Evening primrose oil, EPO
Evening primrose is a plant native to North America, but it grows in Europe and parts of the southern hemisphere as well. It has variations of white, pink, purple and yellow flowers that bloom in the evening. Evening Primrose contains the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid or (GLA) also known as omega-6 fatty acid.
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health, but the body cannot produce them. You consume them through your food. Along with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, normal growth and development. As a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), omega-6s help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and maintain the reproductive system according to Mount Sinai health systems.
The NIH and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health tells us Native Americans used the whole plant to heal bruises and its roots for hemorrhoids. The leaves were traditionally used for minor wounds, gastrointestinal complaints and sore throats.
Today, people use Evening primrose oil dietary supplements for a variety of conditions such as eczema, arthritis, atopic dermatitis, diabetes, female reproductive system disorders, premenstrual syndrome, breast pain and many menopausal symptoms.
Evening primrose oil has many benefits including anti-inflammatory properties and can help correct omega-6 essential fatty acid deficiency, improves vasodilator eicosanoid synthesis, enhances nerve blood flow and nerve conduction velocity deficits in diabetes.
There are many benefits to adding evening primrose to your diet; however, there can be a few contraindications such as being on certain types of blood-thinning medications or long term use of primrose oil with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Talk to your healthcare professional before adding any supplement to your daily regime.