Evening primrose is a plant that is native to North America. The plant has historically been used medicinally to treat skin issues, such as bruising and wound healing. The oil extracted from evening primrose is a natural source of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), a type of omega-6 fatty acid.
Most North Americans get too much omega-6 fatty acids in their diet. However, the GLA found in evening primrose oil (EPO) is healthier than the omega-6 fats found in most foods, because studies have demonstrated that it has anti-inflammatory properties. Other sources of GLA include spirulina, borage, hemp, and black currant oils. The omega-6 fat provided by dietary supplements that contain GLA is minimal and will not disrupt the balance between the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids consumed in your diet.
What Symptoms Can Evening Primrose Oil Help With?
The GLA in evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory action without the negative side effects of powerful drugs. Evening primrose oil is available in oil or capsule forms and is often used to improve the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, or breast soreness during menstruation.
Evening primrose oil is well known for easing PMS symptoms and breast sensitivity, but it may also be a useful natural skin care treatment. The beneficial oil contains a natural painkiller and can be used to help various skin conditions, including aging skin. EPO can be safely used for children and adults with skin conditions.
Eczema and dermatitis
Eczema symptoms include redness, scaling, and itching. Experts have determined that eczema may develop when the body struggles to convert fats from the diet into GLA. This is why evening primrose supplements may be helpful for this condition. More than 30 human studies report the benefits of evening primrose oil for eczema and dermatitis. A study of 1,207 patients found that evening primrose oil helped relieve symptoms including itching, crusting, edema (swelling), and redness.
It is believed that EPO may help to dilute sebum, which is the oil our skins produce naturally to lubricate and protect itself. Those who suffer from acne often have excess sebum production, and diluting or breaking down the sebum may prevent the pores from clogging up. If the pores are clear, pimples and blackheads are less likely to develop. The anti-inflammatory action of the oil may also reduce redness and help existing pimples heal.
EPO may be used to combat the signs of aging, including dry and sagging skin. It can be used to improve skin discoloration and for reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The GLA in EPO is believed to aid cell regeneration, which may help with firmness and a smoother, younger appearance.
What Do I Need to Know About Using Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening primrose oil is generally safe, however, it can have anticoagulant effects that increase the risk of bleeding for people taking blood-thinning drugs like warfarin. If you are on a blood-thinning medication, consult your physician before taking any nutritional supplements. Adding evening primrose oil to your routine may be worthwhile for numerous healthy skin benefits. Current studies have used 2 – 8 grams of evening primrose oil daily, standardized to contain 8% GLA. Take the Persona Assessment to determine if evening primrose oil may be helpful for you.
- Evening primrose oil | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/evening-primrose-oil#ixzz2jnvTPo9d