Evening primrose : Health benefits-Interactions


Evening primrose

Evening primrose is a plant that has yellow flowers at night.

Evening primrose oil is extracted from plant seeds. It is usually sold in capsules, which contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Some people take evening primrose oil orally to treat a variety of conditions.

Evening primrose : Health benefits

  • Evening primrose, a beautiful yellow wildflower native to North America, has long been admired for its vibrant blooms. However, its beauty extends far beyond its appearance. Evening primrose is also valued for its numerous health benefits. Rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), evening primrose oil has been used for centuries to alleviate symptoms of various health conditions, including eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

  • Evening primrose, also known as Oenothera biennis, is a plant native to North America. It is named for its beautiful yellow flowers that bloom in the evening. While this plant has been used medicinally for centuries, recent research has shed light on its numerous health benefits. From reducing inflammation to improving skin health, evening primrose oil has become a popular natural remedy.


Some research shows that evening primrose oil may be helpful for specific conditions.

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema).There is some research that suggests oral use of evening primrose oil may not effectively treat eczema, but other research indicates it may be helpful.

  • Diabetic neuropathy.There is not enough research on the use of evening primrose oil to treat this type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes.

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).There is no evidence that oral use of evening primrose oil can treat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Our take


Although evening primrose oil is probably safe for most people to take for short-term use, there is currently no research that supports its use as a treatment for any condition.

Safety and side effects

Oral use of evening primrose oil for a short period of time (up to four weeks) is probably safe.

Evening primrose oil can cause:

  • Upset stomach

  • Headache

Do not take evening primrose if you have a bleeding disorder. Taking the supplement orally might increase your risk of bleeding. If you are planning to have surgery, stop taking evening primrose two weeks beforehand.

Don't take evening primrose if you have epilepsy or schizophrenia. The supplement might increase your risk of seizures.

People who take evening primrose oil might have more pregnancy complications.


Possible interactions include:

  • Herbs and supplements that contain anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs can help prevent blood clots.Herbs and supplements that reduce blood clotting can be taken orally, but combining them with evening primrose oil might increase the risk of bleeding.

  • Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates.If you're taking a drug that is affected by these enzymes, such as lovastatin (Altoprev), use evening primrose cautiously.

  • Lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra).This combined medication is used to treat the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Evening primrose oil might slow down how quickly this medication is broken down in the body.

  • Phenothiazines.Taking evening primrose oil along with these drugs used to treat serious mental and emotional disorders might increase the risk of seizures in some people.

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