Throughout history, essential oils have been known to hold an array of health benefits. Among them, evening primrose has been hailed as an herbal cure-all. Used for a variety of medicinal purposes ranging from weight loss to the treatment of skin conditions, primrose has been a considered a curative staple spanning cultural and generational lines. In addition to use as a medicinal agent, primrose is also edible and was consumed in various manners. Native Americans in some regions of the United States used to consume the leaves and seeds, whereas English settlers opted to plant the seeds and eat the roots. Even with the incredible medical and technological advances of recent years, primrose is still widely used for a variety of functions.
What is Primrose and Primrose Oil?
Evening primrose, of the genus Oenothera, is a plant native to the Americas and Europe. As the name suggests, the flowers of the primrose open in the evening. While the entirety of the plant is technically edible, the seeds are generally what people are after. Primrose seeds contain primrose oil, which is used to treat a variety of conditions, among them fertility issues.
How Is Primrose Oil Used?
There are several possible approaches to using primrose oil. It can be taken as an oral supplement, ingested with food, or incorporated in manufactured products. Primrose oil can be taken orally either as a liquid solution or in capsule form. Popular products containing primrose oil include shampoos, soaps and lotions.
How Does It Work?
Primrose oil is an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids, which the body is incapable of producing on its own. Omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in the growth and development of hormones and cell membranes. Essential fatty acids also contribute to proper neurological function and contribute to healthy growth and development. Since the human body cannot produce these essential fatty acids, they must be obtained through the foods you consume. The omega-6 fatty acids contained in primrose oil also encourage healthy hair, skin and nails.
Fertility Benefits of Evening Primrose
Primrose oil can be beneficial for a vast array of fertility issues, ranging from uterine health to hormonal balance. One of the most common uses for primrose oil is for the relief of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome, including bloating, headaches, irritability and breast tenderness. Several studies have found that using primrose oil can significantly reduce premenstrual syndrome discomfort. The results of four double-blind controlled studies found that individuals using primrose oil experienced fewer headaches, clearer thinking, decreased bloating and felt less irritable and depressed.
Primrose oil has also been found to encourage proper hormonal balance. In addition to omega-6 fatty acids, primrose oil also contains gamma linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which are used in the production of prostaglandins. Primrose oil supplements may help to ensure adequate prostaglandin production, which in turn promotes healthy hormone levels, as prostaglandins are essential for proper hormonal balance.
Primrose oil is often used to increase cervical mucus, especially in individuals with little or no cervical fluid of their own. Healthy cervical mucus is essential for sperm to travel through the cervix with ease. Cervical mucus also provides an alkaline environment for sperm to flourish while traveling to the egg.