Perhaps one of the most sensational preventative discoveries since vitamin C, is Evening Primrose Oil. It contains the pain-relieving compound phenylalanine. This compound is increasingly being used to treat chronic headaches. But, its health benefits don’t just stop there.
Evening Primrose Oil is used for a variety of ailments (as you’re about to see) and is currently being studied as a treatment for aging problems, acne, heart disease, symptoms of menopause, multiple sclerosis, weight control and obesity. In fact, due to its therapeutic qualities, Evening Primrose Oil has become a standard herbal recommendation for maintaining youth, as well as preventing disease. Let’s take a more in-depth look at this herbal supplement.
What is Evening Primrose Oil?
Derived from the seeds of the Evening Primrose (the Oenothera Biennis plant), EPO (as it is often referred to) is a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids. In particular, it contains a high concentration of a fatty acid called GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid) – a component largely responsible for its healing properties.
Here are eight problems Evening Primrose Oil may specifically help with:
1. Relieves discomforts associated with menopause, menstruation, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts: It has been widely reported that EPO reduces hot flashes associated with menopause and increases the feeling of well-being. The GLA in Evening Primrose Oil can also help lessen menstrual cramps and minimize premenstrual breast tenderness. Moreover, many PMS sufferers are found to have unusually low levels of GLA. Consequently, taking this supplement will help a great deal.
2. Eases joint pain and swelling associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis: GLA found in Evening Primrose Oil has been shown to reduce joint pain and swelling – two side effects of this crippling disease. In fact, according to a study conducted over a span of six months, sufferers taking capsules containing GLA showed fewer signs of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Another trial also showed that the number of tender and swollen joints also dropped significantly with GLA.
3. Prevents nerve damage as a result of diabetes: Research has shown that the GLA in Evening Primrose Oil can help prevent, and possibly reverse the nerve damage that is commonly seen with diabetes. A yearlong study found that symptoms such as numbness, tingling and loss of sensation among participants with mild diabetic neuropathy were less marked in those who took Evening Primrose Oil, in comparison to those who took a placebo.
4. Reduce the effects of eczema: When the body has problems converting dietary fats into GLA, getting supplemental GLA from Evening Primrose Oil may be helpful. Studies have shown that this oil can outperform a placebo in relieving eczema related inflammation – and this includes inflammation, itching, oozing and flaky skin associated with this condition. By increasing their intake in GLA, sufferers may reduce doses of steroid creams and drugs.
5. Combats damage from multiple sclerosis: Evening primrose oil may be valuable in reducing the inflammation associated with progressive nerve disorder. The fatty acids may also contribute to healthy nerve development when taken over time.
6. Treats memory deficiencies associated with Alzheimer’s: Evening Primrose Oil boosts transmission of nerve impulses and may possibly be valuable in treating this progressive brain disorder.
7. Nourishes nails, scalp and hair: The essential fatty acids in Evening Primrose Oil prevent nails from cracking, helping them remain generally healthy. The essential fatty acids found in EPO are also great for the scalp. Consequently, this supplement is especially valuable in treating a variety of hair problems.
8. Eases symptoms associated with osteoporosis: Studies have shown that those taking EPO alongside fish oil and calcium seemed to decrease bone loss and increase bone density. However, more research is needed in order to determine the role that EPO might play independently of the other supplements in this regard.
Care and Safety when using Evening Primrose Oil
Bleeding: EPO contains an anticoagulant (blood-thinning) effect, which may result in a higher risk of bleeding, specifically in people taking the blood thinner Warfarin (Coumadin). Such patients should, therefore, not use this oil. Other drugs that thin the blood, including Plavix and Aspirin, may also be problematic when taken alongside the oil.
Seizures: Evening Primrose should be avoided among people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders, as this may increase the chance of having a seizure. People with schizophrenia taking certain drugs may also be at risk of a seizure. Medical advice should therefore be sought.
Anesthesia: Within two weeks of going for a general anesthetic, Evening Primrose Oil should be stopped due to an increased risk of bleeding.