Evening primrose grows throughout the United States. Native Americans have been using the seeds of the wildflower for food and have used the plant to make poultices to heal bruises. While this has been the case, the use of evening primrose oil (EPO) as medicine is fairly recent.
The seeds of the plant are where the oil is taken from and it’s rich in fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid. The oil is used to relieve symptoms of PMS as well as some arthritis-related conditions. Given its use in treating different medical conditions, is it truly safe?
List of Advantages of Evening Primrose Oil
1. It is used to treat several conditions.
EPO supplements come in capsule form and they are taken to treat various conditions such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis as well as other skin conditions
- Breast pain during menstruation
Of the four listed above, only research into its use for treating eczema has yielded good results. EPO also contains gamma-linolenic acid and studies have suggested that supplements with such a component can be helpful to those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Although there hasn’t been enough evidence to support its use in treating cancer, EPO has been used as complementary treatments for certain kind of cancers.
List of Disadvantages of Evening Primrose Oil
1. There is limited evidence of its health benefits.
Although EPO does contain an omega-6 essential fatty acid needed for good health, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that taking this essential oil can improve a person’s health. While it’s true that studies have been conducted regarding its usefulness, most of them were small studies which were badly designed.
It is used to treat different kinds of conditions when taken in capsule form, particularly symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or breast pain. However, studies show that there isn’t enough evidence to recommend its use for such conditions.
2. There are certain risks involved when taking EPO.
Although a good number of people can take EPO without feeling any complications, there are some who have reported various side effects, and these include:
- Stomach Upset
There are certain risks in taking EPO among those taking anti-coagulant and anti-platelet medications as it increases the risk of bleeding. The risk of seizes, serious nausea and vomiting is heightened for those who take phenothiazines, which are drugs used for the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
People taking blood pressure medication should also beware as EPO can further drop the pressure. It can also create complications when taken with medication to treat depression.
While the benefits of EPO have been hailed by makers of supplements, it’s still a good practice to ask your doctor before taking it. The last thing you want is for this to cause complications with the medications you are currently taking. That and there is little evidence suggesting that taking EPO and other essential oils are indeed 100% successful in treating various kinds of ailments and conditions.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.