Oenothera biennis, commonly called evening primrose, bears small yellow flowers that are in bloom just for one night. This flower, also known as the evening star, shrivels and dies after a night. The seeds of the Oenothera biennis are used for producing evening primrose oil, which is a wonderful source of omega-6 essential fatty acid. It has also been established that evening primrose oil is effectual in treating various skin complaints. This essential oil may also aid in preventing a number of diseases related to the central nervous system (CNS) and the breasts.
Evening primrose oil offers numerous health benefits. It has been found that evening primrose oil is the most excellent natural remedy for problems suffered by women during their menstrual period. This essential oil can also be used to provide relief from various symptoms related to menstruation, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), fibrocystic breasts and endometriosis. As this essential oil gets in the way of creation of inflammatory prostaglandin, which is released by the body during the menstrual period, its use can effectively help in alleviating menstrual cramps. This property of evening primrose essential oil is attributed to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). At the same time, use of evening primrose essential oil can also diminish breast tenderness during menstruation, cravings for carbohydrates, irritable bowel outbreak as well as aid in controlling inflammation associated with endometriosis. It has been found that many women suffering from PMS usually have very low concentration of GLA in their body. Hence, using primrose essential oil or a GLA supplement may prove to be very beneficial for them. However, not much research has been undertaken with this essential oil or it is not used extensively in the United States for treating symptoms related to PMS. On the other hand, people in Europe have been using this essential oil for long to treat such conditions. The omega-6 fatty acid present in evening primrose oil can help in diminishing breast inflammation in women suffering from fibrocystic breasts. In addition, it can also help to promote iodine absorption by the body. This is important because women enduring the above mentioned conditions usually have very low levels of iodine in their system.
Evening primrose oil is effective in preventing diseases related to the damage of the nervous system. Findings of some scientific studies have suggested that evening primrose oil encloses GLA, which possesses the aptitude to prevent and, in a number of cases even reverse, neuropathy (nerve damage) - a condition very common among diabetics. A year-long research found that symptoms like tingling, numbness and even absence of sensation among the participants with mild diabetic neuropathy were not prominent in patients who used this essential oil than others who did not or just took placebo.
It is believed that evening primrose oil is among the most effective remedies for eczema and several other problems related to the skin. This oil contains elevated amounts of fatty acid and GLA, which are essential for the good health of the skin. The oil hauled out of the seeds of evening primrose is extremely mild and can also be employed in the form of a moisturizer to ensure that the dry skin areas remain hydrated. In addition, this essential oil also promotes blood circulation, which is useful for treating problems related to the skin and eyes. For best results, people suffering from any of these conditions should ideally apply this essential oil twice daily using a cotton ball.
Evening primrose oil also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, taking evening primrose is often employed to relieve symptoms associated with chest discomfort and arthritis. Children enduring hyperactive disorder may also find this evening primrose oil very useful in alleviating their problems. This fatty acid-rich essential oil may also be employed along with any superior quality fish oil to effectively treat chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some of the specific heath benefits offered by evening primrose oil are discussed in brief below.
Offset female infertility and male impotency: Primrose essential oil is also useful for treating female infertility and impotence among men. As evening primrose oil promotes blood circulation to all parts of the body, the GLA present in this essential oil has the potential to cure the primary reasons responsible for male impotence. It is worth mentioning here that poor blood circulation to the penile region may often result in male impotency. Often, evening primrose oil is taken along with ginkgo biloba and vitamin C to treat male impotence. Moreover, using this essential oil for a prolonged period helps the body to increase the GLA levels, thereby preventing the constriction of the blood vessels. Time and again, narrowing of blood vessels is a fall-out of plaque deposits inside the blood vessels owing to high intake of foods rich in cholesterol content. GLA also improves the uterine function, thereby treating female infertility. Use of this oil may help infertile women to conceive.
Alleviate swollen joints and joint pains associated with rheumatic arthritis: Primrose essential oil is also very effectual for treating swellings and joint pains associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It has been found that supplementing with this fatty acid-rich essential oil or using any other supplement containing GLA helps to alleviate swelling and joint pain associated with this crippling health condition. A study undertaken over a period of six months found that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis experienced lesser signs of inflammation when they took capsules enclosing GLA instead of using a placebo. During another experiment, scientists found that the instances of swollen joints and tender joints decreased notably when the sufferers used GLA instead of a placebo.
