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Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil


Evening primrose oil is an essential oil extracted from the tiny seeds of the yellow evening primrose flower. The oil came into use in the 1930’s and is often used to treat skin conditions and premenstrual symptoms. It has been found to contain high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids including omega-6, linolenic and gamma-linolenic acid. These fatty acids are essential for the health of our brain, skin and reproductive system, and must be obtained through diet or supplementation as the body cannot synthesize them by itself.



Evening primrose oil can be taken in capsule form or applied directly to skin for certain skin conditions. Research has shown good evidence for the use of evening primrose oil in treating eczema, moderate evidence for its use for osteoporosis and nerve damage caused by diabetes, but little evidence for its use for breast pain and cysts. The evidence for its use in treating premenstrual syndrome has been conflicting and as a result more research is required. At this stage there is little evidence for its use as a cancer treatment or for symptoms of menopause.


The oil should be stored in a light resistant bottle and kept in the fridge to prevent it from going rancid.



Side effects
Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and should be treated as a medicine. Possible side effects may include:

  • increased risk of bleeding,
  • low blood pressure,
  • mild gastrointestinal upset,
  • headache
  • allergic reaction.


Ensure that you notify your health care professionals if you are taking evening primrose oil as it may interfere with other medications. It is recommended that women should avoid it during pregnancy unless advised by your health care professional as it may induce labour and/or cause excessive bleeding which may be dangerous during delivery. It is also recommended that those with schizophrenia, bleeding disorders or epilepsy avoid it.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.






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