What is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil is a popular supplement used to promote the health of your reproductive system and other related areas. Many studies have backed it, but there are some side effects associated with its use that you should know before purchasing this product.

Evening primrose oil is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries. It has been proven to have many benefits, including anti-aging effects and the ability to reduce inflammation.


Evening primrose oil wasn’t well known for its health advantages until recently, so you may be shocked to read about the influence it can have on your hormone health, skin, hair, and bones.

Evening primrose, a wildflower blooming in eastern and central North America, was utilized as sustenance by Native Americans and European immigrants. The flower’s seeds are still harvested and cold-pressed for oil encapsulated to manufacture nutritional supplements.

What is the purpose of evening primrose oil (EPO)? This oil is abundant in essential fatty acids, the building blocks of cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like compounds.

It’s been shown to aid with PMS and menopausal symptoms and chronic skin conditions, including eczema, acne, and psoriasis. EPO is also an anti-inflammatory drug that has been shown to help with arthritis and other conditions.


The significant advantage of EPO (Oenothera biennis) is that it provides a good source of healthy lipids, notably omega-6 fatty acids. Evening primrose oil contains two forms of omega-6 fatty acids: linoleic acid (60–80 percent of fats) and -linoleic acid, often known as gamma-linoleic acid or GLA (8–14 percent of fats).

Essential fatty acids are essential for human health, but the body cannot produce them independently. Thus they must be obtained from food. In addition, essential fatty acids such as omega-6 (found in EPO) and omega-3 (found in fish oil) must be in a healthy balance in your body.

Omega-6 fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for immunological function, cognitive function, and proper growth and development.

Furthermore, lipids serve as transporters for fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Dietary lipids, for example, are required to convert carotene to vitamin A, mineral absorption, and a variety of other functions.

1. Hormones (PMS + Symptoms of Menopause)

What are the effects of evening primrose on hormones? For starters, due to its essential fatty acid content, EPO is used by women all over the globe to treat PMS symptoms naturally, and it may also help reduce undesirable menopausal symptoms.

When taken for three to six months, getting adequate omega-6 fatty acids, such as LA and GLA, has been found to promote overall hormonal activity in the body.

Breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, acne, sadness, irritability, cloudy thinking, and headache may occur during a woman’s premenstrual phase. However, according to research published in the journal Lipids, these symptoms may be alleviated by consuming evening primrose oil.

The findings of a randomized clinical study on the benefits of evening primrose oil on 56 menopausal women (aged 45–59 years) were reported in 2013. For a total of six weeks, these ladies took two 500-milligram EPO capsules or a placebo every day.

The researchers next examined hot flashes in the two groups and discovered that taking oral EPO reduced the severity of hot flashes and the life disturbance caused by them.

2. Fertility problems

EPO seems to aid in the development of cervical mucus, which is a factor in successful reproduction and, therefore, natural therapy for infertility since this fluid aids in the creation of favorable habitat for sperm.

The suggested dose of EPO is 500 mg three times a day to enhance cervical mucus. If you don’t see results after attempting 1,500 milligrams per day, increase your dosage to 2,000 milligrams per day during the following cycle.

EPO’s high quantities of essential fatty acids directly influence uterine cells, assisting muscular tissue contraction and relaxation. This helps prepare the uterine muscles for pregnancy by toning them.

Consuming EPO for its fatty acid content is recommended only for women who are naturally attempting to conceive — not for women who are already pregnant since the uterus’ contractions may be troublesome at that time.

Male and female blue foxes were fed evening primrose oil during mating season to determine its influence on reproductive success in animal research conducted at the Animal Nutrition and Management Department. An increase in litter size was seen, mainly due to male therapy, which might imply that the advantages of evening primrose oil extend beyond the uterus and affect semen quality.

3. Acne

Is evening primrose oil good for acne? Even though there isn’t any research to back up the advantages of evening primrose for acne, physicians often suggest it as part of an anti-acne regimen.

Acne patients have numerous personal stories of its skin-clearing advantages when taken externally and internally.

Obtaining a good mix of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from healthy sources (such as EPO) may aid in treating and preventing hormonal acne. These fatty acids are also important for cell structure, neuron function, and skin suppleness.

Take one evening primrose oil capsule daily, similar to a fish oil capsule, to benefit from this evening primrose oil health benefit for hormonal acne. You may also apply the oil straight to your face. This is said to aid in the healing process and enhance your skin’s overall look.

4. Loss of hair

Hair loss affects both men and women, and the best approach to prevent it is sometimes via diet or supplementation. In addition, hormones have a role in various bodily functions in both men and women.

Hormones have an essential function in hair, including the hair pattern on your head and the rest of your body.

While there hasn’t been much study on utilizing EPO specifically as a hair loss treatment, given that the oil has been found to reduce skin inflammation and dryness, it’s reasonable to assume that these advantages would transfer to the skin on our scalps, boosting hair growth and quality.

5. Skin Care

Evening primrose oil is an effective therapy for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. According to studies published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, EPO has even been proven to aid with age-related structural and functional changes in skin tissues, such as redness, firmness, roughness, and fatigue resistance.

Evening primrose oil has been shown in studies to be quite helpful in treating eczema symptoms such as itching, redness, and edema.

According to research, eczema patients don’t have the typical capacity to metabolize fatty acids. This causes a gamma-linolenic acid deficit (GLA).

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that the body may convert into anti-inflammatory compounds. As a result, inflammation mediators such as interleukin 1 (IL-1), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and cytokine-tumor necrosis factor (TNF-) are suppressed by GLA, according to one research.

