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Infertility and Evening Primrose Oil

Effect of Evening Primrose Oil on Infertility

Evening Primrose Oil or EPO promotes fertility by improving the quality of cervical fluid, making the mucus a more hospitable medium for the sperm. This aids the sperm to swim through the uterus and into the fallopian tube and to the egg. Cervical fluid of good quality also helps the sperm to stay alive for up to five days inside the fallopian tube, thus increasing the chance of conception.

Evening Primrose Oil's healing properties is largely attributed to its high concentration of the essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).This fatty acid is converted to prostaglandin E1, a substance which has anti-inflammatory properties. Prostaglandin E1 may also act as a blood thinner and blood vessel dilator. A lack of GLA is thought to cause premenstrual syndrome. Evening Primrose Oil can help in relieving the discomforts that occur with premenstrual syndrome because it replenishes the gamma linolenic acid (GLA).

Evening Primrose oil is also used as treatment for other disorders including asthma, high cholesterol, diabetic neuropathy, heart disease and arthritis.

Read more details about Evening Primrose Oil.

Research Evidence on Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil has been studied various disorders. However, high-quality evidence to support its claims for its use in most conditions is still lacking.

There are several trials on the efficacy of evening primrose oil for eczema, but large well-designed studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.

Although primrose oil has gained some popularity for treating symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome and breast pain, available information suggests little evidence to support the use of evening primrose oil for the conditions.

How to Use Evening Primrose Oil

In clinical trials, evening primrose oil was taken by mouth at doses between 6 and 8 g per day. Evening primrose oil preparations usually contain 8% to 10% of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) .

Evening Primrose Oil can cause uterine contractions in pregnant women, thus it should only be taken from menstruation to ovulation.

Evening primrose oil is generally well tolerated when taken in recommended dosages. Incidence of side effects is low.

Side Effects

The reported side effects that occur with evening primrose oil use include:

  • nausea,
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • stomach pain
  • soft stools
  • Stomach discomfort and loose stools may be indications that the dosage is too high. If any of the side effects persist or worsen, contact your health care provider immediately.

If you develop signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, you should stop taking evening primrose and seek emergency care.


Evening primrose oil should not be taken by patients who have allergies to its components. If any of the conditions below applies to you, do not take evening primrose without the advice of a doctor:

  • epilepsy or a seizure disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • bleeding problems or blood-clotting disorder
  • plans to have any type of surgery

Talk to your health care provider if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant during the treatment. It is not known whether evening primrose could pass into breast milk or if it is harmful for a nursing baby. If you are breastfeeding, ask your doctor before using evening primrose.

Drug interactions

Evening primrose oil may alter the effects of some medications. If you are taking any of the following medications, you should not use evening primrose oil without first consulting with your doctor:

  • medicines used for psychiatric disorders, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), perphenazine (Trilafon), fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin), prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro), promethazine (Pentazine, Phenergan, Phenadoz, Promethegan), thioridazine (Mellaril), or trifluoperazine (Stelazine). Using these drugs with evening primrose oil may increase the risk of seizures.
  • Blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Anti platelet drugs* such clopidogrel (Plavix);
  • Herbs with known blood thinning properties;
  • Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's)

You should inform your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications.


  1. Duke, J. 2000.The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Comprehensive Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing.1st ed. Rodale Books.

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