Let's give Evening Primrose oil the worthy introduction that it deserves. Native to North America, the oil is produced from a bright yellow flower that only opens at night, and this is where its name comes from. Native Americans used different parts of the plant for medicinal purposes.
Evening Primrose Oil has been shown to support:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Breast pain
- Weak bones (osteoporosis)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Leg pain caused by blocked blood vessels
- High Cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Nerve damage due to diabetes
- Whooping cough
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Irritation Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Peptic Ulcer Disease
- High blood pressure in pregnancy
- Shortening and starting labour
Disclaimer: these are just examples of conditions Evening Primrose oil may have had success in supporting and natural herbs, oils and supplements should not be used as a substitute for a wholefood, balanced diet.
Whilst Evening Primrose oil provides nutritional support, improvements and results for people, it is important to note that more research needs to be done into the rationale behind the health complications mentioned. As stated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): "there’s not enough evidence to support the use of evening primrose oil for any health condition."
Taking Evening Primrose Oil for HealthEvening Primrose Oil is known for its Essential Omega 6 fatty acid content, also known as gamma-linolenic acid. Taking Evening Primrose oil has many potential benefits:
- Women often take the oil to balance their hormones and naturally reduce the symptoms of PMS. This is because of its essential fatty acid content. Consuming enough essential fatty acids helps people lose and maintain weight and produce balanced hormones. This also creates an ideal environment for conception. Whilst there is no conclusive evidence that the oil will help PMS and menstrual cramps, Evening Primrose oil is often consumed for this purpose.
- The oil is often used to ensure skin health and has even been part of a wider treatment plan for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. In studies published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, it was shown that Evening Primrose can help with age-related structural and functional changes in skin tissues. This includes roughness, redness, firmness and fatigue.
- Evening Primrose oil is thought to help relieve moderate symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes. Many people claim that Evening Primrose oil can offer relief to hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness, and disturbance in mood.
Evening Primrose Oil for Skin, Hair and Nails
- Hyper-pigmentation occurs on the face, neck and other areas such as elbows and knees. It’s a result of excess melanin production in only some areas of the skin, and in these areas the skin appears darker. Whilst there’s no scientific evidence to confirm Evening Primrose oils effectiveness at treating hyper-pigmentation, many people report a lightening of the skin and a fading of hyper-pigmentation, as well as dark spots. Evening Primrose oil has toning qualities that can even out the skin tone. It can also be taken internally to address hyper-pigmentation due to hormonal malfunction.
- Acne is a well known skin condition that can be rooted to hormonal imbalance. With Evening Primrose oil, hormones can reach a more balanced state, which could potentially reduce flare-ups of hormonal acne. The likes of celebrity Kate Bosworth have seen Evening Primrose oil's true benefits with balancing hormones and reducing skin issues including acne.
- There are some claims that Evening Primrose oil can potentially help in reduction of psoriasis symptoms, an auto-immune disorder that causes the skin to become red, white, peeling, dry, itchy and painful. Psoriasis is caused by skin cells reproducing at an extremely fast rate. Evening primrose provides nourishment and moisture to skin barrier due to the Omega 6 fatty acids content of Evening Primrose oil, which can be soothing and healing to psoriasis, reducing inflammation.
- As Evening Primrose oil is incredibly anti-inflammatory, it can be useful in reducing redness on the skin, whether you take it internally or apply it topically. It can reduce swelling and soreness on the skin whilst reducing itching, rashes and hives. For this reason, it’s renowned for helping in the treatment of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea.
- Evening Primrose Oil can work as a deeply hydrating moisturiser whilst being low risk for clogging the pores and causing breakouts. This is because it has a low comedogenic rating (scale of the ability to clog the pores). It nourishes your skin with anti-aging Essential Fatty Acids and soothing Vitamin E for skin that is supple and smooth just how you want it. If using it as your full-on moisturiser feels too much for you, instead, add a couple of drops of the oil to your usual moisturiser. This will give it an extra boost of nutrition your skin will absorb and drink up.
- The oil is packed full of antioxidants to fight free radical damage that accelerates aging, as well as containing nutrients that slow down aging. Its incredibly moisturising properties keep the skin feeling soft and revitalised.
- Hormonal imbalances play a major detrimental role in a person’s health, and can affect skin, hair and nails. These imbalances occur for several reasons, including synthetic hormones found in meat product and synthetic preservatives and pesticides found in food products. They can also be caused by stress, anxiety and eating lots of sugar! When hormones are disrupted, acne, eczema and psoriasis can occur. Not only this, but hair can thin and even bald! Evening Primrose oil is one of the best supplements for treating hormonal imbalance, so it can potentially make all these issues fade away, restoring skin, hair and nails back to vibrant health.
- By rubbing Evening Primrose oil into the nails and cuticles, their health, shine and strength can be restored. A powerful and effective hand and nail treatment.
- Evening Primrose oil can help smooth out frizz and provide nourishment for the hair and scalp, enabling strong, shiny hair to grow. This is due to its Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids content.
Potential Side Effects and Precautions
Evening Primrose oil is considered safe to take in appropriate amounts. However, it can potentially cause an upset stomach or headache. If you have a bleeding disorder, Evening Primrose oil is not recommended, as consuming the oil, whether in liquid or capsule form, can increase the risk of bleeding. In addition, the oil should not be taken if you have epilepsy or schizophrenia, as it may increase your seizure risk. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women, in case of causing complication. If you’re due to have any surgery, stop your intake of Evening Primrose oil two weeks beforehand.
There are certain medications and supplements that have counter-interactions alongside Evening Primrose oil. This includes anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs, herbs and supplements. Evening Primrose oil may increase the risk of seizures in some people when taking it alongside phenothiazines, the drugs used to treat serious mental and emotional disorders. It’s important to use Evening Primrose oil very carefully if you’re taking any Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates like lovastatin (altoprev). It’s not advised to use Evening Primrose oil if you’re taking lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra), a combined medication taken to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The medication might break down in the body at a slower rate because of the interference of Evening Primrose oil.
Finding the Best Evening Primrose Oil in the UK
Not all oil is created equal, so here is how you can find the best Evening Primrose oil in the UK. By finding brands certified organic by The Soil Association, the quality of the oil is certain to be high, as this organisation has incredibly high standards as to how ingredients are sources and products are produced. If a company and/or product is certified organic by this organisation, you can be sure that it has been produced ethically and sustainably, with no added potential nasties, such as pesticides, so you’ll be getting the pure, organic Evening Primrose oil, produced to the highest quality possible.