7 Crazy Good Things of Evening
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March 19, 2016

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist









It’s what’s inside that counts - and the active ingredients in
evening primrose oil make this a super-supplement with a
number of popular uses. Evening primrose oil, taken from
the seeds of the evening primrose plant, is a rich source of
omega-6 fatty acids; notably, gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
and linoleic acid. Did you know that thanks to these
components, evening primrose oil is an effective treatment
for premenstrual syndrome, eczema and even osteoporosis?
Find out why GLA is so important, and the other conditions
evening primrose oil helps treat.

What Exactly Is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose is a small plant that is native to the United
States. The technical name for evening primrose is
"oenothera" or "oenothera biennis".  Other common names
for evening primrose are "night willow herb", "fever plant"
and "King's cure-al".  The plant blooms mostly in the
evenings, hence the name.

When Europeans came to North America, they discovered
that Native Americans were using evening primrose plants as
food and as medicine.  The seeds/nuts of the plant were
boiled and eaten or the plant leaves were ground up into a
poultice and used to treat bruises.

A typical evening primrose oil supplement contains 8 percent
GLA and 72 percent linoleic acid, according to 2003 research
from the California College of Podiatric Medicine.

These and other fatty acids are used by the body to make
prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which affect levels of
inflammation and pain in negative and positive ways.
Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds most known fro
causing contractions in pregnant women. Leukotrienes are
compounds most known for causing bronchial constrictions
during
asthma attacks.

Research shows that GLA in evening primrose oil swings the
balance to the positive side, creating beneficial
prostaglandins and leukotrienes and favorably influencing
inflammation.

Why Is GLA in Evening Primrose Oil Important?




































In regular circumstances, your body produces all the GLA it
needs from linoleic acid which is found in foods such as
walnuts, flax seeds or tofu.

But in some cases, the body fails to effectively convert from
linoleic acid to GLA.

Why does this happen? Well, for one thing, we get older.  It
is more difficult to make the conversion when you are older,
when you have eczema, viral infections, diabetes or cyclic
mastitis, and when your fat intake is high and your
cholesterol levels also high. Sound familiar?

In all these cases, evening primrose oil can help to boost
your body's ability to convert linoleic acid.  Evening primrose
also provides the GLA your body is lacking.

In fact, evening primrose oil is between 7 and 10 percent
GLA.

Which Conditions Does Evening Primrose Oil Treat?


Evening primrose oil has long been used to treat a vast array
of conditions. These uses range from treating skin conditions
like acne,
eczema, and psoriasis, to inflammatory conditions
like rheumatoid
arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and mastitis.

Evening primrose oil is also believed to help treat Raynaud’s
syndrome,
intermittent claudication, diabetes nerve damage,
premenstrual tension, and symptoms of
menopause.


Evening primrose oil has not been effectively studied for all
of these conditions, and therefore evidence is weak for some
uses.

But there is no denying that evening primrose oil does have
some crazy good health benefits. We looked at recent
scientific research to find out what exactly these benefits are.

1.
Evening Primrose Oil Relieves Diabetes Nerve Pain

Neuropathy --- nerve pain --- is linked to diabetes.  

Evening primrose oil is an effective treatment when other
conventional treatments have failed to work, according to
2003 research from the California College of Podiatric
Medicine.

But you need to give it time to work. In a 1993 study from
UMDS, London, UK, 111 people suffering from diabetic
neuropathy took 480mg of GLA in the form of evening
primrose oil per day, while others took a placebo.

After 12 months the group taking evening primrose oil
showed significantly fewer symptoms than the placebo
group.

Other studies have shown similarly promising results but
they were small, so further research needs to take place.

2.
Evening Primrose Oil is an Effective Treatment for
Osteoporosis

There is some evidence that a combination of evening
primrose oil, fish oil and calcium helps increase bone density
and decrease bone loss in older people with osteoporosis.
While it is not clear whether evening primrose oil on its own
makes a difference, it does seem beneficial in this
combination.

A 1998 study from the University of Pretoria, South Africa
looked at 65 post-menopausal women who took the
combination or a placebo for 18 months- after this rather
lengthy amount of time, the people taking the fatty acids
treatment had higher bone density and fewer fractures.

3.
Treat Raynaud's Phenomenon with Evening Primrose Oil

Raynaud's phenomenon or disease is a condition associated
with
scleroderma - an autoimmune disease) that causes
numb, cold fingers.

It seems that taking a high dose of evening primrose oils
could reduce Raynaud’s phenomenon symptoms. A 1986
study from the University of Dundee in the UK found that the
GLA in evening primrose oil had a more positive effect on
symptoms than placebo. Larger studies are needed,
however, to check these claims.

4.
Can Evening Primrose Oil Be Used for Treating Mastalgia?

Evening primrose oil used to be cleared as a drug for
treating mastalgia under the brand name Efamast, but the
license was withdrawn after regulators concluded there was
not enough evidence to recommend evening primrose oil for
this use.

Cyclic mastalgia is a condition where the breasts swell
painfully, linked to the menstrual period, and can result in
inflammation and cysts.

Experts believe that evening primrose oil is helpful in treating
breast pain, as it rectifies an imbalance of fatty acids found in
the body of a women suffering from mastalgia.

A 1981 study by Pashby NL, Mansel RE, Hughes LE, et al
found the benefit of evening primrose oil for mastalgia, but
other studies have not replicated these results.

5.
Evening Primrose Oil as a Treatment for Eczema

Evening primrose oil is popularly used for the treatment of
eczema although, again, evidence suggests that the
supplement is not actually very effective for treating this skin
condition.

A 1989 study by the Efamol Research Institute, Woodbridge
Meadows, Guildford found that evening primrose oil
significantly benefited eczema sufferers although the
research was actually carried out by the manufacturers of an
evening primrose oil product.

A 1994 study from the University of Bologna, Italy found 48
children with eczema experienced improvements in eczema
symptoms, but recent research has failed to find the benefit.
Evening primrose oil is perhaps worth a try if you are
suffering from eczema, but it is unlikely to be a quick-fix
savior.

6.
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Syndrome May Be
Treated by Evening Primrose Oil

Fatty acids are essential for the healthy development of brain
function in children, so experts think that supplementing
with evening primrose oil and other fatty acids could help
treat ADHD.

A 2000 trial by Richardson AJ, McDaid AM, Calvin CM, et al
found evidence that fish oil and evening primrose oil
together helped to improve ADHD symptoms, but there was
a high rate of dropouts in the study which will have affected
results.

7.
Evening Primrose Oil for Treating Premenstrual Tension

While many women take evening primrose oil for relieving
symptoms of premenstrual tension like breast tenderness,
irritability, bloating, and depression – and find that the
supplement works well for them – there is actually little
evidence that the supplement makes a difference to PMS.

A 1996 trial by the Queen's University of Belfast in the UK
found little difference between evening primrose oil and
placebo. But that doesn’t stop women all over the country
swearing by this natural PMS remedy.






































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Evening primrose oil reduces nerve
pain associated with diabetes.