Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera Biennis) is oil obtained from the seeds of a wildflower growing in the United States. This oil has a number of medicinal uses and hence, is widely used in the management of several disorders. The use of Evening Primrose Oil is beneficial in the management of eczema. Patients suffering from osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, and menopausal symptoms can also benefit from the use of this supplement.
Evening Primrose Oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid. Since the human body cannot produce GLA, it has to be obtained from the dietary sources or supplements. However, the body can convert linoleic acid, another omega-6 fatty acid, found in vegetable oils and nuts, to GLA.
Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)
Evening Primrose Oil offers a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids. It contains a high amount of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a form of omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Evening Primrose Oil also contains linoleic acid. Both GLA, as well as Linoleic Acid, are the essential components needed for the production of myelin, which forms the protective coating on the nerve fibers, and the cell membrane of the neurons.
Most supplements of evening primrose oil are usually standardized to provide 8% of GLA and 72% of linoleic acid.
Evening Primrose Oil Benefits and Uses
Evening Primrose Oil is commonly used for the treatment of skin diseases like eczema. It can also be used for the management of premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms. It helps to provide relief from the bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Evening Primrose Oil for Eczema
Treatment with Evening Primrose Oil has been found to relieve the symptoms of skin diseases like eczema. It is a chronic condition characterized by the appearance of patches of inflamed, itchy, cracked, red, and rough skin. In some cases, there may also be blistering of the skin with oozing of discharge.
Though the specific cause of eczema is not known, it is believed to occur due to the combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Eczema is known to cause recurrent attacks, which may result in thickening of and dark patches on the skin. This may affect the overall appearance of the patients and produce a negative impact on the quality of their life.
Evening Primrose Oil helps to reduce the symptoms of this condition such as itching, redness and scaling. It also improves the moisturization of the skin.
Regular use of Evening Primrose Oil can help to prevent the recurring attacks of eczema. It can enhance the appearance of the skin and thus, improve the patient’s quality of life.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Work in eczema?
Evening Primrose Oil helps to reduce the symptoms of eczema by regulating the response of the immune system. It also moisturizes the skin and prevents dryness that can otherwise result in an attack of eczema. It can improve the tone and texture of the skin and make it more firm and smooth.
Research studies for the use of Evening Primrose Oil in eczema
Research has found a correction between an abnormality related to the essential fatty acids and eczema. It indicated that the deficiency of essential fatty acids like GLA could increase the risk of eczema. It also proved that the efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil in the management of eczema.
A meta-analysis of the trials showed a marked relief from the symptoms of eczema such as itching, skin rashes, and redness in the patients who were treated with Evening Primrose Oil supplements. (1)
Another study has suggested the possible role of Evening Primrose Oil in the treatment of the patients with eczema. It has been found to be beneficial especially for the patients with mild eczema who do not need to take high doses of steroidal medications. (2)
The beneficial effect of Evening Primrose Oil in the patients suffering from eczema has been proved during another research. It was found that the systemic administration of this oil could improve the biophysical skin parameters in the patients.
The biophysical parameters are considered the indicators of the age-related functional and structural changes in the skin tissues. The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study tested the effect of Evening Primrose Oil containing a high amount of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) on the transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin moisture, roughness, redness, elasticity, firmness, and fatigue resistance.
At the end of the study, a marked improvement in these parameters was observed. This study supported the notion that gamma-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid needed for maintaining the health of the skin.
It was concluded that the deficiency of this nutrient might lead to the disorders of the skin. It may reduce the skin moisturization and increase the redness and transepidermal water loss, which can worsen the symptoms of eczema. Hence, the patients with eczema are advised to use Evening Primrose Oil for the management of this condition. (3)
Another study has shown encouraging results with the use of Evening Primrose Oil in the treatment of atopic eczema. The controlled trials showed marked improvement in the symptoms of eczema. The patients treated with this oil experienced less dryness, inflammation, and scaling as compared to the controls. (4)
Evening Primrose Oil for menopause
Evening Primrose Oil can be used by the women during the menopausal period to relieve the symptoms such as hot flushes, irritability, mood changes, tiredness, fatigue, and bloating. These symptoms occur due to the changes in the hormonal levels occurring during this phase.
The women may have a higher risk of osteoporosis and heart diseases following the menopause due to the changes in the hormonal balance. Most women suffer from depression due to these hormonal changes.
The use of Evening Primrose Oil has been found to be beneficial for these women to control the symptoms and ease the discomfort caused due to it.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Work in menopause?
Evening Primrose Oil helps to relieve the symptoms of Menopause by maintaining the balance of the hormones. It also increases the bone mineral density and thus, reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Research studies for the use of Evening Primrose Oil in menopause
The effect of Evening Primrose Oil on the symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes was evaluated in a randomized clinical trial. The study was aimed at investigating the efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil against placebo in improving the hot flushes.
This 6-week clinical trial involved 56 menopausal women aged between 45 and 59 years. The patients were asked for the characteristics of hot flushes. They also responded to hot-flash related daily interference scale questionnaire prior to and following the intervention.
The participants were administered Evening Primrose Oil or placebo for 6 weeks and the improvement in hot flushes was compared between the two groups.
The patients treated with Evening Primrose Oil experienced considerable improvement in the frequency, severity, and duration of hot flushes compared to the placebo group of patients. This study has proved the usefulness of this oil in the management of menopause. (5)
Evening Primrose Oil for Premenopausal Syndrome
Evening Primrose Oil can be used for the treatment of Premenopausal Syndrome. The common symptoms of this condition include anxiety, mood swings, and tenderness in the breasts, pain in the abdomen, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and irritability.
The symptoms of Premenopausal Syndrome begin five to ten days before the menstruation and usually, go away once the menstruation begins. The symptoms occur due to the changes in levels of sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and serotonin before the beginning of the menses. Evening Primrose Oil can help to treat this condition in a safe and effective manner. It prevents these symptoms by regulating the balance of hormones and serotonin.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Work in Premenopausal Syndrome?
The beneficial action of Evening Primrose Oil in the treatment of Premenopausal Syndrome can be attributed to the high amount of essential fatty acids in it. It provides a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids like Linoleic Acid and GLA that support the overall hormonal functions in the body. It helps to restore the balance of hormones and thus, prevents the symptoms.
Research studies for the use of Evening Primrose Oil in Premenopausal Syndrome
Research has indicated that Primrose Oil can be used for obtaining relief from the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome. The research suggested that the altered regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters that are responsible for causing the symptoms of this condition can be managed by using Evening Primrose Oil.
It confirmed that the use of dietary supplements such as Evening Primrose Oil along with calcium might offer moderate benefits to the women suffering from this disease. (6)
Evening Primrose Oil for Ulcerative Colitis
Evening Primrose Oil can be used in the treatment of Ulcerative colitis. It is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis occurs due to the inflammation of the mucosa of the intestine, which results in the formation of ulcers.
The common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include abdominal pain, loose motions, and bleeding while passing stools. If not treated properly, it can lead to complications such as carcinoma of the colon.
Evening Primrose Oil can provide relief from the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and prevent the progress of the disease. It can also help to reduce the risk of its complications.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Work in Ulcerative Colitis?
Evening Primrose Oil helps to treat ulcerative colitis by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. It reduces damage to the mucosa of the colon and prevents inflammation. It also reduces the risk of ulceration by enhancing the process of repair of the damaged mucosa. This allows for the rapid healing of the tissues in the intestine and helps to maintain the integrity of the mucosal layer.
Research studies for the use of Evening Primrose Oil in Ulcerative Colitis
The long-chain fatty acids present in Evening Primrose Oil have been shown to inhibit the progress of ulcerative colitis. The fatty acids present in this oil produce a strong anti-inflammatory response and prevent the development of this condition.
The anti-inflammatory effect produced by the long-chain fatty alcohols isolated from Evening Primrose Oil was studied in research.
The fatty alcohols isolated from the oil were administered to the volunteers. At the end of the research, a significant, dose-dependent decline in the nitric oxide production was observed in the participants. This effect seemed to be the consequence of the action at the level of an inducible nitric-oxide synthase gene enzyme expression.
The secretion of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin and tumor necrosis factor α were also reduced significantly. These results demonstrated the potent anti-inflammatory activity of the long chain fatty alcohols obtained from Evening Primrose Oil. This research supports the therapeutic role of this oil in the management of inflammatory disorders like ulcerative colitis. (7)
Another randomized, controlled study has also proved the beneficial effect of Evening Primrose Oil in the patients suffering from ulcerative colitis.
This study showed that the administration of evening primrose oil reduces the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and prevents the worsening of the condition. (8)
Evening Primrose Oil for Osteoporosis
Patients suffering from osteoporosis are advised to take Evening Primrose oil supplements on a regular basis to reduce their risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs due to the loss of bone as a result of which the bones become porous and prone to fractures. It makes the bones weaker due to which the slightest trauma can lead to fracture.
Osteoporosis can also lead to pain in the legs and a Dowager’s hump at the upper back. The incidence of this condition is higher in the women in the postmenopausal age. The hormonal imbalance occurring during this period can affect the process of bone formation resulting in porous bones.
Evening Primrose Oil can help to treat this condition in a safe and effective manner. It improves the bone mineral density and makes them stronger and more resistance against the effect of trauma.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Work in osteoporosis?
Evening Primrose Oil can help to treat osteoporosis by reducing the bone loss and increasing the bone density. It also regulates the production and release of hormones thus reducing the risk of this condition in the menopausal women.
Research studies for the use of Evening Primrose Oil in osteoporosis
Research conducted to prove the usefulness of Evening Primrose Oil in the management of osteoporosis has shown encouraging results. The relation between the administration of Evening Primrose Oil that is rich in fatty acids and bone diseases was investigated in the study. It showed that significant improvement and a maintenance of bone mineral density could be achieved by using a combination of Evening Primrose Oil, fish oil and calcium supplements.
However, there is insufficient evidence to support the effect of the administration of fatty acids in the prevention of osteoporosis. It appears that the benefit can be enhanced by including foods that are high in calcium, minerals, and vitamins in the diet of the patient.
There is a need for further investigation to evaluate the differential effects of fatty acids in relation to the health of the bones. (9)