Evening primrose gets its name from the time of day in which the flower opens.
Evening primrose oil is a dietary supplement extracted from the seeds of the Oenothera biennis, or the evening primrose plant. It is a plant native to North America but is now found in Europe and other areas as well.
The seeds of the evening primrose plant have a 7 to 10 percent concentration of gamma-linolenic acid, or more commonly known as GLA, which is an essential fatty acid . GLA is one of the Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids needed to form prostaglandins and hormones. It is also rich in vitamin E.
Evening Primrose supplements are generally available in capsule form and taken orally to treat a wide variety of skin, autoimmune, and other disorders including eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s and collagen vascular disease thought to be caused by inflammation.
The oil was frequently used in folk and alternative medicine and has been the subject of numerous clinical studies since the 1980s to uncover additional benefits.
Native Americans first noticed the anti-inflammatory properties of evening primrose oil and used the oil to treat swelling in the body.
Many women use Evening Primrose Oil to relieve breast and menstrual pains. The oil also has properties that have become beneficial to women dealing with fertility problems.
A woman’s chances for conceiving are enhanced when she drinks lots of water and takes Evening Primrose Oil. The oil produces a higher volume and better quality of fertile cervical fluid.
The linolenic acid and gamma linolenic acid in Evening Primrose Oil helps to produce prostaglandins, which have anti-inflammatory properties and are also beneficial in inducing labor and uterine contractions.