Evening Primrose, the women’s plant
Published: 15 June, 2015 - Updated: 5 April, 2021 | 2'
What is Evening Primrose and what is it used for?
Evening primrose (Oenethera biennis), also called primrose, comes from the Greek “Oïnos” (wine) and “Ther” (wild animal). An old legend used to attribute to this plant the property of taming wild animals provided it had been previously macerated in wine.
The Evening Primrose plant and its seeds have been used by Native Americans for centuries. They used the plant as an infusion in hot water for wounds, skin problems and even respiratory problems. Evening primrose only made its appearance in Europe in the 18th century.
This plant grew near the ports where the earth mounds were unloaded; then it slowly spread throughout Europe. At first, the flowers were used to decorate embankments and railways. Later, evening primrose was used for its therapeutic virtues.
On the American continent it was used for its strong smell, for example, hunters rubbed their shoes with evening primrose to hide their own smell and thus they could more easily approach the animals.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF EVENING PRIMROSE OIL
From evening primrose seeds, after a first cold pressing, a rare and valuable oil extremely rich in essential fatty acids (EFA) is obtained. Evening primrose contains mainly linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid. These fatty acids are called essential because our body is not able to produce them by itself, so they must be included in our diet every day.
Essential fatty acids play a key role in our body: they provide energy, isolate the nerves, help maintain body temperature, are part of cellular structures and are important for metabolism. In addition, from them, very important molecules called prostaglandins are produced in the body.
What are prostaglandins?
Prostaglandins, which are biologically very active compounds, are found in most kinds of cells and are important regulators that contribute to the maintenance of the functions of different body organs. Prostaglandins, for example, play a key role in the process of hemostasis (stopping a bleeding process).
Prostaglandins have the following effects:
- Regulate tear and salivary secretion.
- Help the normal functioning of our defense or immune system.
- Control the normal production of fat in the skin.
EVENING PRIMROSE FOR MENSTRUAL CYCLE DISCOMFORT
Many researches and studies carried out in the last 20 or 30 years in different countries show the benefits of evening primrose in the menstrual cycle discomfort. This menstrual period causes a lot of discomfort: abdominal bloating, increased bleeding and excessive flow, headaches, vomiting, general bloating, irritability with mood swings, anxiety crises, depression, anxiety, among others.
EFSA ON HOLD statements (693, 694, 1551, 695, 1550) note that evening primrose “contributes to the relief of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle and to the maintenance of normal skin”.