Evening primrose: uses.

To: herb.franklin.oit.unc.edu
Subject: Re: evening primrose
From: "H.A.C. Le Poole" <lepoole.indi.nl>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 16:45:02 +0100

> Could someone tell me all about the properties of evening primrose?

Evening primrose oil is an oil obtained by pressing or extracting the seeds of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) which originates from the US, but is know found in the wild and cultivated in many countries around the world, in particular in NW and C. Europe and in China. The oil contains a fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is a very important precursor for a wide range of hormone type substances which influence many different, very important processes in the body which in turn affect such widely different features as a healthy skin (which is why it is sometimes found in certain cosmetics) to PMS (which can be treated by taking capsules with this epo) and even certain types of schizophrenia. A healthy body can usually produce sufficient GLA by converting another fatty acid, linoleic acid,which is readily available in most modern diets, into GLA, but the enzyme responsible for this conversion does not always work optimally due to imbalances in the body and external influences such as smoking and stress. In those situations it is recommandable to take GLA supplements (usually in capsules). During the last decade a lot of information has become available on the importance of GLA for the body and its interaction with other fatty acids and I could still ramble on for a long time, but I am not even sure that this is a herblist topic. Anyhow I hope this answers your question sufficiently. I leave your question about royal jelly though to someone else to answer.
Rik Le Poole

From: Karen S Vaughan <creationsgarden.juno.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 21:15:44 -0500

Evening primrose seeds can be ground up like flax seeds on salads or cereals. I'm not sure that we can attribute all of the action to the Omega 3 to 6 ratio which is not wonderful, but the hormonal precursor activity in the total seed is important.

Karen Vaughan
Email advice is not a substitute for medical treatment.

From: "Joanie MacPhee" <macphee.net1plus.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 01:30:25 -0500

>Where does one find evening primrose seeds?

I just collected a handful of them from the winter seedpods in my snowbound New England garden...


To: herb.franklin.oit.unc.edu
Subject: Re: evening primrose and fish oil caps
From: "H.A.C. Le Poole" <lepoole.indi.nl>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 21:15:29 +0100

> would you get the same benefits from fish oil caps?

Definitely not! The key fatty acids found in EPO, eg. GLA, and those found in fish oil, eg. EPA and DHA, are each others antagonists. They are both precursors for the earlier mentioned hormone type metabolites, but the metabolites of the two types of fatty acids have opposite functions and in a healthy body, getting a balanced food, would keep each other more or less in balance.

Because modern diet tends to get too much GLA precursing fatty acids (the much heralded linoleic acid), the balance tends to get disturbed and there is an increased need for linolenic acid, the fatty acid which is precursors for the earlier mentioned EPA and DHA, which is found in modest amounts in common soybean oil, but in much higher concentrations in linseed/oil. Of course eating linseeds has other benefits than just balancing these fatty acids, but that's another topic.

Rik Le Poole.

From: Janice McColl <jmccoll.BIORIGINAL.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 15:17:58 -0600

>> would you get the same benefits from fish oil caps?
> Some are the same. Not as nice if you happen to be allergic to fish.

Fish allergy should be due to the protein, not anything in the oil. If the oil is extracted properly, it should not cause allergy in people allergic to fish. I have not found any documented cases of allergy to oil. If you know of any, please pass them on.