Evening primrose oil has such romantic connotations and a very evocative name. Evening rhymes with harmony, calm, completion and a sense of peace at the end of a long day. Something along the lines of a life complete and full of satisfaction. Primrose is composed of the word rose which comes from the Latin which is itself derived from the Greek word for pink or red and the word prime or first. So, evening primrose is effectively, the “first” rose and what a majestic rose it is. Its nickname is a bit less glamorous though and a bit more functional, as it is also often referred to or written as EPO. Its scientific name is Oenothera biennis and it is a native plant of North America.
Origins of the Oil
The oil is derived from the seeds of the plant and is exceptionally rich in omega-6s essential fatty acids. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive, meaning brain memory and performance, and behavioral function. In particular, evening primrose oil contains GLA and linoleic acid, both of which are essential in protecting nerve fibers. These fatty acids are at the source of all the numerous benefits that this oil imparts.
GLA Oral Supplement
Evening Primrose oil is mostly known as a GLA oral supplement but it is an exceptional base oil for most blends. Base oils are carrier oils for other essential oils. They help dilute oils that do not need to or should not be applied in their raw form. Carrier oils are easily absorbed, very moisturizing and great vectors for what all the other oils have to offer.
In aspect, evening primrose oil is viscous and of a golden yellow color. It has a distinctive light and sweet aroma and it can go rancid quite quickly. Can therefore not be kept open for long periods of time.
Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose oil can claim to be a preventative for many diseases and disorders. It is good for relieving pain in the nerves, signs of menopause, headaches, obesity, PMS, ageing issues, and many more. It is good at easing many symptoms, restoring respiratory system functions, and generally keeping the body healthy and functioning. The oil should be in its unrefined state to fully retain the benefits. This means that it also has a slightly stronger odor and can also leave a slightly oiler residue on the skin.
The native Americans used it extensively to heal wounds both internal and external ones. Now, recognized for its numerous and diverse qualities, it can be found growing in many regions of the world. It can be purchased in its liquid form or in the shape of soft gel capsules which ingredients include gelatin, glycerin, purified water and vitamin E. Naturally the dosage, in whatever form it is consumed should be strictly adhered to .
Since it is most useful as a base oil, it very much espouses and brings forth the qualities of any number of essential oil and tends to blend easily with them.
It is said that Black Currant seed oil has many of the properties and effects claimed by evening primrose oil because of their similar chemical similarities but evening primrose is still a more popular and more readily accessible nowadays.
Of note is that evening primrose oil is quite fragile in terms of its conservation once the bottle opened. It tends to have quite a short shelf life and should therefore not be kept in its opened container for more than a year. Much like wine, evening primrose oil, needs somewhere dry, damp and dark to evolve and mature.
Health Benefits and uses of Evening Primrose oil
Evening Primrose oil can have beneficial hormone balancing effects for both men and women.
For women, it is a powerful ally throughout the cycle and life of the reproductive system and not only. It helps with Pre Mestrual Syndrome (PMS) with all its inconveniences like cramps, bloating, mood swings and even excessive bleeding, which affects women to varying degrees. Evening Primrose oil can promote menstruation for irregular or blocked periods and can alleviate the discomfort that comes with premature menopause. Taken in capsules or in its oil form it is particularly effective in helping manage the dreaded hot flashes. Ultimately it is even capable of delaying the onset of menopause thereby ensuring that women stay healthy, happy and fertile longer.
Evening primrose oil is also beneficial to men as it has the capacity to stimulate blood flow in the body specifically to the male reproductive organ thus aiding in countering infertility and impotence. It can even help with hair loss and its devastating effects, which although not as frequent particularly for women.
Osteoporosis is responsible for weakening the bones and making them more brittle and sensitive. It is aggravated with age but it can pretty much affect anyone. This is responsible for the majority of especially elder people
There have been a number of studies revealing that individuals which have taken fish oil, evening primrose oil and calcium in conjunction with each other, have effectively been able to counter the effects of osteoporosis.
