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When it comes to natural oils, in most cases you’ll at least have heard of the main ingredient that the essential oil comes from. For example, it is pretty obvious that grapeseed oil comes from grapeseed’s, and that coconut oil comes from coconuts. If you know a little bit more about plants than the average person, you might even quickly catch on and realize “ oh yeah, that’s right – castor oil comes from castor seeds.” However, what about those natural oils that you’ve never really heard of? There are a bunch of them, but one of the great ones, which our feature article will cover this time around is evening primrose oil.
What is Evening Primrose Oil?
So, what is evening primrose oil and more so what is the evening primrose that this oil stems from? Firstly, let’s talk about the evening primrose that evening primrose oil comes from. Evening primrose is a North American plant that tends to grow in Europe and other parts of the southern hemisphere. The plant has yellow flowers which bloom at night (hence the name evening primrose) between June and September or on overcast days during the second year post-being grown. The plants leaves grow on opposite sides of the plant at alternating levels.
Evening primrose oil is derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant and placed in capsules to make it more user friendly. Some of the key ingredients found in evening primrose oil include linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic or (GLA) fatty acid. These fatty acids make up 25% of the plants contents. These acids are omega-6 fatty acids and are considered healthier than other omega-6 fatty acids. Evening primrose oil also contains phenylalanine, a pain relieving compound which has been used a lot in the past few years to provide relief from headaches. The oil has been used for over seventy years for a variety of natural cosmetic and other health benefits.
Evening Primrose Oil for Acne
The first one of evening primrose oils’ great benefits that we are going to focus on is how it can be used as a premium acne treatment. What this boils down to is that evening primrose oil is able to reduce sebum. Sebum is a thick, oily substance that tends to be oversecreted in those suffering from acne. More so, the fatty acids contained within evening primrose oil may also be capable of reducing the risk of pores getting clogged up, which can lead to lesions developing.
Practically though, you’re probably wondering how you can use evening primrose oil to treat existing acne. There are two popular ways to do this. One of them is by taking an evening primrose oil capsule on a daily basis. Secondly, applying evening primrose oil topically can reduce the inflammation in existing acne and result in clearer skin.
Evening Primrose Oil for Skin
Besides for taking care of acne, evening primrose oil can also do wonders for your skin. Evening primrose oil is well known for treating eczema as well as a variety of other skin conditions. In over 30 studies where evening primrose oil was tested on people suffering from eczema and dermatitis, primrose was proven to help treat the symptoms of these skin conditions. How is evening primrose oil able to do such a great job at treating eczema? Eczema tends to flare up when your body has trouble converting dietary fats into GLA. Since, as we mentioned before, evening primrose oil contains an abundance of GLA it is able to provide those suffering from eczema with the supplementary GLA that their body needs!
Additionally, some studies have shown that evening primrose oil does a better job at relieving symptoms of eczema when compared with other placebos. According to some studies, evening primrose oil does an especially great job at providing relief from any of the itching, oozing, and flaking symptoms of eczema. Evening primrose oil tends to be free of any of the potentially hazardous side effects which you may be faced with if you were to treat your eczema with steroid creams or drugs used to treat this condition.
Besides for acne, evening primrose oil also does a great job at providing relief from a variety of other skin conditions, too! One of these other conditions is Rosacea. Rosacea is a highly common skin condition that tends to first appear as someone being more prone to blush or flush more easily than others. Evening primrose oil is able to treat this condition by reducing inflammation and through the use of its prostaglandins to stimulate blood vessel contraction. In general, when treating skin conditions, evening primrose oil has also been shown to help treat for a wide range of other problems skin tissues may be faced with. These conditions may include redness, firmness, fatigue resistance, and roughness.
Evening Primrose Oil for Pregnancy and Fertility
Are you or your significant other expecting? Congratulations! You may not have known is that evening primrose oil can serve as a fantastic treatment for both pregnancy and fertility. Some researchers have proven that evening primrose oil has the ability to reduce inflammation, premenstrual syndrome, improve your overall uterine health, and increase cervical mucous production. The overarching reason behind how evening primrose oil is able to help in these areas are the linoleic and gamma linoleic acids contained within this oil. It’s very important for the body to produce prostaglandin which include PGE2. This prostaglandin is important for female fertility because it helps regulate hormones acting on uterine cells, cervical cells, and corpus luteum regression which are all important parts of a healthy pregnancy.
When using evening primrose oil to help become pregnant, it has been recommended to take between 1500 and 3000 mg anywhere from 1-2 times per day. However, since evening primrose oil has the potential to cause uterine contractions, during pregnancy, the smart thing may be to stop taking it past ovulation when trying to conceive. Other uses of evening primrose oil during pregnancy include its usefulness in ripening or preparing the cervix in the last trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. This practice has been commonly used by midwives over the past century. The way the midwives use evening primrose oil to ripen the cervix is as follows: Evening primrose oil is either rubbed onto the cervix while the mother of the child uses an evening primrose oil capsule as a vaginal suppository. Alternatively, the mother can also take evening primrose oil internally the last couple of weeks prior to her child being due. However, it is of the utmost importance that this or any of the other fertility treatments that we have mentioned that evening primrose oil can provide you with are done in consultation with a qualified medical professional.
