Evening primrose or Oenothera biennis is a common plant found in the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and South America. It is basically a wild flower that belongs to the genus Oenothera. The plant looks quite similar to English primrose, and its blossoms usually open in the evening, justifying the name, ‘evening primrose’.
The blossoms are usually yellow, pink, or red in color, while the seeds are reddish-colored. This flowering plant has been known for a long time as a herbal remedy for a number of ailments, including infections of the respiratory tract, digestive problems, and acne.
The seeds of this plant are used to extract the evening primrose oil. This oil is incredibly rich in essential fatty acids, like linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, which belong to the family of omega-6 fatty acids. Most of the health benefits of this oil can be attributed to the presence of these essential fatty acids.
Traditionally, this oil has been used as a remedy for respiratory infections and digestive problems. It is also known to improve the absorption of insulin, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, alleviate skin diseases and premenstrual syndrome, increase fertility, and regulate weight.
Curing Acne with Evening Primrose Oil
Acne is a common skin problem that can be caused by several factors, including a wrong diet or wrong eating habits, hormonal imbalance, and stress. Acne develops when the skin pores get clogged due to the secretion of excess oil or sebum. This can cause the bacteria present on the skin to get trapped inside the pores. This in turn, causes inflammation, redness, and infections, which usually accompany acne and pimples.
As evening primrose oil is rich in essential fatty acids, it can prove quite beneficial in reducing the inflammation caused by acne. It has been found that the lack of essential fatty acids in the body can aggravate the problem of acne. Being a rich source of linoleic and gamma-linolenic acid, the oil extracted from the evening primrose plant can help control acne.
This oil can also help restore hormonal balance in the body, which is the reason why it is used to alleviate premenstrual syndrome. It can also help control the frequent acne flare-ups that occur during or a few days before menstruation due to hormonal imbalance.
Evening Primrose Oil for Skin Care
It can be taken internally or applied topically to treat acne. Generally, the oil extracted from the organically grown plants is considered more beneficial for acne treatment. To take this oil internally, you can follow the instructions given by a health care professional, or those mentioned on the label of the product. Apart from acne, this oil can be used for other skin problems, like eczema, dry skin conditions, and psoriasis.
The topical application of the oil extracted from the evening primrose plant is generally considered safe, but its ingestion can cause a few side effects in some individuals. Some of the common side effects of this oil are, headaches, an upset stomach, low blood pressure, and seizures. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are usually advised to avoid this oil. Similarly, people allergic to gamma-linolenic acid should avoid this oil, or talk to a health care provider before using it.