Although the individual contribution of evening primrose oil is yet to be determined, the finding is nevertheless extremely encouraging and allows us to conclude that it has a positive influence in this regard.
Mastitis is a specific inflammation of the breasts that can occur when breastfeeding but it can also occur as a premenstrual symptom. For premenstrual mastitis, Evening Primrose oil capsules taken for ten days before the period can help alleviate the discomfort. Of course, if the symptoms persist, it is best to consult a qualified medical professional for specialized help and advice. Also, since all essential oils can be harmful to infants, if breastfeeding, all traces of the compress must be thoroughly cleaned before the next feed so as to not negatively impact the infant.
Fatty acids are truly miraculous for the body and Evening Primrose oil with its high concentration in those, has been scientifically proven to be able to lower the blood’s sugar levels thus minimizing the risks of diabetes. Even more than that, it can protect against the consequences or the collateral damage of diabetes, which often takes the form of some sort of neuropathy that directly affects the nerves. Evening primrose oil is particularly adept in protecting the nerves and can limit the damage if taken for a minimum of six to twelve months.
Thromboses is the local coagulation or clotting of the blood in a part of the circulatory system. This clot can block or obstruct blood flow in the affected area, as well as cause serious complications if the clot moves to a crucial part of the circulatory system, such as the brain or the lungs.
Evening primrose oil also promotes the production of PGI2, a prostaglandin that inhibits the formation of clots in veins (vitamin E also helps the PGI2 synthesis).
Do you know what Raynaud’s phenomenon is? It is quite a relatively rare disease and denotes some kind of ineffectiveness in the blood vessels that has an impact on the sensation of the toes and the fingers. What happens is that following a stressful reaction or quite strong cold conditions, the blood vessels narrow and constrict the entire chain of supply to the extremities which become desensitized. The affected areas can even turn blue or red from lack of oxygenation to the body’s periphery. When the blood flow returns, the skin turns red and throbs or tingles, in a way that can be similar to pins and needles. In severe cases, loss of blood flow can cause sores or tissue death.
There are no causes to Raynaud’s phenomenon and it can be triggered and appear very spontaneously. Only on some occasions and what is called secondary Raynaud’s
can be the result of some action like injuries, other diseases, or certain medicines.
Evening primrose oil can help with its ability to stimulate the circulation. Soak hands in warm water that is enriched with a few drops of evening primrose oil and keep hands warm in winter to avoid its on-set.
Beauty Benefits and uses of Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose oil has amazing anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that leave the skin hydrated and more. It can help eliminate blemishes, soften the appearance of scars and stimulate skin regeneration. It considerably increases the elasticity of mature skin.
The magical Omega 6s it contains, are also very effective against psoriasis, a condition that causes crusty, flaky and red patches on the skin and eczema, a chronic condition caused by varying degrees of inflammation in the body.
Omega 6s are also very powerful allies in aiding to combat acne.
There is even some research that supports the idea that applying evening primrose oil for diaper rash can, after a certain period of time, have the same effect as using a diaper rash moisturizing cream. Further studies are required particularly with regards to the safety of evening primrose oil and infants.
NAILS AND HAIR
Evening primrose is also recommended to nourish your nails, hair and scalp. By massaging the oil in your hair and scalp, you restore that vibrant hair quality and sheen. Additionally, nails stop cracking and you are good to go. As mentioned above, see section about hormonal health, it can also help prevent hair loss. This is done thanks to evening primrose oil’s countering effect to dihydrotestosterone or DHT which is mainly responsible for baldness in men.
