Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a species of flowering plant in the family Onagraceae, native to eastern and central North America, from Newfoundland west to Alberta, southeast to Florida, and southwest to Texas. It has also widely naturalized elsewhere in temperate and subtropical regions.
Evening primrose is often used medicinally, especially evening primrose oil (EPO). Evening primrose oil contains many healing benefits due to its high gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content, an omega-6 fatty acid found in plant oils.
Evening primrose herb is used extensively in herbal medicine and as a dietary supplement for many conditions. Studies on evening primrose are limited, though it has been widely used for over 500 years in herbal medicine and is still used by many people.
Traditionally, a tea was made from the evening primrose and used as a dietary aid or stimulant to treat laziness, excess weight gain, senility and debility. A hot poultice made from the pounded Evening Primrose roots was applied externally to treat bruises, piles and boils. Native Americans actually used the whole plant for bruises and its roots for hemorrhoids. Evening primrose was also used to treat pain associated with menstruation as well as bowel pain.
Today, many still use evening primrose for its medicinal uses. It is perhaps most frequently used for women’s hormonal health and is said to help relieve symptoms associated with menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
What Is Evening Primrose Used For?
Evening primrose has traditionally been used to treat bruises, hemorrhoids, digestive problems, sore throats and for easing menstrual pain. One of the best-known uses of evening primrose today is for mitigating discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A number of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown that evening primrose oil significantly reduced irritability, breast pain and tenderness, and mood changes associated with PMS.
What are the Health Benefits of Evening Primrose?
Evening primrose has a number of potential benefits. It is most commonly used for its benefits on women’s health, but evening primrose has many other benefits as well.
Evening Primrose is Used for Women’s Hormonal Health
Evening primrose is often associated with its beneficial effect on women’s hormonal health. Keeping hormones balanced is an important part of maintaining your health. Your hormones are the chemical messengers of your body. They are produced in the endocrine glands and travel through your bloodstream to different tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it.
Hormones help to control many of your body’s major processes. They regulate metabolism and appetite, influence your sleeping and waking cycle, effect your mood and stress levels, control your body temperature, play a role in reproductive cycles, influence growth and development and much more.
Numerous factors can influence your hormonal balance—environmental toxins, hormone-disrupting chemicals, and the stress of modern life to name a few. A hormonal imbalance occurs when you have too much or too little of a certain hormone in the bloodstream. As the body is so dependent on hormones for instruction, even small changes in hormones can have serious effects throughout your entire body.
Evening primrose may be able to help women restore hormonal balance. The plant has traditionally been used as a wound-healing and hormone-balancing remedy. Modern researchers attribute this effect to the high amounts of high gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) found in evening primrose. GLA produces prostaglandins, a hormone that generates an inflammatory response and also regulates blood flow. Some women have had some success using evening primrose for improving hormonal health and also for treating menopause symptoms.
Due to these benefits for women's hormonal health, we included Evening Primrose as a key ingredient in our Happy Hormones Tonic.
Evening Primrose is Useful for Treating PMS Symptoms
Evening primrose has also been shown to be highly effective in treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as bloating, irritability or depression. The GLA in evening primrose is also given credit for this. Researchers believe that some women experience PMS because they’re sensitive to normal prolactin levels in the body. GLA converts to a substance in the body (prostaglandin E1) thought to help prevent prolactin from triggering PMS.
Evening Primrose is May Help Minimize Breast Pain
Evening primrose has been shown to be helpful for alleviating breast pain. According to a 2010 study, the GLA in evening primrose helped reduce inflammation and helped inhibit prostaglandins that cause cyclical breast pain. The study found that taking daily doses of evening primrose for six months decreased the severity of cyclical breast pain.
Evening Primrose is May Help Reduce Hot Flashes
Evening primrose might also be able to reduce the severity of hot flashes, a common and uncomfortable side effect of menopause. One study found that women who took 500 mg daily of evening primrose for six weeks experienced less frequent, less severe, and shorter hot flashes.
Evening Primrose May Help Reduce Inflammation in the Body
Inflammation is an important healing function of the body that helps it fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could take over your body and kill you. Although acute short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it becomes chronic and inappropriately attacks your body's own tissues.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a number of factors—exposure to toxins, pollutants, and chemicals in the air or in food, untreated illness or infection, consuming high amounts of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, consuming a lot of refined carbs, such as white bread, eating processed and packaged foods that contain trans fats, excessive intake of alcohol and processed meat, leading a sedentary or non-active lifestyle, and many others. There are also some cases of chronic inflammation that don’t have a clear underlying cause. When prolonged, chronic inflammation can negative impact on your tissues and organs.
In fact, scientists now believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. Evening primrose root contains some anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to reduce overall inflammation in the body. Evening primrose oil is rich in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids that can help control pain and inflammation.
Evening Primrose May Improve Heart Health
Some people use evening primrose to improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. According to a 2014 study on rats, evening primrose oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce blood cholesterol. Most people with heart disease have inflammation in the body, although it hasn’t been proven that inflammation causes heart disease.
What are the Active Compounds in Evening Primrose?
The medicinal properties of plants are attributed to the bioactive compounds found within them. It is believed that the most interesting sources of biologically active compounds in evening primrose are in the seeds, and above all, evening primrose seed oil. This oil contains mainly aliphatic alcohols, fatty acids, sterols, and polyphenols. Evening primrose oil is very high in linoleic (70–74%) and γ-linolenic (8–10%) acids, and also contains other fatty acids: palmitic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, and (in smaller amounts) myristic acid, oleopalmitic acid, vaccenic acid, eicosanoic acid, and eicosenoic acid.
Is Evening Primrose Safe?
Every part of the evening primrose plant is edible. Evening primrose is generally considered safe for most people to use short term. However, the safety of long-term use hasn’t yet been determined.
Side effects of evening primrose are rare, and usually mild but may include upset stomach, headache or soft stools. In rare cases, evening primrose may cause an allergic reaction. There’s not enough research to determine the safety of evening primrose for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and is therefore not recommended.
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a species of flowering plant in the family Onagraceae, native to eastern and central North America. It has also widely naturalized elsewhere in temperate and subtropical regions.
Evening primrose has many medicinal benefits, especially evening primrose oil (EPO). The benefits of evening primrose oil come from its high gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content, an omega-6 fatty acid found in plant oils, as well as severl other bioactive compounds.
Evening primrose herb is used extensively in herbal medicine and as a dietary supplement for many conditions. It is perhaps most frequently used for women’s hormonal health and is said to help relieve symptoms associated with menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
We use evening primrose in our Happy Hormones Tonic, a unique formula that contains several medicinal herbs renowned for their ability to facilitate hormonal balance and women’s hormonal health.
Evening primrose has been widely used for over 500 years in herbal medicine and is still used by many people. It is a safe and natural herbal remedy with many different uses.