Evening Primrose

  • Margaret B. Artz
Part of the Forensic Science and Medicine book series (FSM)


Evening primrose oil (OEP) is a dietary supplement that contains essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) and has been investigated in-depth for its effectiveness for conditions that are associated with a deficiency in essential fatty acids. OEP has a good safety profile with mild side effects and rare serious adverse events. OEP should not be taken during pregnancy, prior to surgery, in patients at risk for seizures or taking phenothiazine-related medications, antiplatelets, thrombolytics, low-molecular-weight heparins, or anticoagulants. There have been no reports of toxic ingestion, mortality, or teratogenicity with OEP supplementation, and usage during lactation is presumed to be safe. The German Commission E has not approved the use of OEP for any condition at this time. OEP is possibly effective for essential fatty acid deficiency and breast pain, and for rheumatoid arthritis after 6 months of treatment. Efficacy of OEP has not been clearly established for the following: atopic eczema, premenstrual syndrome, hot flashes, night sweats, preeclampsia, shortening duration of labor, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Key Words

Oenothera species oil of evening primrose essential fatty acids linoleic acid anti-inflammatory eicosanoids 


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© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret B. Artz

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