flowerEvening Primrose Oil comes from the plant Oenothera biennis, a yellow-flowered plant that can grow to 5 feet, but only lives for 2 years. The more common name of ‘Evening Primrose’ comes from the fact that the flowers open and bloom rapidly in the evening and then wither by noon the next day. The flowers open quite quickly and in large fields can be quite a spectacle.



But the flowers are not where the medicinal properties are contained, it’s actually within the seeds. The seeds contain a high concentration of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is used throughout the body to help control inflammation and assist in properly hormone balancing, as well as other vital functions.



The medicinal properties of EPO have been known for centuries, in fact, EPO was known by another name as far back as the 1700s. It was called King’s-cure-all, supposedly because European Kings used it to calm their wives’ PMS symptoms and remove facial blemishes. “Happy wife, happy life” as they say.



To this day, EPO is still used predominantly for relief from common PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, feelings of depression, irritability, and swelling and bloating from fluid retention. Many women are also using EPO to help relieve hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.



Perhaps the second most common use for EPO is for relief from inflammation symptoms and conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as allergies.



Though there is still on-going clinical research, EPO may also be able to help with such conditions as:



  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • ADHD
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mastalgia, cyclic and non-cyclical


  • We utilize EPO for many purposes. We have found that in individuals who have inflammation in the bowels that it helps calm the digestive tract and increases their ability to consume foods and absorb nutrients.



    We have also seen excellent results in individuals with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis when EPO is used both orally and topically.



    The primary ingredient in EPO that confers these benefits is called gamma-linolenic acid, which is an essential fatty acid technically of the Omega-6 family. Many people have been told that Omega-6 acids are bad, but that is not entirely true. The body needs to maintain a healthy balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 and most individuals consume far too many Omega-6 fatty acids and subsequently have too few Omega 3. The most common sources of Omega 6 are from beef and dairy which contain arachidonic acid, a contributor to inflammation.



    Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, while an Omega 6, is actually beneficial and is used to make anti-inflammatory compounds in the body and calm the immune system.



    veggiesThough there is some controversy surrounding the actual effectiveness of GLA and EPO, with some conservative sources warning that the benefits of EPO have not been conclusively proven, the facts are that the majority of the studies on EPO and GLA are poorly designed and contain only a handful of individuals. EPO continues to be incredibly popular among consumers as well as alternative practitioners because it is effective and it provides relief for many people, despite the fact that laboratory studies produce conflicting results.



    What these studies don’t incorporate, however, are dietary and lifestyle factors. While EPO can help tremendously with many conditions and symptoms, as we have seen and experienced routinely in this center, it is not a miracle pill. In order to maximize benefit, one has to also adopt dietary and lifestyle changes in order to address the root cause of the symptom or disease. Unless these factors are addressed, EPO will at best provide only temporary relief.



    While the majority of people can safely consume EPO in liberal quantities, certain people should seek the consultation of a competent medical professional before using EPO. Individuals with epilepsy or other seizure-related conditions should avoid EPO as it can increase the risk of seizure onset in these individuals. Also, people on certain blood-thinning medications and other prescription drugs should get proper advisement before using EPO.



    Another consideration before purchasing EPO, is that not all EPO is created equally. Make sure that the EPO you are getting was grown organically and that it has been tested for purity from a reliable third-party.



    Otherwise, go enjoy the golden oil of the King’s-cure-all!