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Cure Menopausal Hot Flashes with Evening Primrose Oil

Going through the transition to menopause comes with a number of physical and emotional changes, most of which for many women can be uncomfortable and frustrating. The western medical model offers up hormone therapies and chemical medications that negatively affect this natural transition, especially over the long-term.  Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil is a natural and popular remedy for treating not only menopausal hot flashes, but also other symptoms of menopausal transition, including: 


  • Chills
  • Weight gain/slower metabolism
  • Thinning hair 
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Sore breasts (mastalgia)
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Low libido 1

How to Administer Evening Primrose Oil

For the treatment of hot flashes, daily supplementation of 1000mg of evening primrose oil has been shown to be effective. However, women who were taking evening primrose oil to relieve symptoms of PMS took 3000mg to 6000mg daily to relieve symptoms. Women going through menopause who are having more severe symptoms may want to consider taking a higher dosage, while women with less severe symptoms may see enough benefit with a lower dosage of only 1000mg/day. The dosage is dependent on each person’s needs. Some women may need more, while other women may prefer less. 1


Evening primrose oil should be taken 4-6 months or longer. Women who are just starting to take evening primrose oil should be aware that although some women report noticeable changes sooner than others, in most situations it takes between 4-6 months for a woman to notice a significant difference in her symptoms. 1


Evening primrose oil is primarily available in the form of gel capsules and as a topically applied oil. Gel capsules range in dosage from about 500mg/capsule up to 1500mg/capsule. For women going through menopause who are trying to get relief from their symptoms, it’s advisable to choose a product with a higher concentration per capsule so that it is easier to take a higher dose (between 3000mg to 6000mg).


Effectiveness of Evening Primrose Oil

In one study of 1,296 Australian women, 66.3% of participants reported that evening primrose oil was an effective treatment for menopause symptoms. Women in this group noted a particular difference in their menopause-related hot flashes. In a different study, positive differences were noted in socialization, sexuality, and relations with others after supplementation of evening primrose oil. 1


How Evening Primrose Oil Treats Menopause Symptoms

Evening primrose oil is particularly high in linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, two types of essential omega-6 fatty acids (considered essential because they cannot be manufactured by the body and must be ingested from food, herbs, or supplements). A deficiency of these two fatty acids (among others) can cause low levels of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) to be produced in the body. Vitamin C is also essential for producing PGE1. 2 PGE1 can produce inflammation, redness of the skin, edema, pain, excess heat, and loss of function. However, previous studies have demonstrated that PGE1 in particular has a unique function in that, at first, it produces the signs of inflammation in the body, but then later inhibits inflammation through its interactions with other inflammation regulators in the body.3


Side Effects of Evening Primrose Oil

There are very few side effects of evening primrose oil for women of any age. Some of the discomforts reported by some women included: 

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea


These side effects are comparatively rare, however, and are primarily associated with much higher dosing of evening primrose oil. The majority of women are unlikely to experience these symptoms. Reduce the dosage or take a break from supplementation if you experience these side effects. 1 


Other Uses of Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is an important herb for women in particular. It has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of the following women-specific ailments:

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Hormonal hot flashes
  • Mastalgia (breast pain)
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Cervical ripening and dilation
  • Endometriosis 1


In addition, evening primrose oil has been shown to have efficacy in the treatment and managements of these disorders:


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[1] Mahboubi, Mohaddese. (2019). Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Oil in Management of Female Ailments. Retrieved May 20, 2021 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6718646/ 


[2] Campbell, A. and Horrobin, D.F. (1980). Sjorgen’s syndrome and the sicca syndrome: the role of prostaglandin E1 deficiency. Treatment with essential fatty acids and vitamin C. Retrieved May 26, 2021 from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7432243/#:~:text=Lack%20of%20adequate%20synthesis%20of,syndrome%20and%20the%20sicca%20syndrome

[3] Belch, Jill J.F. and Hill, Alexander. (2000). Evening primrose oil and borage oil in rheumatologic conditions. Retrieved May 27, 2021 from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/1/352s/4729570