What is Evening Primrose Oil.txt by BannavtiEric


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Evening primrose oil (EPO) is a dietary supplement that contains essential fatty acids such as
omega-3 and omega-6 and has been investigated in-depth for its effectiveness for conditions that
are associated with a deficiency in essential fatty acids. It has a good safety profile with mild side
effects and rare serious adverse events. It should not be taken during pregnancy, prior to surgery,
in patients at risk for seizures. There have been no reports of toxic ingestion, mortality, or
teratogenicity with Evening primrose oil supplementation, and usage during lactation is presumed
to be safe.

The evening primrose can be found in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, and was
naturalized into Europe and Asia from North America in the early 17th century. The entire plant
can be eaten such as it'roots, leaves, flowers, buds, seedpods); leaves are cooked and eaten like
spinach and the roots are boiled and taste sweet. Evening primrose was a staple food for many
Native American tribes and a famine food for Chinese farmers. European settlers and Native
Americans used the whole plant to ameliorate ailments such as bruising, stomachaches, and
shortness of breath.

Evening primrose oil is derived from the plant's small, dark seeds. China is now the major grower
of evening primrose seed in the world, supplying an estimated 90% of the world's crop. A total of
approx 400 ton of seeds are processed each year in the United States and Canada. One major
supplier of this supple derives the oil from specially selected and hybridized forms of Oenothera
species. Today, the oil is used medicinally to treat a myriad of conditions related to essential fatty
acid (EFA) deficiencies, low dietary intake of linoleic acid, and a variety of reproductive,
cardiovascular, inflammatory, and neurological disorders. It is added to foods as a source of
essential fatty acids and used in topical products such as soaps and cosmetics.

Clinical evidence of nutritional supplementation with it to correct dermal conditions is mixed. One
theory for the mixed results is that in some persons, once sensitized, immunological factors may
override what help it can offer. Very high doses of Evening primrose oil or linoleic acid, with
corresponding correction of plasma EFA levels, produce some clinical improvement. Results
showed that arachidonic acid were consistently and significantly lower in children who later had
atopic eczema. Some studies have shown that evening primrose oil administration can improve
the percentage of body surface involvement, itch, dryness, scaling, and inflammation associated
with atopic eczema. A meta-analysis of nine controlled trials involving EPO in the treatment of
atopic eczema showed a highly significant improvement in the symptom of itch over placebo.

In 1993, Berth-Jones conducted a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group designed study to
investigate whether supplementation with it alone or a combination of Evening primrose oil and
fish oil helped with clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis. A total of 133 patients (adults and
children were evenly distributed) with chronic hand dermatitis enrolled and were randomized to
receive either Epogam® (per 500 mg capsule), Efamol Marine (per 430 mg capsule of Evening
primrose oil/fish oil), or placebo (paraffin/ olive oil). No improvement with was found.

In 1996, Whitaker et al. conducted a clinical trial to test if this supplementation affected the
changes in lamellar bodies and lipid layers of the stratum corneum in patients with chronic (longer
than 12 months) hand dermatitis. This parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial had 39
patients with chronic hand dermatitis or eczema and 10 age- and sex-matched healthy controls for
statistical comparison. Treatment lasted for 16 weeks, with the active group taking Evening
primrose oil (twelve 500-mg Epogam capsules daily for a total dose of 600 mg linolenic acid) and
the placebo group taking placebo (twelve 500-mg sunflower capsules daily), after which there was
an 8-week washout period. Although the improved in the clinical impressions of dermatitis, there
was no statistical difference between groups and no structural change in skin specimens was

Evening primrose oil is regulated as a dietary supplement in the United States. It is approved in
Canada as an over-the-counter product for use in EFA-deficiency conditions and as a dietary
supplement to increase EFA intake. In the United Kingdom, it is on the General Sales List. In
Germany, it is approved for use as food and is approved there in the treatment and symptomatic
relief of atopic eczema. The German Commission E has not approved the use of evening primrose
oil for any condition at this time. It is possibly effective for essential fatty acid deficiency and breast
pain, and for rheumatoid arthritis after 6 months of treatment. Efficacy of this supplement has not
been clearly established for the following: atopic eczema, premenstrual syndrome, hot flashes,
night sweats, shortening duration of labor, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, and
chronic fatigue syndrome. In Sweden, It is classified as a natural product. It has a Class 1 Safety
Rating with the American Herbal Product Association.

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