Lessens the symptoms associated with eczema: It has been found that in a number of instances, eczema occurs when our body faces problems in producing GLA from the ingested dietary fats. Therefore, taking evening primrose supplements, which contain elevated levels of GLA, is useful in alleviating eczema symptoms. A number of studies have suggested that evening primrose oil possesses the aptitude to do better than a placebo vis-à-vis providing relief from inflammation related to eczema. In addition, this oil can also be used effectively to treat other symptoms such as oozing, itching and flaking related to the horrible skin disorder. When people suffering from eczema take evening primrose oil, they are able to endure lower doses of drugs and steroid creams - many of which may result in undesirable side effects. However, it is important to note that findings of all studies undertaken with this oil do not hint at the above benefits of this essential oil. Moreover, many doctors prescribing conventional medicines are still sceptical about this health benefit of evening primrose oil.
Aids in treating rosacea and acne: When the sebum is diluted in some people, it results in the formation of a dense oily substance, which often erupts in the form of a disturbing skin condition called acne. In such cases, the essential fatty acids, especially omega-6 fatty acid, may prove to be useful in lessening the chances of the skin pores becoming choked. The essential fatty acid is helpful in treating rosacea, as it controls the nutrient use by cells, reduces inflammation and, at the same time, produces prostaglandins. In fact, prostaglandins possess the ability to encourage the blood vessels to contract.
Provide relief from lupus-related inflammation: People suffering from lupus often experience inflammation in their skin, joints, kidneys and various other parts of their body. Evening primrose oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and, hence, taking this essential oil will help to alleviate such inflammations. Moreover, using evening primrose oil may also help to bring down the levels of bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or LDL) in people enduring lupus.
Lessens tingling and numbness: Evening primrose oil helps to maintain healthy myelin sheaths that swathe the nerve fibers ensuring effective and smooth communication between the nerve cells and the brain; it helps to lessen or even put off tingling and numbness in the hands, legs and feet. This quality of evening primrose oil is attributed to the essential fatty acids contained by this oil.
Counteracts damages caused by multiple sclerosis: Evening primrose oils is overloaded with essential fatty acids, which helps it to diminish inflammation related to multiple sclerosis - a progressive nerve malady. Fatty acids contained in evening primrose oil may also help in promoting healthy development of nerves, provided the essential oil is taken for a long duration. Therefore, it is vital to start taking evening primrose supplement immediately after one has been diagnosed with this disease.
Helpful in treating Alzheimer's disease: You can also use evening primrose oil to treat memory deficiencies caused by Alzheimer's disease. This essential oil effectively boosts transmission of impulses sent by the nerves. As a result, it may also be useful in curing progressive brain disorders like Alzheimer's disease.
Combats aging process and its affects: Various other health benefits of evening primrose oil include its effectiveness in delaying the natural aging process. As we age, our body is unable to produce GLA from the ingested dietary fats. This essential fatty acid plays numerous vital roles in our system and, hence, it is important to take evening primrose on a regular basis. Regular use of this omega-6 fatty acid will help the body to compensate for the GLA deficiency.
Assuage symptoms related to Raynaud's disease: Evening primrose oil also helps to get relief from the symptoms of Raynaud's disease. The findings of a study discovered that massaging evening primrose oil gently on the numbed fingertips helps to restore blood circulation. It is believed that the GLA content of evening primrose oil is responsible for improving the numbed fingertips. This oil is also beneficial for treating the toes.
Nourishment for the hair, scalp and nails: This fatty acid-rich essential oil also helps to nourish the scalp, hair and nails. Since evening primrose oil contains elevated amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, it helps to prevent cracking of nails. At the same time, it ensures good health of the nails. Fatty acids enclosed by this essential oil also help to nurture the scalp, thereby making it an effective supplement that has the potential to treat various hair problems.
Reduces symptoms of alcohol withdrawal: Evening primrose oil may be beneficial for people consuming alcohol, as it is effective in putting off the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. Evening primrose oil contains GLA, which induces the brain to make a particular variety of prostaglandin known as prostaglandin E. This type of prostaglandin is attributed with the oil's property to do away with withdrawal symptoms like seizures and depression, as it ultimately shields the nervous system as well as the liver from any harm.