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5 Reasons to Include Evening Primrose Oil in Your Life

5 Reasons to Include Evening Primrose Oil in Your Life

Published: 6 February, 2024 | 4'

What is evening primrose oil?

evening primrose oil plant

Evening primrose (Oenotheria biennis), also known as "rosa del atardecer" (derived from its English term "evening primrose"), owes its name to the peculiarity of its flowers opening in the late afternoon and remaining in this state throughout the next day.

This plant is native to tropical climates in North and South America, where it has been used for centuries by Native Americans to prepare infusions for skin conditions.

Various parts of the evening primrose plant are used, such as the leaves, stem, and root. However, it is the seed that plays an essential role in obtaining evening primrose oil, which is extracted by cold-pressing the seeds and obtaining approximately 20% oil.

Evening primrose oil is mainly composed of a high content of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, primarily linoleic acid (LA, 70-74%) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 8-10%)1. Linoleic acid belongs to the omega-6 group, while GLA belongs to the omega-3 group.

5 reasons to take evening primrose oil

The fatty acids contained in evening primrose oil play a significant role in multiple metabolic reactions and have essential functions in the human body. Here are some reasons to include evening primrose oil in your diet:

  • Metabolic well-being

The fatty acids in evening primrose oil play an important role in the synthesis of molecules known as prostaglandins. These compounds participate in numerous metabolic pathways, including the regulation of the effects of female hormones in the menstrual cycle and the control of normal skin oil production.

  • Maintenance of normal skin

The high content of fatty acids in evening primrose oil supports the lipid structure of the skin, especially the skin barrier, and provides normal skin hydration. EFSA (ON HOLD 1550) states that Oenotheria biennis contributes to the maintenance of normal skin.

  • Relief of premenstrual syndrome

A high percentage of women of reproductive age report experiencing premenstrual symptoms (up to 85%)2.

Evening primrose oil, according to EFSA ON HOLD (693,694,1551), contributes to the relief of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle.

  • Cognitive performance

A balanced diet provides the appropriate amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids that maintain good cognitive performance, and including evening primrose oil can support this.

  • Cardiovascular well-being

Essential fatty acids play an important role in lipid profile, with omega-3 fatty acids having shown to reduce triglyceride and LDL levels and increase HDL levels.

A study conducted by Khorshidi, M. et al. in 2020 found that supplementation with evening primrose oil supported cardiovascular well-being in subjects with elevated lipid levels3.

Use of evening primrose oil in women

Evening primrose oil can be used to relieve certain conditions that affect women, including premenstrual syndrome.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that affects women of reproductive age between the ovulation period and the start of the menstrual phase in each cycle. It appears mildly in around 20-60% of women who experience it and more severely in approximately 5% of the female population4.

During this phase, physiological and psychological changes occur that can influence the affected individual's family, work, or personal life, including fatigue, irritability, oily skin, headaches, among others.

A study conducted by Jaafarnejad F. in 2017 found that including evening primrose oil in the diet provided relief during premenstrual syndrome due to its high fatty acid content5.

How to take evening primrose oil

Including foods with a high content of linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid in the diet, such as cereals, whole grain bread, or liver, promotes overall cardiovascular well-being. Evening primrose oil in food supplements, due to its gamma-linolenic acid content, also supports cardiovascular well-being, especially in maintaining blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Evening primrose oil in food supplements can be taken in various formats, such as liquid form as a dressing for salads or soups, or in capsules, which are recommended to be taken preferably before meals.

Is it suitable for all ages?

The inclusion of food supplements like evening primrose oil is recommended for individuals over 18 years of age. However, in cases where there is doubt about administration in individuals under 18 years of age, it is essential to consult a specialist before consumption.


Evening primrose oil is generally well-tolerated, and discomfort rarely occurs. The most frequent side effects include gastrointestinal discomfort and headaches.

If using dietary supplements containing evening primrose oil, it is recommended to follow the instructions provided on the packaging. In addition, its use is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation, and consultation with a specialist is necessary.


Content written and reviewed by the specialists of MARNYS Scientific Information Department. This article is informative and does not replace the consultation of a specialist.