Source: The Amazing Healing Powers of Nature, Reader’s Digest
Evening primrose oil can help decrease and prevent inflammation
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)’also referred to as sun drop, night willow herb, fever plant and king’s cure-all’is a popular natural home remedy for a variety of conditions; it’s particularly useful for its anti-inflammatory abilities.
Here’s how it works: the minuscule seeds of the evening primrose grow inside a seedpod attached to the flower. These tiny seeds yield a fat-rich oil that seem to be good news for sufferers from cyclical breast tenderness, eczema, diabetes-related nerve damage or dry eyes.
How could one substance help so many different conditions? The answer is that the body converts a fat in evening primrose seeds’gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)’into a chemical that soothes inflammation in many different types of tissue, from breasts to eyes and beyond.
How to use evening primrose oil
Evening primrose oil is available in health food stores and by prescription. The daily dose depends on why you’re taking it: for breast tenderness try 3000 to 4000 milligrams a day; for dry eyes due to Sjögren’s syndrome, 15 milligrams twice a day; for diabetes-related nerve damage, 360 to 480 milligrams a day; for eczema, 3000 milligrams a day.
Maintaining a healthy diet rich in magnesium, zinc and vitamins C, B3 and B6 will help your body use GLA.
Modern research and studies on evening primrose oil
Verdicts from scientific studies of evening primrose oil’s effects aren’t unanimous: some have confirmed benefits, others haven’t. Experts say it could be that you have to take the oil for several weeks or months to see results, or that it simply helps some people more than others.
For example, evening primrose oil may reduce the breast tenderness and swelling that happens in the second half of the menstrual cycle’it seems to help by protecting breast tissue from the effects of shifting hormone levels. But it doesn’t seem to help breast discomfort that’s not related to menstrual-cycle hormone shifts.
The oil seems to boost levels of soothing, anti-inflammatory compounds in natural tears. In 2 studies from the University of Glasgow and Guy’s Hospital in London, both conducted in 1993, people with diabetes-related nerve damage obtained some relief with daily doses of evening primrose oil’but only if their blood glucose was under control.
Evening primrose supplements reduced the swelling, itching, crusting and redness of eczema in some tests as well’but, again, not all studies have found a benefit. And taking capsules of the oil eased eye problems such as burning, dryness and light sensitivity in people with Sjögren’s syndrome (an auto-immune disorder) in an Italian study from the University of Messina, carried out in 2005.