Evening primrose oil: 7 effects + 5 uses of the natural remedy

It soothes dry skin, fights acne and relieves menopausal symptoms: evening primrose oil. The natural remedy is becoming increasingly popular in cosmetics and research – and rightly so. Here you can find out what evening primrose oil does and how to use it correctly.

Interesting facts about evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil is made from the seeds of the common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis). The species, which belongs to the evening primrose family, originally comes from North America. There it had long been known as a proven remedy for skin problems before the plant found its way to Europe 300 years ago .

The plant with the beautiful yellow flowers now even grows on roadsides. It owes its unusual name to a special characteristic: the evening primrose only opens its delicate, yellow flowers at dusk . The petals , which give off a sweet smell , glow like candles in the dark .

The evening primrose is known almost exclusively for its precious oil. The green and the roots of the plant can also be consumed. But the seeds in particular are valuable for health: They contain, among other things, the valuable gamma-linolenic acid . This fatty acid is rarely found in plant foods. To produce evening primrose oil, the seeds of the plant are gently pressed.

Ingredients of evening primrose oil

There are numerous valuable ingredients in the seeds of the evening primrose. Most of the health-promoting effects of the medicinal oil are due to the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid linolenic acid . Evening primrose oil contains up to 80 percent linolenic acid. Because of its effects, this active ingredient is not a rare ingredient in skin care products. This fatty acid has an anti-inflammatory effect and strengthens the skin barrier.

In addition, there is also a considerable amount of gamma-linolenic acid in the oil – to be precise, around 12 percent . This omega-6 fatty acid, which is also unsaturated, plays an important role in health. For example, it is responsible for maintaining brain functions. In addition, it is said to have positive effects on diseases such as neurodermatitis or high blood pressure.

Also responsible for the beneficial effects of evening primrose oil is the oleic acid it contains . This monounsaturated fatty acid is said to prevent skin irritation and dry skin .

In addition, the essential vitamin E is found in the oil of the evening primrose. The antioxidant vitamin fulfills extremely important functions in your body. It protects against premature skin aging, makes the skin resistant and protects against UV rays.

Equally noteworthy are the polyphenols in evening primrose oil. This secondary plant substance prevents fat deposits in the vessels and has an anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, polyphenols are said to have a positive effect on the course of Alzheimer’s.

Healing effects of evening primrose oil

Whether used internally or externally: evening primrose oil can really do something good for your skin. It works for acne, skin diseases and itching. But the natural remedy is also said to provide relief for menstrual problems and menopausal symptoms.

To protect the skin

For a healthy and beautiful skin we need a stable protective function . Our skin consists of different layers, whereby the outer one – the epidermis – can be divided into further layers. The horny layer is on the outside . It has the demanding task of protecting the skin from environmental influences by means of a barrier function. The linolenic acid in evening primrose oil ensures a stable skin barrier. It is an important component of the ceramides – and these in turn are components of the horny layer. Linolenic acid keeps the skin elastic and resistant .

Against pimples and acne

Everyone knows them and has had to deal with them at some point in their life: pimples . The unsightly inflammations, especially on the face, are caused, among other things, by an overproduction of sebum and keratinization of the skin. As a result – and as a result of negative environmental influences – the pores become clogged over time. First only blackheads, these can become inflamed over time and become pimples. Acne is often caused by hormonal imbalances that can trigger an imbalance in the skin’s fatty layers.

On the one hand, evening primrose oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on irritated skin. On the other hand, thanks to its omega-3 fatty acids, the oil can regulate fat metabolism . Evening primrose oil has a calming, anti-inflammatory effect and prevents pimples and acne.

For neurodermatitis

Unfortunately, little is known about the causes of neurodermatitis, a non-infectious skin disease. It is possible that neurodermatitis patients suffer from a lack of a certain enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for converting omega-6 fatty acids , in this case linoleic acid, to the important gamma-linolenic acid.

Evening primrose oil naturally contains this fatty acid. Therefore, it is fed directly to humans when the oil is consumed. This could explain why neurodermatitis patients respond so well to evening primrose oil. Although there is still no scientific evidence for this effect, numerous sufferers report enormously positive changes . Doctors are now also recommending a cure with the valuable oil in addition to therapy.

Evening primrose oil is said to counteract typical symptoms such as extreme itching, redness and dandruff. In addition, dry skin is better supplied with moisture.

Against dry skin

Evening primrose oil is a natural remedy for dry skin. It is not without reason that the natural product is found in numerous creams and other care products. This is because linoleic acid is an important component of the skin’s own ceramides . These in turn are involved in building the top layer of skin, i.e. the epidermis. They therefore have the important task of maintaining our protective skin barrier.

Linoleic acid from evening primrose oil is therefore involved in preventing the skin from losing moisture. A treatment with the oil can be particularly valuable for very dry skin.

Against wrinkles

Young skin, on which the first wrinkles appear early, often suffers from dryness . The linoleic acid in evening primrose oil can regulate the skin’s moisture balance and prevent excessive loss of moisture. This increasing protection of the skin barrier can iron out small wrinkles and restore the skin’s natural elasticity.

In addition, vitamin E is also considered a real anti-wrinkle miracle . As an antioxidant, the vitamin protects the cells from negative environmental influences , such as UV rays. It also stabilizes the collagen and elastin contained in the skin.

