Evening Primrose

Evening PrimroseEvening primrose is a wild plant in North America, and it is named that way because its flowers opens at dusk. The herb, including the root, has long been used in the treatment of bruises, hemorrhoids, throat pain and abdominal pain. Oil, which is obtained from seeds, contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid, and when in body it transforms into prostaglandins, a substance similar to hormones that regulate many functions.

Although GLA may also be produced from some other fat in the body, no type of food contains significant amounts of this acid. Evening primrose oil is the source of concentrated GLA – it makes up 7% to 10% of its fatty acids. There are other, even richer sources of GLA. Borage oil, for example, contains 20% to 26%, and the oil of black raisins 14% to 19%. However, these oils also contain many other fatty acids that interfere with the absorption of GLA. In most studies of this fatty acid, the oil of a two year bud was used, and it is recommended as a source of GLA. Borage oil is a good substitute – it is cheaper than evening primrose oil, and the therapeutic effect is achieved with smaller doses.

How does it work?

Several types of prostaglandins are produced in the body; some of them support inflammation, some of them alleviate it. Gamma linolenic acid is converted directly to important anti-inflammatory prostaglandins that are responsible for most of the therapeutic effects of this dietary supplement. In addition, GLA is also an important element of cell membranes.

PREVENTION: it seems that GLA from evening primrose oil slows down the development of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage, which is a very common complication of diabetes). Research on people with mild diabetic neuropathy has shown that one-year use of this oil reduces burns, stiffness, loss of sensation and other symptoms.

ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: evening primrose oil is often used in the treatment of eczema, allergic skin diseases that may occur due to weaker conversion of other fatty acids to GLA. Some studies have shown that using this oil for three to four months relieves itching of the skin, which reduces the need for steroid creams and other drugs with uncomfortable side effects.

There is evidence of the beneficial effect of an oil in the treatment of menstrual problems, such as PMS, cramps and endometriosis. It prevents the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins that cause menstrual cramps. It seems that oil also relieves tension in the breast, which sometimes appears before menstruation; it may also be useful to some women in the treatment of infertility.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are pain and joint swelling. Some research suggests that the use of primrose oil or some other GLA source will alleviate such problems. This oil can also help in other inflammatory disorders such as rosacea, acne or muscle strains.

How to take it?

DOSAGE: the recommended dose is usually 1000 mg, three times a day, which is 240 mg of GLA. For equal amounts of this essential fatty acid, you should take 1000 mg of borage oil or 1500 mg of black raisin oil daily. Evening primrose oil and borage oil can be applied locally on the fingers to relieve Raynaud’s disease.

USE GUIDELINES: evening primrose oil or other GLA sources should be taken with food to make the absorption better.

Possible side effects

According to research, in about 2% of cases of evening primrose oil application, a feeling of bloating and discomfort in the stomach appears. If you take the oild with food, you will reduce these side effects.

IMPORTANT: people who have or have had epilepsy should consult a doctor before using evening primrose oil. It seems that large doses can cause seizures.