wide range of conditions, given its involvement in the metabolism of prostaglandins and leukotrienes; investigation of its effectiveness and mechanism of action is still in its infancy. Evening primrose oil can be beneficial for many different conditions, and comes without the side effects that many common medications can carry. As always, please consult with a medical provider before beginning any supplement, especially if you are taking prescribed medication.
We carry Pure Encapsulations Evening Primrose Oil at ANH Wellness. Ask your doctor if you may benefit by supplementing at your next visit!
By: Dr. Megan Stavalone
Perinatal Certified Chiropractor at ANH Wellness
Disclaimer: "The information including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment."
Sources: The effect of evening primrose oil on cervical ripening and birth outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8296106/ A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil for Mastalgia Treatment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8296106/ Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Oil in Management of Female Ailments https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6718646/