For PMS and menopausal symptoms

Premenstrual Syndrome , or PMS for short, is an agonizing phase for many women. It is often accompanied by stomach and headaches, tiredness and depressive moods. While there is still no scientific evidence, there are indications that evening primrose oil improves symptoms . The phytohormones contained in the oil are said to have a regulating effect on the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. The evening primrose oil is said to be able to stabilize the menstrual cycle .

As far as the effects on symptoms of menopausal symptoms are concerned, the scientific community is somewhat unanimous. During this phase, women often suffer from severe hot flashes and feelings of tension in the breasts. These unpleasant side effects are mostly caused by hormonal fluctuations . This includes, among other things, the lowering of estrogen levels.

The sometimes painful breast tension can be triggered if there is too little gamma-linolenic acid in the body. Evening primrose oil, with its abundance of gamma-linolenic acid, can remedy this problem while presumably balancing hormones.

There are also studies that have been carried out on women who are going through the menopause. The women received two capsules of evening primrose oil a day and were observed for weeks. At the end of the study, the symptoms, especially breast tenderness , were significantly reduced. In addition, the women reported more life energy . In order to achieve an effect like this, the evening primrose oil, which is best in capsule form in this case, must be taken for about 15 weeks .

For dogs

Not only we humans can benefit from the health benefits of evening primrose oil. The same applies to our pets , such as cats and dogs. Because even they are not always spared from skin rashes and allergies . The healing oil of the evening primrose has a similar effect here as it does for us. You can mix it with the feed or apply it pure to the affected areas. The natural product has hardly any side effects and is harmless, even if the animal licks it.

For example, evening primrose oil reduces severe itching caused by a parasite infestation and is said to make the animal’s hair more beautiful.

Possible side effects of evening primrose oil

Thanks to its naturalness, side effects from evening primrose oil are extremely rare and only occur in isolated cases. It can cause headaches and digestive problems , such as nausea, among other things. If one of these cases occurs, it is usually not a problem. However, if the symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor. The same goes for people who take certain medications . If you are dependent on anticoagulants, for example, a brief consultation with your doctor is recommended.

Taking evening primrose oil during pregnancy is still controversial. The US Department of Health, for example, warns of possible complications . Some experts say the oil is safe to take while pregnant. External use, for example for personal hygiene, should generally not be dangerous. If you are unsure, it is best to speak to your doctor or refrain from using it for the time being.

Applications of evening primrose oil

Regardless of whether you decide to use the natural remedy externally or internally: be patient . Visible results usually only appear after a few weeks . In body care, however, the first improvements can actually occur after just a few applications.

Drink evening primrose oil

One form of internal use is drinking evening primrose oil. This variant is perfect for anyone planning a cure with the remedy. The healthy ingredients reach the stomach and intestines first. There they can be ingested and used to treat conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease.

For the pure version, you should choose a fixed time of the day to take a teaspoon of evening primrose oil. You repeat this regularly every day until the first improvements appear after a few weeks. Admittedly, swallowing pure oil is not easy for everyone. If this applies to you, you should better use it for cooking.

For cooking

Whether in dressings, in salads or to refine soups : evening primrose oil can be a delicious ingredient in numerous dishes. This variant is also suitable for a cure. However, you should always pay attention to the correct dosage and never heat the oil. If the temperature is increased, the valuable ingredients can be destroyed. Incidentally, both the roots and the greens of the evening primrose can be eaten.


One of the most popular uses of evening primrose oil is definitely swallowing capsules. It is ideal for a long-term cure because the capsules are already precisely dosed. You can find them in pharmacies as well as in drugstores. In any case, first familiarize yourself with the package leaflet before you take the capsules. Under no circumstances should you exceed the recommended daily dose, otherwise side effects such as nausea or digestive problems could occur.


Direct application to the skin is just as beneficial as taking it internally. There are now quite a few creams on the market that are based on evening primrose oil. These creams are particularly suitable for dry, cracked or inflamed skin . Make sure that the cream is enriched with other valuable active ingredients. Moisturizers such as aloe vera , almond oil or shea butter are the perfect complement to the oil. By the way, evening primrose oil is given in creams labeled ” Oenothera Biennis Oil “. The cream is also effective against joint inflammation such as arthritis.

Use pure externally

Of course, you can also apply the oil of the evening primrose directly to the skin. In this way, it can fight pimples and small wrinkles , among other things. For skin care, apply the oil thinly to the affected area and massage it in gently. You will see that it is absorbed into the skin extremely quickly.

If you want to combat severe dandruff, there is a little trick: First you dip a cotton pad in some oil and then place it on the affected area. After about an hour you can easily remove the cotton pad and the scales from the skin.

There is also a special application for the targeted treatment of large-scale dandruff. To do this, dip a clean cotton cloth in a mixture of lukewarm water and evening primrose oil . You then place the cloth on the body parts like a wrap. Incidentally, evening primrose oil is also wonderfully suitable as a nourishing bath additive .

Buy evening primrose oil

The quality of the oil ultimately determines how the ingredients work. The most important thing is that you only buy cold- pressed oil . Due to the gentle production, all important ingredients are preserved. An organic seal also indicates good quality. In order to receive this seal, the manufacturers have to comply with strict guidelines and, among other things, refrain from using artificial additives.

Don’t be surprised if you buy a good quality evening primrose oil and it seems oddly colored – the oil is naturally cloudy . So that the nutrients are not lost, you should always store your oil in a cool and dark place and protect it from direct sunlight. Also, you shouldn’t expose the oil to too much oxygen, which will spoil it faster. To prevent this from happening, it is worth buying small bottles.


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