Evening primrose oil is a product with great therapeutic effects for the human body. Its main characteristic is its medicinal potential thanks to its chemical components, where linoleic acid predominates.

In the following article, we present all the information you need to know about this wonderful product of nature.

What is evening primrose oil?

The evening primrose plant , ( oenothera biennis l, oenothera lamarckiana, oenothera lamarkiana ), popularly called common evening primrose , is also known as evening primrose, ass-grass, and primrose . It is a biennial herbaceous species belonging to the evening primrose family, native to North America central and eastern.

Evening primrose was introduced to Europe in the early 17th century as an ornamental plant.

Fun fact: This plant is an integral medicine, used by American Indians for centuries to heal wounds, skin problems and other ailments. But the main potential of this plant lies in its fruit, from which an oil with excellent properties is extracted under cold pressure.

Evening primrose oil properties

The seeds contain various compounds that give it its medicinal properties , among which we can mention:


The literature indicates that evening primrose oil contains vitamin C, known as ascorbic acid , a water-soluble nutrient found in certain foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant , helping to protect cells against free radical damage.

Note: In supplements it may contain vitamin E and vitamin F, to reinforce its therapeutic action on the skin.


Evening primrose oil contains minerals such as potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, which are involved in various functions in the body.

Fatty acids

Between 15-20% of evening primrose oil is made up of essential fatty acids , with a strong presence of compounds derived from linoleic acid , among which is a high content of linoleic acid (70 to 74%), gamma linolenic acid ( 8 to 10%) and oleic (6 to 11%), as well as other saturated fatty acids such as palmitic and stearic. Evening primrose seeds also contain phenolic acids .

These essential fatty acids are pioneers of various cellular mediators for the proper functioning of the body’s cells.

Note: Although many people may have inadequate levels of gamma linolenic acid, there is as yet no consensus on the optimal dose of this nutrient. The literature indicates 3 to 6 grams of evening primrose oil per day, which provides approximately 270–540 mg of FFA per day.

Evening primrose oil benefits

The contributions to the human body are varied, some come from scientific studies carried out and others from their usual practice. Here we present the most relevant:

Improves the effects of premenstrual syndrome

Women with premenstrual syndrome have a relative deficiency of gamma-linolenic acid, which can cause some of the symptoms of this condition.

The investigations are not conclusive in this respect, but in those cases in which its administration has been positive, improvements have been observed in the swelling of the belly, pain and nausea, as well as the sensitivity of the breasts and psychologically it prevents depression and anxiety. irritability . (two)

Regulates insulin levels

Evening primrose oil has proven to be very useful in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy due to its gamma linolenic acid compound, as it maintains insulin levels and prevents the secondary effects of this disease on the nervous system. This is thanks to its content of linoleic acids.

To highlight: Recent research indicates the effectiveness of this compound in the treatment of diabetes.

Lowers cholesterol levels

Although some publications claim that evening primrose oil makes you fat, it contains essential fatty acids of the omega 6 chain, responsible, among other functions, for reducing cholesterol.

Note: The literature indicates that it does this by manipulating serum lipids and lipoproteins so that high-density cholesterol does its job of removing low-density cholesterol from the body.

Promotes blood circulation

Its components help prevent hypercholesterolemia , avoiding the formation of atheromas in the walls of the arteries and thus the appearance of arteriosclerosis.

It can also reduce the appearance of thrombi and reduces damage to the arterial walls caused by diets high in cholesterol.

Strengthens the immune system

Although there is not enough research on this point, its content of vitamin C and its anti-inflammatory properties can contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system in the work of defense against some conditions in the body.

Important fact: It is also used by natural medicine in circulatory problems, thrombophlebitis, arthritis, prostate problems, eczema, among others.

Reduces inflammation and joint pain

Among the autoimmune diseases that affect humans are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which affect the joints. To mitigate the symptoms caused by these pathologies, evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Improves gastrointestinal disorders

In in vitro studies, it has been shown to produce significant inhibition of gastric mucosal damage induced by ligation of the pylorus, drugs, or ulcers. (4)

Prevents neurodegenerative diseases

The literature in this regard has indicated that linoleic and gamma linoleic acids are the main fatty acids in evening primrose oil, and are an essential part of the membrane of human brain cells, being able to prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s. Parkinson.

Note: Anti- inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties are attributed to these , and natural medicine recommends it in some brain pathologies, although there is not enough scientific evidence.

fights osteoporosis

Due to the diversity of minerals contained in the evening primrose seed, especially calcium, as a fundamental element for this condition, it helps in the prevention of this degenerative disease , especially in the menopausal stages of women.

Contributes to weight loss

By substituting the diet of saturated fats for the consumption of unsaturated fats , such as those belonging to the omega 6 chain , where one of its suppliers is evening primrose oil, the reduction of superficial body fat is guaranteed.

Improves respiratory problems

Bronchial asthma is associated with an inflammatory process, characterized by the presence of a high number of T lymphocytes. The gamma linolenic acid contained in evening primrose seeds forms series 3 prostaglandins and series 5 leukotrienes, compounds with anti-inflammatory action.

Improves skin and hair health

Due to its chemical composition, evening primrose oil protects the skin against the action of free radicals and some skin pathologies such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, among others. Evening primrose oil is also used to treat brittle nails.

Highlights: One study showed that gamma linolenic acid, in the form of a particular variety of evening primrose oil, is valuable in the treatment of atopic eczema . 

As for the hair, by favoring the circulatory system, it stimulates blood supply to the entire body , including the scalp and hair follicles, causing better capillary oxygenation.

How is evening primrose oil used and consumed?

Evening primrose oil, to facilitate its consumption , the industry has been in charge of obtaining its oil, and transforming it into some presentations . Here are the most common:

pills and capsules

Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seed , through an industrial process and transformed into soft gelatin capsule supplements, in different presentations. It is recommended that the consumption of these supplements be prescribed by a specialist.

Note: It is usually accompanied by vitamin E, to enhance its antioxidant effect.

Cosmetic products

The cosmetic presentation of evening primrose oil is mostly for topical application on the skin , to treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and also to soften and improve the appearance of the skin.

 Its indication through a specialist is also recommended.

Contraindications and side effects of evening primrose oil

The inadequate consumption of any medicine, whether natural or synthesized, can cause adverse effects . We present below the derivatives of the uncontrolled use of evening primrose oil:

Avoid using and consuming during pregnancy

During the woman’s pregnancy, the use of evening primrose oil is not recommended as it can cause inflammation and complications , due to the presence of gamma linolenic acid in its components.

Avoid combining with anticoagulant drugs

Evening primrose oil should not be consumed in combination with medications such as anticoagulants, antiaggregants or platelets, as they reduce the coagulation capacity of the blood, causing internal bleeding.

It is not recommended in epileptic people

In epilepsy or schizophrenia pathologies, this supplement could increase the risk of seizures , so it is recommended not to consume it.

Can cause stomach upset and headaches

Other adverse symptoms due to excessive consumption of this wonderful product can occur through discomfort in the digestive tract or headaches.

May cause bleeding and allergic reactions

Excessive consumption in patients with bleeding disorders increases the chances of bleeding, and in isolated cases allergic and skin reactions.

Key Conclusions

  • It is an unsaturated essential oil , belonging to the omega 6 chain.
  • Its main active component is gamma linolenic acid with a high content.
  • It is a powerful anti- inflammatory.
  • It belongs to the polyunsaturated acids of the omega 6 chain
  • It is commonly used for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome.
  • Its consumption must be supervised by a specialist.

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