Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose. The oil is usually put into capsules for use. Evening primrose oil may have modest benefits for eczema, and it may be useful for rheumatoid arthritis and breast pain.
More recently it has been used for other conditions involving inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Evening primrose oil is used for conditions affecting women's health, such as breast pain associated with the menstrual cycle, menopausal symptoms, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is used during pregnancy in attempts to shorten the duration of labor. Other conditions for which evening primrose oil is used include cancer and diabetes. Evening primrose oil (EPO) contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is felt to be the active ingredient. EPO has been studied in a wide variety of disorders, particularly those affected by metabolic products of essential fatty acids. However, high-quality evidence for its use in most conditions is still lacking.
The source of EFA’s in these studies has been Evening Primrose Oil It was once believed that our diet would provide enough EFA’s but due to processing methods, the LA’s structure is changed ( then called trans fatty acids). These fatty acids actually block the normal conversion process. Our western lifestyle--too much saturated fat and cholesterol, processed vegetable oils, and alcohol--also inhibits the normal conversion processes. These blockages become even more dramatic with age, low thyroid function, slower metabolism, infections, disease, and dietary considerations such as zinc deficiency.
Evening Primrose Oil is a natural, and the richest, source of Gamma-Linolenic acid. It contains about 72% Linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Since it contains the essential GLA, evening primrose oil is highly valuable to those who cannot otherwise form enough GLA. This would include those who do not get enough essential fatty acids in their diet, drink or have drunk excessive amounts of alcohol, have low thyroid function, or have received radiation treatment. The direct source of GLA takes the pressure off the body to produce the necessary amount of GLA for optimum health.
Preliminary studies in Sweden are relating Evening Primrose Oil to an anti-oxidant in that it also counter acts the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are most often associated with the aging process