Evening Primrose oil is taken from the seeds of the plant which originated from North America. This plant is from the Willow Herb family of weeds. It bears yellow flowers when in bloom, that close up in the evening hence the name, ‘Evening Primrose’ The seeds contain 10-15% of oil that is made up of essential fatty acids called GLA and that is why evening primrose oil is often taken to relieve eczema.
The evening primrose plant is the only plant found, so far by mankind, that contains gammalinoelenic acid – GLA for short. In the 1970’s scientists discovered that GLA is 10 times more effective than linoleic acid.
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
They are vitamin-like lipids that your body cannot make, but must have. Your body gets essential fatty acids from foods containing them; virgin sunflower seed oil, organic liver, kidneys and lean meat and legumes. These foods belong to the linoleic fatty acid family. Their role in your body is to ensure that your cell membranes are fluid and flexible.
Your cell membranes will become rigid when you have a deficiency of fatty acids. Other symptoms of these essential fats show up in the following conditions;
- Poor skin
- Slow healing wounds
- Dried up tear ducts
- Faulty immune system
Blocking Agents to Absorption
Believe it or not, you may take plenty of evening primrose oil and still not be absorbing it due to zinc deficiencies, ageing, or drinking moderate to large quantities of alcohol. The main culprit being food such as trans-fatty acids like cakes, biscuits, french fries and margarine. (To cut a long story short, trans-fatty acids are foods that contain heavily processed oils that have become denatured.
Key Agents To Absorption
These are Vitamin C, B-Complex, Zinc and Magnesium
So How Does This Relate to Eczema?
People who have eczema have very low levels of GLA. As Evening Primrose oil contains high levels of this fatty acid and it was the first natural remedy for eczema I took. My GP prescribed them for me and I started on a dose of 2 capsules twice a day, then upping the dose to 5 capsules three times daily.
The reason for the large dose is that your skin is the your body’s largest organ. It is also the last to receive nutrients. Your internal organs including your brain receive the larger share of nutrients first. This is why you might have to start small, up the dosage until you see the effects on your skin. Always take your height and weight into consideration too.
The dosage for infants is lower – 3 capsules pricked with a needle and the oil massaged gently into the tummy area.
Fpr youth and children as young as 10 – 3 capsules morning and evening with food.
Note of Caution
People with epilepsy should not take this oil.
Evening primrose oil comes in capsules and liquid form. It is available from chemists, health food shops and online. There are even ointments which contain this oil. It would be good to do your own research to find out the amount of oil you need to take in order to clear your eczema.
For the record, one product I highly recommend is Udos oil. This is a mix of oils that contain essential fatty acids 3,6,9 including evening primrose oil.
Ideally, it should be mixed into soya yoghurt for ease of absorption. I have also found this oil is often confused with borage oil which is less effective for eczema.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here for me to answer.