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Uses and side effects of evening primrose oil

22 February, 2021 Richa Sharma

Evening primrose oil is extracted from yellow flowers of Oenothera biennis plant. This plant originates from North and South America and grows throughout Europe and parts of Asia. The oil is extracted from the seeds and has medicinal properties. The flowers are yellow in color which are closed during the day and open at sunset.

The leaves and roots of the plant also are used for their medicinal value. Evening primrose oil is rich in omega-6 essential fatty acid. It also contains linoleic acid as well as GLA. Linolein acid and GLA are an essential components of the protective coating of the nerve fibers known as myelin as well as a neuronal cell membrane.

Some uses of evening primrose oil:

  • Menopause and Premenstrual syndrome :-Oil has benefits in relieving the hot flashes that women experience during menopause without any side effects, unlike the hormonal treatment. It also reduces the risk of developing bone-related issues for postmenopausal women. PMS is a difficult phase for the majority of women causing tenderness in the breast, irritability, feelings of depression, and swelling, and bloating around the abdominal region due to fluid retention. Evening primrose oil helps in relieving these symptoms.
  • Nerve Pain :-Linoleic acid and GLA in primrose oil provides benefit in nerve pain especially associated with diabetes. Diabetic people have experienced benefits is 6-10 months in nerve pain mainly affecting the feet and legs.
  • Osteoporosis:-Evening primrose oil has high amount of unsaturated fat which reduces the risk of bone and mineral loss leading to osteoporosis. In combination fish oil and calcium evening, primrose oil increases bone density especially in femur bone (thigh).
  • Improve skin health and skin problems:-As it is rich in linoleic acid, it helps in healing acne by reducing skin inflammation and lesions. Evening primrose oil repairs the skin damage, enhances the epidermis as well as cell turnover. They reduce blemishes, redness and cures skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It also helps in improving skin appearance by locking the moisture. These also smoothens the skin cells, boost collagen production, improves skin elasticity as well as gets absorbed deep in the skin which makes the skin radiant and firm thereby making skin look younger

Some other benefits are minimization of pain in breast during periods, reduces hot flashes, helps control blood pressure, improves the heart condition as it anti-inflammatory properties along with reducing cholesterol.

Side Effects of evening primrose oil:

It is considered safe for many people but might cause side effects in some. Some common side effects are inflammation of the hands and feet, upset stomach, abdominal cramps, rash, headache etc. It can rarely cause allergic response leading to difficulty in breathing, rashes or wheezing.

Evening primrose oil can interfere with some medicines like blood thinner by increasing the bleeding. It also shows interaction with anti-clotting drugs like fragmin, Anticoagulants like heparin, Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix (clopidogrel), Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, Aleve, Advil (ibuprofen) and diclofenac, HIV medication especially lopinavir or Antipsychotic drugs.

Evening primrose oil is usually applied tropically in form of soft gels or liquids but it is also available in form of tablets or capsules. A dosage of 500 milligrams daily is considered safe in adults, but a maximum of 1,300 milligrams a day has shown no side effects. Research is being carried out to find more effective usage of evening primrose oil and to make it more tolerable to adults.