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Evening Primrose Oil and its Benefits

GLA, the primary active ingredient in EPO, has anticancer activity in test tube studies and in some, but not all, animal studies. Injecting GLA into tumors has caused regression of cancer in people in preliminary research. Preliminary evidence in people with cancer suggested “marked subjective improvement,” though not all studies find GLA helpful. Evening primrose oil (EPO) contains the essential unsaturated fatty acids linoleic and gamma-linoleic acid. The latter is thought to be helpful in restoring the body’s natural balance of fatty acids.

The evening primrose contains an essential fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA). The body does not produce essential fatty acids so the must be ingested through food. GLA and omega-3 fatty acids together produce a second type of prostaglandin, called E1. This type of prostaglandin helps reduce inflammation and aids in digestion.

Evening Primrose Oil or EPO lowers cholesterol, helps to alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms and aids in the production of fertile quality cervical fluid. Evening Primrose Oil or EPO does a world of good in treating aliments of all sorts. Evening Primrose Oil or EPO is an essential fatty acid that contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA). This gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is converted to a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin E1 which has anti-inflammatory properties and may also act as a blood thinner and blood vessel dilator. These anti-inflammatory properties of evening primrose oil help people suffering from pains, aches and cramps.

Evening primrose oil is also believed to help alleviate cramps associated with pre-menstrual symptoms, though this has yet to be scientifically proven. Eating fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon and herring, and using safflower, sunflower and rapeseed oils in cooking is the first step to increasing your intake of these acids.


EPO has been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of conditions. Evening primrose oil (EPO) contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is felt to be the active ingredient. EPO has been studied in a wide variety of disorders, particularly those affected by metabolic products of essential fatty acids. However, high-quality evidence for its use in most conditions is still lacking.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – has been shown to eradicate swollen abdomen and breast discomfort as well as reducing irritability and depression.

Eczema and other skin disorders – available on prescription for eczema Psoriasis may be helped by EPO and Fish Oils.

Cholesterol and Blood Pressure – has been shown to reduce high serum cholesterol and blood pressure, but may take several weeks or longer to achieve. EPO is also reputed to assist in circulation, high blood pressure, the reduction of cholesterol and the maintenance of healthy arteries ­ all major factors in the prevention of heart disease. Again it is the GLA content of the oil that is thought to be responsible. Modern western lifestyle habits such as smoking, dietary errors and lack of exercise may lead to a reduction of prostaglandins which are needed to maintain a normal healthy cardiovascular system. The addition of GLA rich Primrose Oil may reduce the tendency of the blood to clot abnormally and may also effectively reduce cholesterol.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – One common use for evening primrose and borage oil is for relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis—the kind that produces inflamed joints (as opposed to osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the joints). There is some preliminary evidence that it may help, and the Arthritis Foundation considers it worth trying for rheumatoid arthritis. But you should talk to your doctor first. Fish oil supplements are another option. sufferers have discontinued use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs after supplementation, but it is more effective when taken in conjunction with fish oils.

Alcoholism – may make withdrawal easier, and reduce post-drinking depression.

Immune System – low levels of essential fatty acids may stop the action of interferon, and body’s natural virus killer.

Today, evening primrose seed oil (EPO) is used primarily to relieve the itchiness associated with certain skin conditions (such as eczema) and to ease breast tenderness from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or other causes.

Other conditions for which EPO is currently under scientific investigation and may prove beneficial include breast cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, stomach ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis). While some test tube and animal studies seem promising, it is much too early to tell if EPO is helpful or harmful for these conditions.


Evening primrose oil appears to be safe. Stomach upset, headaches, and rashes have been reported as side effects. None of these are fatal, of course.