Evening primrose is a plant originating from North- America that has been used by Amerindiens since centuries as a food (the root) and also as a traditional medicine remedy (leaves and seeds) to ease various conditions such as respiratory problems, skin conditions or to heal wounds or bruises thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In the 18th century, the plant found its way to Europe and in the 20th century, evening primrose started to be widely used for its rich content of essential fatty acids (Omega 6).
Also known under the latin name Œnothera biennis, and the King’s cure-all plant, evening primrose grows from June to September up to 1000 meter high. It is around 1.50 meter and the yellow flowers are made of 4 petals. Evening primrose belongs to the family of Onagraceae. The flower has a very short life span of 24 hours. It opens around nineish in the evening in one minute or so and therefore is also called moon flower.
Roots, leaves and seeds are used in phytotherapy but the most widely used part is the seeds for their high content in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Gamma-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid scarcely found in nature, only in a few plants such as evening primrose, borage, blackcurrant seed oil or spirulina and has anti-inflammatory properties without the side effects of other anti-inflammatory drugs. Evening primrose oil is made from evening primerose seeds.
Organic evening primrose oil is recommended for cardiovascular health as it may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is used for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or rheumatism. It also said to alleviate premenstrual syndromes, to boost the immune-system, to have an hepato-protector activity in case of over-consumption of alcohol and even to help in case of hang-overs.
Evening primrose is mainly sold in capsules containing the yellowish thick oil of the seeds but also in bottles. Results are expected to be seen 6 weeks to 3 months after starting taking evening primrose.
As a topical application, evening primrose oil can help to get rid of eczema, acne, skin inflammation (such as rosacea) and even psoriasis. It is a powerful nourishing ingredient for very dry skin and is also used as an anti-aging remedy (internally and externally) thanks to its skin cell-regenerating properties. It smoothers fine lines and wrinkles and gives a better skin elasticity. Evening primrose oil capsules can be used directly on the skin to give it a better looking feel in general. Additionally, an internal treatment should complement the topical use but only under the supervision of a doctor or naturopath. It can be combined or used in alternance with organic borage oil.
Organic evening primrose oil should be favored for the way the plant is grown and processed. Organic farming uses natural fertilizers vs. chemicals to promote the growth of the soil and plant; insects and birds are used to prevent diseases vs. insecticides; crops are used in a rotating manner to avoid the growth of weed vs. the use of herbicides. Organic farming guarantees that the plant itself won’t be contaminated by chemicals that we would innavoidably intake or apply on our skin if it was not the case. However, like for any other organic products, always check the ingredients and the origin of the product to ensure it is truly organic.