Evening primrose oil capsules can offer a number of benefits to people who take them regularly, but some of the most common include managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, alleviating the discomfort of menstruation, and clearing up certain skin conditions like eczema and acne. Not everyone is likely to experience the same benefits, since a lot depends on the individual as well as the nature of the underlying condition. How concentrated the oil is and how often it is taken can also make a difference. Evening primrose oil is derived from the evening primrose plant which means it is “all natural,” but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for everyone, either. Anyone who is considering taking these capsules should usually talk with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss the risks and benefits on a more personal level.
In most places, evening primrose capsules are available over the counter in drug stores and natural food shops, and they’re frequently sold as a dietary supplement. The oil in them is typically derived from the seeds of any variety of evening primrose plant, which is known scientifically as Oenothera. This is a biological genus that includes nearly 150 different varieties of plant, which means that not all capsules are necessarily going to be the same, even those manufactured by the same brand. In most cases this isn’t a health concern, but it can impact the consistency of results over time.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
One of the main benefits of using evening primrose oil capsules is that it can relieve the swelling and pain that comes as a consequence of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is medical condition in which a person’s joints become inflamed, and it can be very painful. Oil capsules can help in some cases because they usually contain high concentrations of GLA, a type of omega-6 fatty acid. This acid has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce swelling and irritation throughout the body.
Women’s Health Issues
The capsules are also popular among women in their reproductive years who are looking for a natural way to relieve menstrual cramps and some of the emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The same anti-inflammatory properties that make the herb useful for rheumatoid arthritis can also help when it comes to the muscular cramps of menstruation. Breast tenderness, cravings for carbohydrates, and intestinal trouble might also be calmed when taking the capsules.
Help With Certain Skin Conditions
Evening primrose oil has also been shown to help reduce flare-ups of certain skin conditions. Some experts recommend breaking the capsules and rubbing a bit of the oil directly on to the affected skin, but depending on the severity of the condition ingesting capsules may deliver similar benefits.
A person living with eczema, for instance, may find that taking evening primrose oil capsules regularly can help to relieve the inflammation and itching associated with this condition. It is particularly effective when the underlying cause of the skin irritation is due to difficulty converting dietary fats into GLA, which is relatively common. Taking the oil capsules as a GLA supplement in these cases will often cure the imbalance and can result in smoother, clearer skin. Acne sufferers are also likely to benefit. The capsules can be taken orally to help reduce the amount of oil being produced in the skin's pores, or spread over the skin, usually at bedtime, then removed with mild soap and water in the morning.
Risks and Precautions
People are often attracted to evening primrose oil because it is “all natural.” This labeling doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safe to use, though, and doesn’t usually guarantee its potency. Results often vary wildly from person to person, too, and there is a risk that by self-treating with herbal supplements a person could miss or overlook a more serious medical condition that may require a more aggressive treatment plan. Anyone who is worried about joint pain, muscular cramps, or persistent skin conditions should usually get medical advice first.
The oil is generally considered safe in small doses, but there are risks for some people, particularly those taking certain prescription medications. Capsules have been known to interact with a number of drugs designed for blood thinning and blood pressure control, and some antipsychotic drugs can also cause potentially life-threatening situations when taken in combination with the oil.