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The Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil gets its name from the evening primrose plant, which grows as a wildflower throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The plant is called the evening primrose because the yellow flowers open only in the evening. Those special flowers also contain a fatty acid which is thought to contain remarkable healing powers.
In times past, Native American healers would gather the evening primrose and use it to treat illnesses as diverse as stomachaches, hemorrhoids, sore throats and scrapes. Modern science has discovered that the secret behind the healing power of the plant lies in an essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA for short.
Evening primrose contains higher concentrations of GLA than many other plants, and that is what makes it such a powerful supplement. The GLA in evening primrose oil has been shown to help ease inflammation, and to provide a number of other important benefits as well.
One of the most welcome benefits of evening primrose oil seems to be its ability to treat the symptoms of PMS. The GLA contained in evening primrose oil is thought to interfere with the inflammatory prostaglandins which are released during the menstrual cycle, thereby easing cramping and other common symptoms.
The anti-inflammatory properties of evening primrose oil also may play a role in easing the pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Those arthritis sufferers who take supplements of evening primrose oil have often reported a decrease in joint swelling and inflammation.
An even more important benefit of evening primrose oil may be its ability to help prevent nerve damage associated with diabetes. In one recent clinical study, those who took evening primrose oil supplements reported less tingling, numbness and sensation loss than those who did not.
Evening primrose oil has long been used to treat common skin conditions as well, and there is evidence that it may be effective against acne, rosacea and eczema. It is thought that the GLA in evening primrose oil helps to control inflammation, as well as the itching and redness often associated with these common skin disorders.
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