Base Oils – Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera Biennis)

Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera Biennis)

Oenothera Biennis is a species of Oenothera native to eastern and central North America, from Newfoundland west to Alberta, southeast to Florida, and southwest to Texas, and widely naturalized elsewhere in temperate and subtropical regions. Evening Primrose oil is produced from the plant.

Oenothera Biennis plant has a life span of two years. Blooming lasts from late spring to late summer. They open visibly fast every evening producing an interesting spectacle, hence the name “Evening Primrose“. It is also known as Weedy Evening-Primrose, German Rampion, Hog Weed, King’s Cure-All, and Fever-Plant.

The name Evening-Primrose is optionally hyphenated. Evening Primrose is not a “Primrose“, a name best applied to the genus Primula. The “Evening” in the name relates to the fact that the flowers of many of the 125 species of Oenothera open in the evening and release a scent that attracts moths for pollination.

Evening Primrose, a native of North America, is found in all provinces of Canada, but is more frequent in the east than the west. The species extends south to Florida and Mexico.

Evening Primrose is a frequent weed of roadsides, waste places, and abandoned land, often found in light sandy and gravelly soils. It commonly occurs in association with early successional, biennial and perennial weeds.

The Evening or Tree Primrose is said to have originated in Mexico and Central America some 70,000 years ago. It subsequently spread right across the North American continent and from there came to Europe. It can now be found growing all over the world in temperate climates.

This oil is ritch fatty acids include omega-6 fatty acids, linolenic acid.


Some Evening Primrose seeds have been shown to live to 80 years in the soil.

Hunters are said to have rubbed the root on the soles of their mocassins to mask their smell and get closer to the animals. Herb for a successful hunt.


Evening Primrose oil has been called the most sensational preventive discovery since Vitamin C. It contains the pain relieving compound phenylalanine and is increasingly being used to treat chronic headaches. It is currently being studied all over the world as a treatment for aging problems, alcoholism, acne, heart disease, hyperactivity in children, symptoms of menopause, multiple sclerosis, weight control, obesity, PMS and schizophrenia.

Research indicates that the GLA (The gamma-linoleic acid) in Evening Primrose oil can help prevent, and in some cases even reverse, the nerve damage (neuropathy) so commonly seen with diabetes.

In a year-long study, such symptoms as numbness, tingling, and loss of sensation in participants with mild diabetic neuropathy were less marked in those who took Evening Pimrose oil than in those who took a placebo.

A study by the Highland Psychiatric Research Group at the Draig Dunain Hospital, Inverness, Scotland, found that Evening Primrose encouraged regeneration of liver cells damaged by alcohol consumption. Other researchers think it may also prevent alcoholic poisoning, hangovers, postdrink depression and alcohol withdrawal. It is thought to stop alcohol from damaging brain cells by bolstering them with unsaturated fats.

By working to dilute sebum, a thick oily substance that is oversecreted in some people with acne, the essential fatty acids in Evening Primrose oil may reduce the risk of pores becoming clogged and lesions developing. The oil’s EFAs help treat rosacea by reducing inflammation, controlling cells use of nutrients and by producing prostaglandins, which stimulate the contraction of blood vessels.

It may also minimise premenstrual breast tenderness, irritable bowel flare-ups, and carbohydrate cravings, and help to control endometriosis-associated inflammation. Many PMS sufferers are found to have unusually low levels of GLA in their systems, which is why supplements might help so much.

In women with fibrocystic breasts, the oil’s essential fatty acids can minimise breast inflammation and promote the absorption of iodine, a mineral that can be present in abnormally low levels in women with this condition. By interfering with the production of inflammatory prostaglandins released during menstruation, the GLA in Evening Primrose oil can help to lessen menstrual cramps.

Women use Evening Primrose oil in pregnancy for preventing high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia), shortening labor, starting labor, and preventing late deliveries.

Women also use Evening Primrose oil for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast pain, endometriosis, and symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.

Possibly effective for osteoporosis, when used in combination with calcium and Fish oils. There is some early evidence that a specific combination of Evening Primrose oil and Fish oils (Efamarine) might reduce the symptoms of CFS.

Some people use Evening Primrose oil for chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma, nerve damage related to diabetes, an itching disorder called neurodermatitis, hyperactivity in children and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity and weight loss, whooping cough and gastrointestinal disorders including ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and peptic ulcer disease.

By boosting the transmission of nerve impulses, Evening Primrose oil may be valuable in treating this progressive brain disorder (Alzheimer).

By promoting blood flow, the GLA in Evening Primrose oil can help treat a primary cause of male impotence; compromised circulation leading to impaired penile blood flow. The oil is often taken with Vitamin C and Ginkgo Biloba for this purpose.