Evening Primrose Oil for Labor and to Induce Labor
We touched upon this a little bit when talking about how evening primrose oil can help ripen the cervix, prior to a woman going into labor, but evening primrose oil also has a lot of other great labor-related benefits. According to some it is recommended to use a more natural method, like using evening primrose oil, 40 weeks into your pregnancy. But if there are other options available for aiding labor, why choose evening primrose oil to help induce versus another similar, more mainstream treatment? One of the main reasons is the price of the oil. Evening primrose oil is one of the best-priced natural methods of inducing labor on the market! There are several other reasons why evening primrose oil may be a great way to help women going into labor:
- Evening primrose oil can help soften the cervix and help it thin out.
- According to some studies, evening primrose oil can help reduce the overall labor process due to the linolenic acid found in evening primrose oil. This can trigger a prostaglandin response in the body.
- As mentioned earlier, it is important to consult a medical professional before using evening primrose oil or any treatment for that matter to induce labor. Additionally, for some women, evening primrose oil has been shown to reduce labor pains and overall delivery time.
— Neuropathy Action (@NeuropathyAct) October 19, 2016
Evening Primrose Oil for Hair Loss
Besides for helping in the areas of face and skin care, fertility, and pregnancy, evening primrose oil also does a great job of reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth. How does it achieve this? Like a lot of the other times in which you can use evening primrose oil mentioned in this article, it is possible via one of evening primrose oils main ingredients – Gamma Linolenic acid. While GLA may lead to inflammation, it has still been shown to help prevent hair loss. For the most positive results, it’s recommended that GLA’s (which can only be done by applying something that contains it in this case evening primrose oil) are applied to your hair on a regular basis. The general recommendation tends to be to apply it for up to two months straight. Evening primrose oil can also provide you with an array of vitamins which people need more of when suffering from hair loss.
Wondering how to go about applying evening primrose oil to your scalp? Given that the oil is able to penetrate deep into the layers of hair and work its way up from the hair roots, it is important to be cautious when applying evening primrose oil to hair. Additionally, the following steps should be taken when doing so:
- Apply the oil directly onto the scalp.
- Apply evening primrose oil routinely for a minimum of one week.
- Once the oil is applied to your head, allow a bit of time for the oil to deeply penetrate into the scalp. Do not wash until it has sunken in.
- Even if a few doses or applications are missed, don’t panic! You can still continue to intake the oil, and better yet, do so in greater quantity if you have been cleared by a physician for safe primrose oil use. Alternatively, you can take evening primrose oil for hair loss in the forms of capsules and pills.
Evening Primrose Oil Side Effects
Evening Primrose Oil does so many amazing things for your overall physical and cosmetic needs. However, it is important to be aware of some of the side effects associated with it. These include:
- May cause lower blood pressure- People should be wary of this symptom when taking evening primrose oil, and especially if they are taking other drugs, supplements, or herbs which tend to lower blood pressure.
- May lead to increased bleeding- Therefore, if you are a person with a bleeding disorder, like hemophilia, or you are taking drugs which may induce bleeding, it’s highly recommended to be wary of the dosage you are taking. Consult a medical professional before proceeding.
Other side effects that you should look out for after taking evening primrose oil may include abdominal pain, anxiety, depression, eczema, gas, heart burn and other symptoms. However, assuming you take the proper precautions to prevent yourself from exhibiting these side affects, you will see the tremendous benefits this natural oil has to offer – risk free!
What Are Evening Primrose Oil Capsules?
So, we’ve discussed the various ways in which you can take evening primrose oil. One of the main ways we have talked about was using evening primrose oil capsules. However, we never really focused what exactly we mean by evening primrose oil capsules. An evening primrose oil capsule is, as you can probably imagine, a concentrated dose of the oil in capsule form, to be taken orally. While the dosage of how many capsules one should take varies depending on what you are taking them for, people usually tend to take around 500-2000 mg for these various conditions. Some of the common conditions which the capsules are used for include rheumatoid arthritis and premenstrual syndrome, as was mentioned earlier.
In addition to the conditions we have detailed, evening primrose oil, depending on how it is applied, tends to have a variety of benefits in different mediums including skin care, hair care, fertility , pregnancy, labor, and a variety of other conditions and situations. It is important to be careful and to be aware of the different side effects which can come about when applying or taking evening primrose oil. However, as long as you make sure that you use this great oil after getting consultation and approval from your doctor, it can provide you with some great results!