What is Evening Primrose Oil?

EPO contains essential fatty acids which provide the necessary components for building cell membranes and a variety of other hormones responsible for fertility and general health.  EPO is a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA).  The oil, used as supplement,  comes from the seeds of the Evening Primrose plant, Oenothera biennis.  EPO also contains vitamin E.  EPO comes in gel tablet form an also as an oil.

Evening Primrose Oil and Fertility

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) has been shown to help fertility by increasing the production of cervical mucus which is a factor in creating a successful pregnancy.  Successful reproduction can be difficult for women that have little or no cervical fluid, as sperm cannot move well without enough cervical fluid.  Fertile cervical mucus also helps sperm remain alive for several days inside the uterus enabling conception to take place.   The recommended dose is 1500 mg – 3000 mg per day (500 mg three times a day).

EPO also has a direct benefit on the cells of the uterine wall.  Essential fatty acids cause the contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue, and thus this action tones the uterine muscles in preparation for pregnancy.  It is best to use EPO when trying to conceive naturally, it is not recommended for women who are already pregnant (as the strong contraction may precipitate labor or miscarriage).

EPO be used from onset of menstruation until ovulation, in order to avoid the side effect of contractions, in case pregnancy should occur.  Contractions can also make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant inside the womb.

If a woman is not trying to conceive then she can consume EPO throughout the entire menstrual cycle.
Hormonal Balance

GLA and LA are necessary and needed by the body to make anti-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins, which then in turn are used to maintain hormonal balance.

EPO is used by many women to ameliorate the symptoms of menopause (such as hot flashes) and PMS.

Other uses

EPO is also helpful for people who have acne and eczema.  EPO has also been known to balance hormones in women with PCOS.

EPO has been used to reduce pain and morning stiffness in women with rheumatoid arthritis.   EPO has also been also helpful in decreasing bone loss in elderly people with osteoporosis.  EPO also prevents hair loss if used consistently.  The presence of GLA has been implicated as the reason behind its efficacy in hair loss prevention.

Potential Side Effects

EPO can cause increased bleeding in people who are on blood thinning medication or who have a bleeding disorder.   EPO can also be a gastrointestinal irritant and cause nausea and vomiting in some women.


EPO has many benefits and is easy to use and effective for a variety of conditions.   As always, it is best to check with your physician before starting a new supplement.

Leave a Comment