Overview

Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a plant native to the Americas. Its yellow flowers open at sunset. The oil in its seeds contains omega-6 fatty acids.

Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

People use evening primrose oil for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause symptoms, arthritis, high cholesterol, acne, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse evening primrose oil with other plants or oils that are sources of GLA and omega-6 fatty acids, such as black currant, borage, and flaxseed oil.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Nerve damage caused by diabetes. Research shows that taking evening primrose oil daily for 6-12 months improves symptoms of nerve damage caused by diabetes.
  • Osteoporosis. Taking evening primrose oil with fish oil and calcium seems to decrease bone loss and increase bone density in elderly people with osteoporosis.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • L’asthme. L'huile d'onagre par voie orale ne semble pas améliorer les symptômes de l'asthme.

Likely InEffective for

  • La mastalgie (douleur mammaire). L’huile d’onagre par voie orale ne semble pas réduire les douleurs mammaires.
L'onagre est aussi utilisée à d’autres fins, toutefois, les données fiables sont insuffisantes pour déterminer si elle peut s’avérer bénéfique.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Evening primrose oil is likely safe for most people when taken in doses up to 6 grams daily for up to 1 year. It might cause mild side effects including upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and headache in some people. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other parts of the evening primrose plant are safe or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if evening primrose is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Evening primrose oil is likely safe for most people when taken in doses up to 6 grams daily for up to 1 year. It might cause mild side effects including upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and headache in some people. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other parts of the evening primrose plant are safe or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if evening primrose is safe or what the side effects might be. Pregnancy: Taking evening primrose oil by mouth is possibly safe during pregnancy. Taking up to 4 grams by mouth daily for up to 10 weeks seems to be safe. But until this is confirmed, be cautious. Taking evening primrose oil during the last weeks of pregnancy might delay labor. Don't use this product close to the end of pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: It is possibly safe to take evening primrose oil while breast-feeding, but it's best to check with your healthcare provider first.

Children: Evening primrose oil is possibly safe when taken by mouth in doses up to 6 grams daily. It is also possibly safe when applied to the skin.

Bleeding disorders: Evening primrose oil might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding. Don't use it if you have a bleeding disorder.

Epilepsy or another seizure disorder: Evening primrose oil might make seizures more likely in some people.

Surgery: Evening primrose oil might increase the chance of bleeding during or after surgery. Stop using it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

    Major Interaction

    Do not take this combination

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

    Evening primrose oil might slow blood clotting. Taking evening primrose oil along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Phenothiazines interacts with EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

    Taking evening primrose oil with phenothiazines might increase the risk of a seizure in some people.

  • Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Kaletra) interacts with EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

    Evening primrose oil might decrease how quickly the body breaks down lopinavir / ritonavir. Taking evening primrose oil along with lopinavir / ritonavir might increase the effects and side effects of lopinavir / ritonavir.

  • Lithium interacts with EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

    Evening primrose oil might decrease the levels of lithium in the body. Taking evening primrose oil along with lithium might decrease the effects of lithium.

    Minor Interaction

    Be watchful with this combination

  • Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

    Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Evening primrose oil might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Dosing

Evening primrose oil has most often been used by adults in doses of 2-6 grams by mouth daily for 3-12 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.