When skin cells duplicate too fast, psoriasis develops, resulting in swollen regions under the skin with yellowish scales on top. Psoriatic plaques, or scaly patches, are regions of inflammation and excessive skin development.

Because essential fatty acids aid with hormone balance and digestion, EPO seems to help naturally cure psoriasis.

Atopic dermatitis is an itchy, persistent skin disorder that usually begins in infancy. The problem starts with a problem with crucial fatty acid metabolism.

The influence of 500 milligrams of evening primrose oil on individuals with this skin disease was studied in research published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology. After five months, 96% of the patients exhibited improvement, and this kind of therapy was deemed safe and successful.

6. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Primrose oil has been shown in certain trials to be an effective natural treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease brought on by a mix of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors.

Arthritis Research UK conducted research that looked at the effects of evening primrose oil on 49 persons. According to the findings, 94 percent of those who received evening primrose oil had a substantial reduction in disease-related symptoms such as pain and morning stiffness.

It may take one to three months for the advantages of evening primrose oil to manifest when used to treat arthritic symptoms.

7. Osteoporosis 

Small holes or weaker patches in the bone develop in osteoporosis. Fractures, discomfort, and a dowager’s hump are possible outcomes (a hump at the upper back).

According to several research, persons who don’t receive enough of certain important fatty acids are more likely to lose bone mass than those who obtain enough of these fatty acids. In older persons with osteoporosis, evening primrose oil with fish oil and calcium seems to reduce bone loss and enhance bone density.

For three years, women were given either a placebo or six grams of a mixture of evening primrose oil and fish oil, coupled with 600 milligrams of calcium, in a randomized controlled experiment. In the first 18 months, the women who took evening primrose, fish oil, and calcium had no spinal bone loss, and in the final 18 months, their spinal bone mineral density increased by 3.1 percent.

How to Make Use of

EPO dosage recommendations differ depending on why you’re taking it. A standard piece of advice is to take one to six grams of magnesium every day, divided into two or three doses.

Start with one to two grams per day in split doses if you’re unsure how much to consume (morning and night). Higher dosages of up to eight grams may be indicated in rare circumstances.

EPO is usually administered for three to six months at a period.

  • Take two or three 500 mg capsules two or three times a day to aid PMS and menopausal symptoms.
  • Take two or three 500 mg capsules twice a day for fertility assistance.
  • Take three to six grams of a mixture of evening primrose oil and fish oil daily for bone support.
  • Evening primrose oil may be used directly to the scalp and hair to aid with hair loss. Allow it to stay for 30 minutes as a thick, moisturizing mask before washing your hair as usual.
  • To treat hormonal acne, open an evening primrose oil capsule and apply the oil directly to your face once a day.

Side Effects and Risks

What are the negative consequences of using evening primrose oil? When taken at the prescribed doses, it is regarded to be generally safe.

Evening primrose oil side effects are uncommon. However, headache, stomach trouble, nausea, dizziness, and rash have all been observed.

According to a new study, too much omega-6 in the diet might cause an imbalance in the body, interfering with the generation of vital prostaglandins. This disturbance may lead to a greater propensity to form:

  • clots in the blood
  • inflammation
  • blood pressure that is too high
  •  gastrointestinal irritation
  • immune system dysfunction
  • sterility
  • proliferation of cells
  • cancer
  • gaining weight

Pregnancy advice on evening primrose oil varies. If your health care practitioner tells you to, don’t take evening primrose or utilize evening primrose oil to induce labor.

It’s regarded to be safe for nursing women, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor regarding supplements in general while breastfeeding.

Is evening primrose oil estrogen-free?

“Evening primrose oil does not have hormonal qualities,” according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, “but certain products that include it may also contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived forms of estrogen.”

Who isn’t a fan of evening primrose oil?

Before using evening primrose oil, talk to your doctor if you’re on any antidepressants, blood thinners, or blood pressure medications.

If you have a history of seizures and are taking phenothiazines (a type of drug used to treat schizophrenia), you should avoid taking evening primrose oil since it may increase your risk of seizures.

Due to the oil’s possible hormone-mimicking effects, those with hormone-sensitive malignancies should avoid using evening primrose oil products without consulting with a specialist.


  • Evening primrose oil is made from the evening primrose plant’s seeds (Oenothera biennis). Gamma-linolenic acid is a healthy fatty acid found in petroleum.
  • Evening primrose oil advantages include assisting with female hormonal balancing problems such as PMS and menopause, fertility, eczema, psoriasis, acne, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
  • It may be administered both internally and externally in capsule form, depending on your health objectives.
  • If you are pregnant, nursing, have a history of hormone-sensitive malignancies, or use blood thinners, blood pressure drugs, or antidepressants, see your doctor before taking evening primrose.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to take evening primrose oil?

A: Evening primrose oil is best taken with food, ideally a high-fat meal. If you are worried about taking evening primrose oil on an empty stomach, start by taking it in smaller doses of 100mg or less per day to see how your system reacts.

Is evening primrose a natural plant?

A: Evening primrose is not a natural plant. Its name was given to one species of the joint tuberous nightshade family Solanaceae, called chamomile, used in herbal medicine and as an ornamental garden flower.

How much Evening Primrose should I take?

A: Evening Primrose should be taken to relieve pain and inflammation, so the dosage depends on how severe the symptoms are. For mild discomfort, you can take two capsules of 50mg each; for moderate, it’s four pills at 100mg each, and for severe, it’s six pills at 200mg each.

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