Home Remedies - Evening Primrose Oil - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Evening Primrose is edible and medicinal and has a long history of use as an alternative medicine . The leaves are cooked and eaten as greens and the roots are said to be sweet succulent and delicious when boiled like potatoes. Flowers are a sweet addition to salads or as a garnish and young seedpods are Steamed. This plant was a staple food for many Native American tribes. The flowers open in the evening and close up during the day and are strongly scented with a delicious sweet perfume which attracts pollinating moths.

Evening Primrose Oil contains an omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Once processed in the body, GLA, exerts anti-inflammatory and other healing actions.

Evening primrose oil is certainly not the only source of GLA; various foods actually contain small amounts of it and the body produces GLA on its own from a number of dietary fats. Interestingly, borage oil and black currant oil offers rich stores as well but their effectiveness and safety for many ailments has not been as intensively examined as evening primrose oil.

The remarkably rich stores of GLA in evening primrose oil are what make it so valuable in healing. Taken internally, the body converts GLA into prostaglandins. These hormonelike compounds help regulate various body functions, controlling inflammation in some cases and promoting it in others. The prostaglandins produced from GLA fall into the anti-inflammatory category. Cell membranes also rely on the presence of GLA.

Specifically, evening primrose oil may help to:

  • Relieve the discomforts of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menstruation, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts.
  • Ease the joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Prevent diabetes-associated nerve damage - including tingling and numbness.
  • Reduce the symptoms of eczema.
  • Help treat acne and rosacea. By working to dilute sebum and reduce inflammation.
  • Alleviate inflammation associated with lupus.
  • Lessen numbness and tingling. By helping to keep the myelin sheaths that cover nerve fibers healthy--and communication between the brain and nerve cells functioning smoothly--the essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil may help to reduce or prevent numbness and tingling in the feet, hands or legs.
  • Combat damage from multiple sclerosis. - The fatty acids may contribute to healthy nerve development when taken over time. It is important to initiate supplement use as soon as possible after diagnosis.
  • Treat Alzheimer's-related memory deficiencies. By boosting the transmission of nerve impulses.
  • Protect against the effects of aging. As the body ages, it loses its ability to convert dietary fats into GLA.
  • Counter impotence and female infertility. By promoting blood flow, the GLA in evening primrose oil can help treat a primary cause of male impotence--compromised circulation leading to impaired penile blood flow. The oil is often taken with vitamin C and ginkgo biloba for this purpose.
  • Alleviate Raynaud's disease symptoms. One study found a benefit in gently rubbing evening primrose oil directly into fingertips numbed by this circulatory disorder.
  • Nourish nails, scalp, and hair. The rich stores of essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil not only prevent nails from cracking but also help to keep them generally healthy.
  • Prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms. GLA prompts the brain to produce a specific type of prostaglandin called prostaglandin E, which works to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as depression and seizures by indirectly protecting the liver and nervous system.

Have a question? Contact McDowell's Herbal Treatments

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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