Evening Primrose Identification:
At the top of a leafy stalk bloom lemon-scented, large yellow flowers. The stems are hairy and often purple-tinged.
Flowers: 1 to 2 inches wide; 4 petals; 4 sepals, reflexed, arising from the top of a long, floral tube; 8 stamens, that are prominent; stigma cross-shaped.
Leaves: 4 to 8 inches, slightly toothed, lanceolate.
Fruit: Oblong capsule, about 1 inch long, often persisting.
Height: 2 to 5 feet.
Family: Onagraceae (Evening Primrose family)
Other Names: Fever plant, Field primrose, King’s cure-all, Night willow-herb, Scabish, Scurvish.
Evening Primrose Flower Flowers: June – September
Parts Used: Extracted oil from seeds.
Habitat: Roadsides & fields. Throughout the U.S.
Constituents: Essential fatty acids, especially (GLA), gammalinoleic acid.
American Indians used root tea for obesity, bowel pains, poulticed root for piles, bruises, rubbed root on muscles to give athletes strength.
In 1981, at St. Thomas’s Hospital, London, 65 women with PMS were treated with oil of Evening Primrose. 61% experienced complete relief, and 23% partial relief. One symptom, breast engorgement, was especially improved. 72% of the women reported feeling better.
In November 1982, the prestigious British medical journal, the Lancet carried results of the double-blind crossover study on 99 patients with ectopic eczema. This showed that when high doses of Evening Primrose oil were taken, about 43% of the patients in the trial experienced and improvement.
Evening Primrose recently made headlines as a possible remedy for premenstrual syndrome. The oil, extracted from the seeds, can be used as an herbal preparation or as a vegetable with a peppery flavor.
Evening Primrose oil is also useful to counteract alcoholic poisoning. It is highly effective in preventing hangovers. A study in Inverness, Scotland, demonstrated that the oil will encourage a liver damaged by alcohol to regenerate. Oil of Evening Primrose can also help withdrawal from alcohol and ease post-drinking depression.
Properties: Astringent, Mucilaginous.
Main Uses: Allergic skin reactions, asthma, breast pain, cough from asthma, eczema, high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis, nerve pain caused by diabetes, nervousness, pain, premenstrual syndrome, psoriasis, whopping cough, wounds.
Points To Remember:
*Don’t use Evening Primrose oil if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
*Use Evening Primrose oil cautiously, if at all, if you have a history of seizures or take a drug that makes seizures more likely.
*Give this herb to a hyperactive child only under close supervision of a primary health care practitioner.
Preparation And Dosages:
Infusion: Use 1 teaspoon of the plant with 1 cup of water. (See Preparations/Infusions.) Take 1 cup a day, a mouthful at a time.
Tincture: Take 5 to 40 drops, as needed.
Evening Primrose is also a wild food.