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Frequently Asked Questions HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)

31. What is oil of evening primrose used for?

As its name implies, oil of evening primrose is the natural oil extracted from the seed of the evening primrose, a wildflower. This oil is rich in gamma-linoteic acid (GLA), which leads to the production of Prostaglandins, a group of essential fatty acids present in all tissues of the human body. Prostaglandins are essential to the proper functioning of all organs and of the reproductive system. Hundreds of well-documented studies of oil of evening primrose have revealed its beneficial effects in the treatment and prevention of cardiac and vascular conditions, arterial tension, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, asthma, allergies, obesity, multiple sclerosis, hyperactivity, and premenstrual syndrome.

Oil of evening primrose has received most of its praise for its relief of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)-a condition that affects women before the onset of menstruation and that is characterized by uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms. The symptoms of PMS occur when there are low prostaglandin E1 levels in the bloodstream, caused by the hormonal changes that occur before menstruation. Prostaglandin E1 is manufactured from gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). Oil of evening primrose is a rich natural source of GLA and supplementation substantially increases prostaglandin E1 levels, according to researchers who tested hundreds of women. This research, linking prostaglandin E1 to PMS, received a Nobel Prize in 1982.

Beware, however, because not all oil of evening primrose products are created equal. Look for a product that has been analyzed for its content of GLA by an independent laboratory - one other than the manufacturer.

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