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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Evening Primrose Oil Q & A

You may already know how important it is to get essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your daily diet. Evening primrose oil is one way to get these essential nutrients. I recommend it for clients who have PMS, oily skin, breakouts, and dermatitises like eczema. It even works as a hangover cure. (Note: although there is some discussion about monthly cycles for women, men, too, can benefit from taking this supplement. In other words, don’t let the talk of periods turn you off from reading this article!)

I started using evening primrose oil capsules and have noticed a great change not only in my skin, but a lessening of symptoms of PMS. I used to get cysts on my jaw and neck area, which I know were hormonal, and since the evening primrose I now only get one small pimple every 3 or 4 months around my period.

Evening primrose oil is not for everyone, but I have seen it work really well for a lot of people. I include that email because it mirrors the experience of many of my clients.

Evening primrose oil can help with the balance of estrogen in the body during menstruation (when estrogen levels naturally lower). It can help to elevate estrogen levels and in some cases eliminate the pain and tension of a woman’s period. I used to take it when I was ovulating, to help lessen the sometimes erratic emotional and physical changes during PMS. Then, by the time my period started, I was feeling more in balance and experienced less pain from cramping.

In your book [Timeless Skin] you recommend evening primrose in capsules for oily or acne skin. I was wondering what milligrams are you talking about per capsule?

I usually get my primrose oil at Whole Foods. I use the 365 brand that are 500mg each. They look like vitamin E capsules, or perhaps a bit bigger. Years ago, evening primrose was a little hard to find. Now there are many brands to choose from. I don’t recommend one brand over another, but I do suggest talking with the people working in the herb department at your local health food store. Ask them which primrose oil would be the best one.

I started taking evening primrose oil, but I’m not sure if it’s really helping my skin. I’ve been taking it for 3 months now. Should I continue, or should I stop taking it?

The thing with evening primrose oil is you may or may not notice a big change. Some people do; they notice a lessening of the oil in general in their skin, or they may even notice their breakouts have diminished—if not in frequency, then in size and number. The essential fatty acids found in evening primrose oil are essential to healthy cells, yet they are hard to get through food. So for me this is reason enough to take evening primrose oil regardless of noticing big results.

When and how many evening primrose capsules do I take? Since it helps PMS, do I only take it during menstruation or should I take it daily?

I recommend experimenting to find out what works for you—especially if you are taking evening primrose oil to offset symptoms of PMS. For problem skin, try 2-4 capsules twice daily and increase if you don’t see any noticeable results. For cramps due to PMS, try 1-2 capsules twice a day from the time you start ovulating, then increase by one or two capsules (3-4 twice daily) until you have finished your monthly cycle. I used to take more on the days I felt the emotional roller coaster that premenstruation can bring.

I have been using evening primrose oil to help with my acne and hormones, and it’s been fabulous. I now want to become pregnant and wonder if I should continue or stop the primrose oil?

I was advised by a doctor that evening primrose oil should be very good to take during pregnancy. He suggested the baby will like it and utilize its nutrients, and fish oils, too (if you take those), to build healthy cell walls. Evening primrose oil should be very good for a growing fetus. Conversely, evening primrose may not be advisable to take if you have or have had cancer because it may help those cells to grow. Please consult with your doctor before taking this or any other supplement.

Evening primrose oil may be contraindicated if you are taking *Premarin® (a common medication taken for hormone replacement therapy after menopause). Because evening primrose oil can help promote the production of natural estrogen, coupling it with the estrogen in Premarin may result in an excess of this hormone. Whether or not you are taking hormones or any other medication, check with your health care practitioner to find out if you should or can take evening primrose oil.
[*As an advocate for animals, please know that Premarin (aka Pregnant mare urine) utilizes horse urine in a way that is inhumane. Don’t believe me? Click here, or simply do an Internet search. There are many articles describing the truth about horse urine collection and the deplorable life of a PMU horse. There are also many alternatives to this unfortunately popular hormone medication.]

Last night I was having a drink with some coworkers and the topic of evening primrose for hangovers came up. Anyone who has tried it now swears by it. Thanks again for that information!

For more information, see:
Ella, a former (now rescued) PMU mare.