Uses of Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil has some properties that make it beneficial for some health problems. Here we explain what they are and what risks are associated with its consumption.
Uses of Evening Primrose Oil
Cesar Paul González

Reviewed and approved by the biologist Cesar Paul González.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 04 September, 2023

Evening primrose oil is a golden, translucent liquid that’s used as a dietary supplement. It’s extracted from the seeds of the Oenothera biennis plant, which is native to North America.

It’s also known as “woman’s oil” because it’s often used to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It has vitamin E and its seeds have gamma-linolenic acid or GLA – an Omega-6 essential fatty acid – at 7 to 10%.

Evening primrose oil, a product with essential fatty acids

It’s believed that evening primrose oil may help produce a greater volume and better quality of fertile cervical fluid. However, these benefits have not yet been proven.

It is scientifically proven that the linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) contained in evening primrose oil help produce prostaglandins, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and are beneficial in the induction of labor and uterine contractions.

Theyre also elements that contribute to modulate the inflammatory balance at a systemic level. This is evidenced by a study published in the journal International Immunology . Thanks to this property, the risk of developing cardiovascular pathologies can be reduced.

The gamma linoleic acid in evening primrose creates an increased number of prostaglandins that could combat fibrocystic breast disease, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and endometriosis.

There are also studies that suggest that GLA can help treat arthritis and menopause. One of them is published in the journal Nutrients. However, to achieve a significant effect, these nutrients need to be included in the context of a healthy diet. It’s also recommended to promote strength exercise.

Research suggests that maternal nutrition may prevent or postpone the development of atopic dermatitis in high-risk children. This is due to its content of cis-type fatty acids, in addition to other bioactive compounds.

A yellow flower.

Other remedies against premenstrual syndrome

Although some trials suggest that evening primrose oil could be useful against premenstrual syndrome, it should be taken into account that there are other habits that could be promoted with the same objective.

The regular practice of strength exercise helps to prevent muscle pain and the loss of bone density and motor function. In addition, it also helps to modulate inflammatory mechanisms. Similarly, it’s important to maximize the intake of vitamin D and high-biological value proteins.

It’s also essential to ensure that the requirements of essential micronutrients, such as minerals, are met. Iron prevents anemia, which can aggravate fatigue and chronic fatigue. Zinc, on the other hand, reduces the incidence of respiratory infectious pathologies. This is due to its role in the differentiation of lymphocytes.

Finally, it should be noted that it’s essential to monitor the intake of vitamin C to improve immune function. Vitamin E, in turn, will limit oxidation at the cellular level and keep inflammatory processes under control.

As mentioned above, the intake of vegetables, nuts, and fish becomes essential during this period to limit adverse effects and changes in women’s health.


Specialists don’t recommend taking evening primrose oil when the following conditions exist:

  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • Schizophrenia
  • When taking anticoagulant medications
  • When taking heart medication

Neither should you take it before and after surgery.

Evening primrose oil should be consumed raw. It shouldn’t be suitable to be subjected to high temperatures, as it could produce a spatial transformation of fatty acids, generating trans-type compounds.

These elements are considered harmful to health, as they have inflammatory characteristics. Their regular intake can cause the development of complex pathologies such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. It’s important to avoid regular consumption.

It should also be noted that most of the benefits of evening primrose oil have not been solidly demonstrated, nor have the risks. For this reason, the precautionary principle prevails – patients with complex pathologies or taking different types of medication shouldn’t take it.

The side effects that evening primrose oil can produce are mainly headaches, nausea and abdominal pain.

Evening primrose oil, a promising product

Remember that the treatments described here don’t replace medical treatment in any way. If you have symptoms of endometriosis, menopause, premenstrual syndrome or are trying to become pregnant, it’s best to consult your gynecologist.

In summary, evening primrose oil could help relieve the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome and menopause, but its use is not recommended without the authorization of a doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.