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What's the Deal With Evening Primrose Oil?

What's the Deal With Evening Primrose Oil?

Who would guess that a pretty wildflower contains oils, let alone essential fatty acids? Native to North American, the oil of evening primrose contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid necessary for growth and development that can be hard to come by in a regular diet.


Evening primrose oil has been used since the 1930s to treat eczema, an itchy skin condition. More recently, it has been used to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis, as well as hormonal issues we ladies have to deal with, like PMS, breast pain, and menopausal issues.

According to the National Institute of Health's Center for Complementary Medicine, the oil from this little flower provides "moderate benefits" for eczema, but the rest of the health claims are a bit sketchy. The studies on arthritis and PMS showed some benefits, but unfortunately the studies were small and poorly designed. Prominent alternative medicine doctor Andrew Weil feels that evening primrose oil works effectively to decrease inflammation, and says it takes about six to eight weeks to feel the effects after adding the oil to your diet in supplement form.

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