‘Oenothera’, commonly known as Evening Primrose or Evening star, is a biennial flowering plant which is found in North America. It is used for various medicinal purposes. Elucidated below is more on the plant’s usage and its side effects in this article.
The generic name Oenothera is derived from Greek words oinos meaning “wine” and thera, which means “to hunt”. The common Oenothera is a biennial plant that gives rise to a bunch of yellow flowers in a cross-like form. These flowers bloom in the evening and stay wide open during the next day; hence, the common name – Evening star. This plant is usually found in the moderate climates of North America. It can also be found in sandy soils on roadways and along railway embankments in Germany.
Formerly, during the Fall, the roots collected were used as vegetables and the seeds which have an aromatic taste, were used as a substitute for coffee during wartime. The other common names of Oenothera are fever plant, sun drop, suncups, night willow herb, King’s cureall, tree primrose, scabish and scurvish.
Beneficial Uses of Evening Primrose
✿ Medical Treatments ✿
Oenothera has way too many medicinal values. It is used to make herbal products, cosmetics, medicines, etc. The oil extracted from the seeds of this plant is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, i.e., essential fatty acids (EFA) like gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linolenic acid. People who have thyroid problems use GLA because of its beneficial reasons. GLA also helps prevent heart disease or stroke. This herb is used for various ailments such as:
✔Joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
✔Cholesterol due to high blood pressure
✔Alzheimer’s-related memory deficiencies
✿ Beauty Treatments ✿
✔ Almost all youngsters, these days, face the most common skin ailment, i.e., acne. This happens due to blockage of pores on the skin, either because of excess oil or dust particles. Redness and other irritations that arise due to acne can be treated by Evening Primrose oil.
✔ A few minutes of this oil’s massage on the nails can prevent them from being brittle and would give them a nourished shine.
✔ A weekly head massage using this oil will keep your scalp clean and would keep hair loss problem, dandruff and dryness at bay.
✿ Oenothera is available in various herbal forms like oils, capsules, dried leaves and flowers.
✿ In adults, a dosage of 3-6 gm/day of this oil is recommended by herbal experts and 1-3 gm/day in children. A minimum of 0.54 gm of GLA is yielded in this process.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has given Oenothera a safety rating of 1; even then, this herb does have possibilities of a few mild side effects.
✔ Side effects include stomach pain, headache, nausea and loose motions.
✔ Overconsumption of this herb could affect the body’s absorption of soluble vitamins (A, K, E).
✔ There have been a few rare cases where intake of this herb has caused seizures.
✔ Pregnant women are not supposed to use this herb, as it may result in uterus contractions. However, Oenothera is used to induce labor before childbirth.
Evening Primrose oil is strictly not advised in case of the medications given below:
✔ Cyclosporine – an immunosuppressant drug used after organ transplants
✔ Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
✔ Medications for schizophrenia
✔ Ceftazidime – an antibiotic
This oil is generally well-tolerated; although, consumption over an extended period should be avoided. Do consult your doctor to find out if you are allergic to this herb.