March 09 2021
Evening primrose or Oenothera biennis is a beautiful bright scented yellow-colored 4-petaled flower native to North America. It completes its life cycle in 2 years and is known as King’s cure-all for the innumerous benefits it offers. Let’s look at it, shall we?
This beautiful flower attracts a lot of insects and birds. Small mammals eat the roots and leaves of the plant that are edible and are eaten by humans too. Ancient Amerindians used plant parts for a variety of medical ailments. The entire plant was soaked in warm water and applied to wounds and inflamed areas to reduce inflammation and bruises. Its root was infused in tea to relieve bowel problems and prevent obesity. Poulticed root was applied as a cure for piles and on muscles to improve strength. This traditional knowledge is what led to extensive research on this plant.
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is extracted from the seeds of the plant. Traditionally, it has been used to treat digestive problems, bruises, sore throats, and piles. Commercially available Evening Primrose Oil is rich in 8-10% gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) which is an omega-6 fatty acid, and 80% linoleic acid. The body converts this into substances that reduce inflammation and arrest cell growth.
BENEFITS OF EVENING PRIMROSE OIL
EPO can be applied topically or can be ingested in form of capsules available as supplements.
Following are the benefits offered by EPO:
- EPO can help to get rid of acne! Yes, if you’re experiencing those small red bumps on your skin called pimples, EPO can be your friend. Acne commonly presents as a problem during the teenage years due to hormonal fluctuations. Other causes can be the presence of bacteria, dead skin cells, and ingrown hairs. Due to the presence of gamma-linoleic acid, EPO helps in the reduction of inflammation and reduce the number of skin cells that cause lesions. Not only this, but it may also help moisturize your skin.
- EPO may aid to alleviate eczema: Eczema is a condition of inflammation of the skin epidermis. EPO, again due to the presence of GLA helps to reduce swelling. It can be taken orally or can be applied topically.
- EPO, in a study containing rats, had shown a reduction in testosterone levels and an increase in Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). In the same study, EPO also reduced insulin and serum glucose, making it a good alternative for the treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
- EPO helps in relieving Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms. PMS symptoms like irritability, depression, and bloating are common among women. These are thought to be caused by the heightened reaction to normal prolactin levels in the body. GLA present in EPO gets converted to prostaglandin E1 that prevents prolactin from triggering PMS.
- It improves skin health. A study conducted in 2005 showed that EPO helps in improving the skin’s elasticity, firmness, and retains moisture. As our skin can’t produce GLA on its own, external GLA is required in form of supplements.
- It may help in reducing hot flashes. A hot flash is a sudden and intense warm sensation produced in the body. They occur in menopause women. These women may also experience redness on body parts like the face, neck, intense sweating, and rapid heart rate. Ingesting EPO for 6 weeks helps to reduce the incidence of such hot flashes by inhibiting prostaglandins.
- EPO aids in minimizing breast pain associated with the menstrual cycle. Premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness is a common symptom of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome caused by secretion of estrogen. EPO, in combination with Vitamin E, helps to reduce this pain.
- EPO helps to ease bone pain associated with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an autoimmune disease characterized by bone and joint inflammation and tenderness. Taking EPO for three to twelve months has the potential to reduce rheumatoid arthritis pain.
- EPO may help to improve heart health. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for getting heart disease. It clogs arteries and prevents efficient blood flow. This leads to increased blood pressure and subsequently heart anomalies leading to heart mortality. According to a 2014 study on rats, EPO reduces cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body, subsequently minimizing the risk of heart disease.
- EPO may reduce nerve pain associated with diabetes. Peripheral Neuropathy is a side effect of diabetes resulting in damage to peripheral nerves of the body. Research has shown that linoleic acid reduces symptoms such as hot and cold sensitivity, numbness, and tingling sensation. EPO is recommended in doses of 360mg to 480mg GLA daily for up to 1 year.
- EPO may reduce increased blood pressure. It is better to consult a physician or dietician before taking a supplement for such a condition.
- Topical EPO is used to prepare the cervix for delivery.
But is EPO Safe?
This is the question we are most interested in. With the help of various supplements in the market, the authenticity of the quality supplement comes into question.
Evening Primrose Oil is generally considered safe in adults. It can also be safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding; however, it is recommended to consult a physician before taking EPO.
There are mild side effects that may be experienced such as gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating or nausea. These side effects are temporary. In rare instances, EPO may cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. The symptoms may include rash, inflammation, wheezing.
If you are already on any kind of medication, it is necessary to consult your doctor before taking EPO. For instance, EPO may increase the effects of HIV medicine- Lopinavir and potentiate the effects of blood thinners.
You can check out Alvizia’s Aleneve cold-pressed evening primrose oil 1000mg which is a quality supplement available in the market. It is available in a bottle packaging containing 60 soft gel capsules and 10% GLA. It is beneficial in cases of menopause-related symptoms and improving skin health including getting rid of acne.
So, all the women out there here’s the answer to your hormone-related problems. But remember to consult a doctor first!