Evening Primrose contains high levels of a polyunsaturated fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is taken for the symptomatic support of skin concerns, especially itchy and irritated skin (but also in cases of pruritus and skin inflammations). It is said to have benefits in irritable bowel syndrome, support of menopausal women, circulatory and rheumatic disorders.
Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis L.
Other Names: Onagre bisannuelle (French); Gemeine Nachtkerze (German); enothera (Italian).
Description: Evening primrose is a biennial or short-lived perennial forming a basal rosette of leaves in the first year, and a sturdy flowering stalk (up to 1.5 m) in the second-year. The large, yellow, tubular flowers open in the evening and are pollinated by moths. Numerous minute seeds are produced in oblong seed capsules (up to 150,000 seeds per plant).
Origin: North America (from Canada to Florida and Mexico). The plant has become a roadside weed in many parts of the world and an important cash crop for the production of evening primrose oil. The total world production of the seed is estimated at 4000 tons.
Parts Used: Seeds (seed oil; Oenotherae biennis oleum).
Therapeutic Category: Nutritional supplement (support for itchy and irritated skin).
Preparation and Dosage: A daily dose of 2 - 3 g is recommended (sometimes as much as 3 - 5 g of oil per day). Capsules are available that contain 0.5 g of oil corresponding to 40 mg of GLA.
Active Ingredients: Seeds contain up to 25% oil, of which about 8-14% is GLA (the rest, 60-80% is linoleic acid).
Health Effects: GLA is one essential fatty acids required by humans to maintain normal body function, because it is a precursor of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid, from which prostaglandins and leucotrienes derive. The latter are hormone-like substances that affect cholesterol levels, dilation of blood vessels and inflammation. Some people (about 10-20% of the population), especially those with neurodermatitis, are apparently deficient in the enzyme that converts linoleic acid to gamma-linoleic acid. Several clinical trials have shown the efficacy of GLA in supporting skin irritations.
Notes: High levels of GLA have also been found in borage and blackcurrant seeds.
Status: Pharm.; WHO 2; clinical studies+.
In recent years this pretty plant has become a focus of medical research. One line of investigation reveals that the plant may have an anti-clotting factor that would make it useful in the reduction of heart attacks caused by thrombosis - the blocking of a blood vessel by a blood clot.
In 1982 the distinguished British medical journal the Lancet published findings that oil of evening primrose might help people suffering from itchy and irritated skin. Another study indicated that the oil might help people suffering from other atopic problems such as asthma and headaches.
In modern herbal approaches the plant mucilage is used in cough supportives to help inhibit coughing and in external preparations to soothe skin eruptions. It is also advocated as an astringent for helping support wounds and as an antispasmodic. The seed oil has been shown to alleviate inflammations in experimental animal studies.
General Herb Information
As daylight wanes, and the evening grows cool, the shiny yellow petals of the evening primose unfurl, and it exudes a perfume that attracts the nocturnal sphinx moth, which pollinates it. By daybreak the flowers have faded, and new blossoms open the next evening.
Habitat: Dry soils; meadows; old fields, roadsides, and other waste places.
Range: A North native, evening primrose is found from Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to Texas and Florida, and west to North Dakota and Idaho.
Identification: An erect biennial herb, growing 3 - 6 feet tall from a rosette of basal leaves during the first year. A hairy stem bears alternate lance-shaped leaves. During the second year showy, yellow, four-petaled flowers (June-October), about 2 inches across, bloom in diminished light or in the dark.
User Group Forum
Share your questions and information with the ZooScape community!
alexander - June 2, 2006, 23:25
what is primrose? and where it comes from?
ZooScape Moderator - June 7, 2006, 15:42
Evening Primrose is also known by the names Primrose, Evening Star, Fever Plant, Night Willow Herb, Scabish, Scurvish, Field Primrose, and German Rampion. Evening Primrose is a plant that is indigenous to North America, but is now found in Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. The parts of this plant used medicinally are the seeds, leaves, oil of the seeds, and root. This plant is called Evening Primrose because its flowers open at night so that they can be pollinated by nighttime insects such as the nocturnal sphinx moth. The genus name Oenothera is derived from "oines", meaning "wine", and "thera", meaning "hunt". Evening Primrose has long been used as a relish for wine, and to dispel the ill effects from drinking too much. Evening Primrose was also known as "King's Cure-All" for at least 500 years.
More Photographs - Evening Primrose Flower - 450 mg
End of More Photographs - Evening Primrose Flower - 450 mg
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