Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are required by the body for growth and development, and must be obtained from the diet.

Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose. The oil is usually put into capsules for use.

  • Evening primrose oil has been used since the 1930s for eczema (a condition in which the skin becomes inflamed, itchy, or scaly because of allergies or other irritation).
  • Evening primrose oil may be recommended to prepare the cervix for labor when taken around 36 weeks gestation. (Ask your doctor about dosage, timing and safety)
  • 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).
  • More recently it has been used for other conditions involving inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Evening primrose oil is well tolerated by most people. Mild side effects include gastrointestinal upset and headache.

Tell all your doctor or health care provider about any complementary and alternative treatments you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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Last updated: 1/8/2019