Evening Primrose has been used all over the world as a food source and medicine throughout history. The Native Americans boiled and ate the root of this herb while also using it as a paste to heal bruises and hemorrhoids. Today, evening primrose is still used for food and medicine to help a variety of ailments.
Botanical Name and Family of Evening Primrose
Primrose is known botanically as Oenothera biennis and belongs to the Primulaceae family. Some common names for this herb include Common primrose, English primrose, Fever plant, Kings-Cure-All, Sun Drop, and Sun Cup.
What Is Evening Primrose?
Evening primrose is a tall biennial plant that is native to North America. The pale yellow flowers, as well as the leaves, are edible and have a lettuce-like flavor.
The flowers and seeds are harvested during full bloom and used for teas and oils. The leaves and roots can be frozen or eaten immediately, while the entire plant can be collected and dried for herbal teas.
Active Ingredients Found in Evening Primrose
Evening primrose contains a volatile oil which is extracted from the seeds. The seeds contain essential fatty acids (EFA) gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linolenic acid, which are both considered omega-6 fatty acids. These EFAs have been found to improve heart health, promote the utilization of insulin, and regulate mood.
Health Benefits of Evening Primrose
As history suggests, evening primrose and its oil can heal a variety of ailments, but it wasn’t until recently that evening primrose oil was used for its exceptional health benefits. It might come as a surprise to know about the impact it can have on your skin, bones, hormones, and overall health.
The oil from the leaves and seeds are used in creams and salves to relieve itchy and irritated skin conditions like eczema and acne. This herb is also used for premenstrual syndrome, cramps, and menopausal symptoms. Evening primrose can also be a useful plant for weight loss and reducing symptoms associated with diabetes.
There is also reason to suggest that evening primrose can serve as an herbal remedy for heart disease, breast cancer, hay fever, stomach ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Different Ways to Consume Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose is available in the herbal form of dried leaves and flowers, as well as an oil and supplement. It is most commonly used in the supplemental form.
Side Effects of Evening Primrose
Although evening primrose is considered safe for most people, some might experience mild side effects including upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. With that being said, make sure you speak to your doctor before considering to add evening primrose to your daily diet.
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Demir N, Gungor AA, Nadaroglu H, Demir Y. The antioxidant and radical scavenging activities of Primrose (Primula vulgaris). Pelagia Research Library European Journal of Experimental Biology, 2014, 4(2):395-401