Wellbeing Benefits and uses
Evening Primrose is an excellent stimulant for the metabolic system, the system that transforms and allocates the nutrients in the body. It can help accelerate and make the process more efficient. Provided it is used in moderation it can therefore greatly assist in weight loss while simultaneously balancing the body’s cholesterol levels.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)
Evening primrose oil has also been tested on children suffering from ADHD. It showed improvements vs. past behavior It improved symptoms like lack of focus and concentration, over-excitement and fidgeting without the downsides of taking medication. Naturally, more research is being conducted in the fieldon the subject to make the results more conclusive
Best Blending Combinations
One of the best parts of using essential oils is creating our own blends, whether as a creative outlet or out of a healing necessity. But what is essential to keep in mind is that by blending oils, we are doing more than mixing flavors. There are combinations that can create powerful synergies whereby we are not simply experiencing each individual benefit but the oils enhance and influence each other thereby producing exponential benefits.
Blending is a creative process and an individual one and it is important to follow intuition and personal preference when practicing it. When first attempting it is best to stick to a maximum of three or four essential oils and always take into account personal preferences, intended usage or symptoms that need to be treated and emotional and psychological factors. For those who need a little bit more guidance to start with, below are a few tried and tested combinations that work particularly well and have proven their efficacy, using Evening Primrose oil as a prime component:
Evening Primrose oil, Thyme, Clary Sage, and Ylang Ylang can be blended together to create a hormone balancing serum.
Mix Evening Primrose oil, Neroli, Rose, Lavender and Sandalwood can be massaged onto the skin and left to infuse for fifteen to twenty minutes, for a nourishing and reinvigorating facial spa.
A combination of Evening Primrose oil, Lavender, Myrrh and coconut butter blended together can bring moisture and rejuvenation to tired and cracked hands in dire need of some tender loving care.
It is perhaps not surprising that such a potent and beneficial oil can also have quite a few counter indications, particularly in conjunction with specific prior medical conditions. It is therefore paramount that it is used responsibly and in full knowledge of possible benefits and side effects.
The list below is not exhaustive but should give a pretty fair indication to the uninitiated.
Not for the Hypotensive
Firstly, Evening Primrose oil is not indicated for those suffering from hypotension. Since it lowers the blood pressure, it is counter indicated for people who are taking blood pressure lowering medication. It is therefore crucial to consult a medical professional if suffering from any heart ailments, before deciding to use Evening Primrose oil for its many benefits.
Not for Use With Other Medications
It has been mentioned above, how powerful Evening Primrose oil is in fighting against diabetes. That said, it should not be combined with other medications, for fear of leading to hypoglycemia which can cause confusion, lightheadedness and fatigue.
Like all essential oils, it must be tested in small doses and on small areas of the skin to safely preclude the possibility of allergic reactions. IT is of note however that allergic reactions to this oil are not unusual and therefore extra vigilance is warranted. If any reactions do appear, just discontinue usage and consult a medical professional.
Suffers of Mental Illnesses
Evening Primrose oil is particularly not recommended for people suffering from neurological pathologies. There have been instances where the oil has been found to increase the frequency of epileptic seizures and cause severe migraines and generally exacerbating neurological conditions.
Pregnant Women and Bleeding Disorders
It is not suitable during pregnancy and it is even said that it can extend the length of labor.
Evening Primrose oil is best to be avoided by those with bleeding disorders as it can slow blood clotting. In fact it is advised to stop using evening primrose oil and evening primrose products prior to any surgery.
Avoid Use With Other Herbal Supplements
Avoid using evening primrose together with other herbal and health supplements that can also have the capacity to affect blood-clotting. This includes angelica or otherwise known as dong quai, capsicum, clove, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, horse chestnut, panax ginseng, poplar, red clover, saw palmetto, turmeric, and willow.
As mentioned in the introductory section, evening primrose oil is quite fragile in terms of its conservation. It tends to have quite a short shelf life and should therefore not be kept in its opened container for more than a year. If blended with wheat germ oil it can prolong its life a few number of months.
Kindly note that all essential oils must be kept away from children.
Avoid Contact With Eyes
Avoid splashing essential oils in the eyes and always rinse thoroughly if the eyes get affected accidentally.
Always try and source the highest affordable quality oils, as much as possible the organic versions and ensure that they are free of pesticides or herbicides, to maximize wellness and get the full benefits or essential oils and of the science of aromatherapy.