Evening Primrose Oil and the Importance of GLA

12:00 PM Posted by jo

Evening primrose is quite an interesting plant. It is a spiky, tall plant that only blooms in the evening. The Indian Medicine men used to brew the seed pods to make an infusion for healing wounds. 

Evening primrose oil is rich in fatty acids, especially gamma linolenic acid, commonly known as GLA. The gamma linolenic acid in evening primose is very important since it effects a lot of the enzyme activity in the body. Enzymes are important since they trigger every process that takes place in the body, including the production of prostaglandins. 

Prostaglandins are hormone like substances that are responsible for:

  • inhibiting cholesterol
  • inhibiting inflammation
  • lowering blood pressure
  • inhibiting platelet aggregation
  • regulating estrogen, progestogen, and prolactin in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle
Prostaglandins are the end result of a chemical chain reaction that starts with essential fatty acids - linoleic acid found in cold pressed oils. 

Prostaglandin deficiency or imbalance may result in:

  • reproductive problems 
  • eczema type lesions
  • poor wound healing 
  • problem with the circulatory system,
  • poor skin conditions  
  • many other cellular and enzymatic disorders

Linoleic acid is converted into gamma-linolenic acid, the same substance found in evening primrose oil, and then to dihomogamma-linolenic acid, and then to arachidonic acid. Di-homogamma-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid are present in the cell structures and they are the precursors of prostaglandins.

This process is supposed to work efficiently in the body, but research shows that these factors inhibit the production of GLA:

  • consumption of alcohol
  • diabetes
  • a diet rich in saturated fat
  • a diet rich in processed vegetable oils
  • a lack of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B in the diet - these are all necessary for GLA formation
  • viral infections, radiation, cancer
  • stress

This is where evening primrose is valuable. It has been found that the GLA from this oil is more efficient   precursor to arachidonic acid than the linolenic acid found in sunflower seed oil.

Studies of evening primrose has found that it may be beneficial for:

  • improving the condition of the hair, nails, and skin
  • improving certain kinds of eczema
  • relieving premenstrual tension
  • lowers blood pressure
  • enabling insulin to work more effectively
  • prevents inflammation and controls arthritis
  • reducing the  production of cholesterol
Evening primrose oil can be used externally as a massage oil. It has found to be effective for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, weight reduction, rheumatoid arthritis, and menstrual tension. It can also be purchased as capsules and taken internally.

Thanks for visiting!


Johanna is an aromatherapist and an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils and Nature's Sunshine. She is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
She also runs Naturally Sports & Wellness together with her husband.  
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

This post is linked up to
Wildcrafting Wednesday
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes