Evening primrose oil derives from the flower’s seeds native to North America. The plant has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments. The healing benefits are partially due to its gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content. GLA is an omega 6 fatty acid found in plant oils. Essential fatty acids are necessary for human health, but the body does not produce them naturally.
Evening primrose oil has a range of therapeutic properties and is known to help reduce the pain associated with PMS and improves skin complaints. The oil can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent and is known to be helpful for menopause symptoms, arthritis and more.
According to a study in 2005, evening primrose oil helps to smooth the skin and improve its elasticity, moisture and reduce the physical signs of fatigue. The report suggested that GLA is necessary for ideal skin structure and function. As the skin can’t producer GLA on its own, the researchers believed that taking a GLA rich supplement helps to keep the skin healthy overall.
EPO is effective in treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as depression, bloating and overall discomfort. In a 2010 study, a supplement containing B6, E and evening primrose oil was effective in relieving PMS symptoms.
Evening primrose oil is also very useful for symptoms of the menopause. The natural oil helps to balance hormones and improve unwanted symptoms. In 2013, the results of a randomised clinical trial “The effect of oral evening primrose oil on menopausal hot flashes” which looked at the effects of evening primrose oil on 56 menopausal women (aged 45-59) was published. These women took two 500mg capsules of evening primrose oil or a placebo every day for 6 weeks. The researchers them compared hot flashes between the two groups and found that oral evening primrose oil decreased the intensity of hot flash attacks and decreased the life disruption that results from these attacks.
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