An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis - family: Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family).
This annual or biennial plant grows to about five feet high. It has toothed
lance-shaped leaves. In the summer it produces large scented bowl-shaped
yellow flowers which open in the evening. The flowers are followed by capsules
(fruits) that enclose many tiny seeds. Traditional Native American use of
leaves, stems and roots as a food source. American folk use of roots as
a cooked vegetable. Traditional Native American use of seeds as a remedy
for menstrual problems and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Traditional Native
American use of roots in a poultice for bruises. The seeds are compressed
to yield evening primrose oil. This oil is a modern American folk remedy
for asthma, attention deficit disorder, coughs, digestive problems, eczema,
coronary heart disease, coughs and multiple sclerosis. Modern American folk
use of oil as a possible remedy for atherosclerosis, attention deficit disorder
(ADD), Alzheimer's disease, lupus, prostate problems, osteoporosis, vaginal
yeast infections and for treating the discomforts of menopause. Primrose
oil may possibly help slow down the aging process and may be useful in dealing
with memory loss. The essential oil may also be useful in the treatment
of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy (a loss of feeling in extremities such
as toes). Evening primrose oil contains a substance called gamma-linoleic
acid (GLA). GLA has been found recently to be useful in the treatment of
pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis.
Note: do not use during menstruation periods: it may increase the flowrate.
Note: may interfere with the action of anti-coagulation prescription drugs.
Note: do not take if you have epilepsy. Native to eastern and central North
America. Naturalized in California. Cultivated as an ornamental in North
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Web page last updated on 21 May 2003.