Oenothera biennis, Evening Primrose

Oenothera biennis, Evening Primrose. Native Americans gathered the seeds for food in Utah and Nevada. In eastern North America the whole plant was used as a poultice for bruises, a tea to treat obesity, and a decoction of the root to treat hemorrhoids. Early European settlers used the leaves to treat wounds and to soothe sore throats and upset stomach. Roots are edible (after a fashion). Use of the seed oil is relatively recent. Evening primrose oil has been used as a dietary supplement to provide essential fatty acids, especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is an intermediate compound between the essential fatty acid, cis-linoleic acid and prostaglandin production in the body. Poor dietary habits, or improper nutrition may prevent the natural conversion of cis-linoleic acid into prostaglandin E1. Dietary supplementation of GLA from evening primrose oil may help resolve problems associated with essential-fatty-acid deficiencies.

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