By improving uterine function, GLA may also help those who are unable to conceive.

Complications of pregnancy: Research to date suggests that taking Evening Primrose oil doesn’t seem to shorten labor, prevent high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia), or prevent late deliveries in pregnant women.

GLA (The gamma-linoleic acid) prompts the brain to produce a specific type of prostaglandin called prostaglandin E, which works to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as depression and seizures by indirectly protecting the liver and nervous system.

In animal studies, gamma-linolenic acid (an ingredient of Evening Primrose oil) is reported to lower blood pressure. Therefore, in theory, Evening Primrose oil may have effects on blood pressure, and should be used cautiously when combined with other agents that may lower blood pressure.

Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder in which certain body cells attack and destroy the glands that produce tears and saliva).


Suitable for sensitive, oily, mature skin types.

The oil from the seed is added to toiletries and cosmetics. It is often combined with Vitamin E to prevent oxidation. And a finely ground powder made from the flowering stems is used cosmetically in face-masks to counteract reddened skins.

The rich stores of essential fatty acids in Evening Primrose oil not only prevent nails from cracking but also help to keep them generally healthy. In addition, the essential fatty acids nourish the scalp, making the supplement potentially valuable in treating a variety of hair problems.

The fatty acids in the oil are extremely moisturizing, helping to keep dry areas hydrated. It also reportedly improves blood circulation wherever it is applied, making it a natural way to treat tired skin and eyes. It also helps reduce inflammation and keeps pores clear. Even those who do not have serious skin conditions may want to use this oil to as a daily facial treatment.

Since Primrose oil has high concentrations of antioxidants, it aids in fighting free radicals. Pollution, stress and sun exposure may cause irreparable damage to the skin by formation of free radicals. It is extremely necessary to neutralize the free radicals as they may cause the skin to look tired and weary. Antioxidants help in fighting such radicals and make skin free from any damage. Primrose oil thus revitalizes the skin cells making it look fresh and healthy.

Primrose oil helps in adding moisture to the skin and promoting healthy maintenance of collagen, it improves skin elasticity and prevents premature sagging as well as wrinkles and fine lines.

Many factors tend to damage the skin cells which make the skin dull and patchy due to deposition of dead skin cells. Therefore, there should be continuous production and repair of new cells to replace the old ones. Primrose oil helps in regeneration of new cells as well as repairing of damaged cells to provide you with an everlasting glow from within.

It reduces infection and bacterial growth on the skin thereby shrinking the acne. Regular use may even protect your skin from the formation of acne. The emollient properties of Primrose oil help in keeping skin free from dryness, which is a major cause of acne and blemishes. Key herb for treating eczema.

Dark circles are probably the most common skin issue faced by a huge number of individuals. Though there can be many causes for such skin condition, for example, excessive exposure to the sun, hyper-pigmentation, stress and anxiety; Primrose oil may help in providing an even toned skin texture by slowly fading the uneven dark under eye areas. Cures hyper-pigmentation.

Primrose oil has omega-6 fatty acids which nourish the hair well. It retains moisture of the hair shaft, thereby reducing damage. Since Primrose oil has high amounts of GLA or the essential fatty acids, it prevents hair from becoming excessively dry, especially near the ends of the hair shaft. It improves hair texture throughout the shaft and provides sheen to your hair. Reduces hair brittleness.


Evening Primrose oil contains a high concentration of a fatty acid called GLA and it is this fatty acid that is largely responsible for the remarkable healing properties of the plant. In fact, Evening Primrose contains one of the highest concentrations known of this important substance and only a few other plants contain it at all. This makes Evening Primrose an important medicinal herb.

This is one of those prime examples of “Letting food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. Native Americans traditionally considered the Evening Primrose plant’s seeds, leaves, and roots to be a food. This plant was a staple food for many Native American tribes who ate the boiled, nutty-flavoured root.

Every part of this plant can be used. The leaves can be cooked and eaten as greens. The roots can be boiled like potatoes and allegedly taste like sweet parsnips. The flowers are sweet and can be used in salads or as a pretty garnish. The young seedpods can be steamed and the ripe seeds can be roasted in an oven for 15 to 20 min. at 350° and used on bread or in salads. You can also sprinkle the roasted seeds over any dish like pepper.

Pharmaceutical and food companies are developing GLA-containing supplements and specialty foods for infants, the elderly, and people with health problems. In foods, Evening Primrose oil is used as a dietary source of essential fatty acids. Initial human study is unclear about the effects that EveningPrimrose oil may have on weight loss. Raw

Evening Primrose oil is used as an anti-inflammatory and also in small quantities, such as a teaspoon, as a daily supplement for women.

Evening Primrose oil is very good for salad dressings like a health supplement.


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