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Enhance Overall Fertility with Evening Primrose

Enhance Overall Fertility with Evening Primrose

Did you know that Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) has a wide array of benefits for fertility? Research has shown that it can help reduce PMS and inflammation, increase cervical mucous production, and improve uterine health. The reason it is helpful for those issues is because it is a rich source of the omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) – Linoleic Acid (LA) and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Evening Primrose Oil is one of the few plants to contain GLA. The oil comes from the seeds of the Evening Primrose plant, Oenothera biennis. The seeds are gathered and cold pressed for their oil, and then the oil is encapsulated for dietary supplement use.

LA and GLA are required by the body to make prostaglandin E (PGE2). There are several types of prostaglandins, PGE2 being one of them. Prostaglandins act similarly to hormones, as they too are “messengers” that tell their target cells “what to do and when.” The main difference between prostaglandins and hormones is that prostaglandins are not produced at distinct sites in the body, but rather many places around the body. Another difference is that prostaglandins target cells are in the immediate proximity of their secretion site. PGE2 plays a role in female fertility by helping to control regulation of hormones, acting on uterine cells, cervical cells, and corpus luteum regression.

Promote and Maintain Hormonal Balance

As explained above, prostaglandins are necessary for proper hormonal balance. Getting enough LA and GLA omega-6 EFAs through EPO supplementation ensures you are promoting healthy prostaglandin function.

Help for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Many women face breast tenderness, bloating, acne, water retention, depression, foggy thinking, irritability, and headaches prior to their menstrual period; this is known as PMS. There have been four double-blind, crossover, controlled trials, showing significant positive results in reducing PMS by using 3-4 grams of EPO a day. Results show a marked improvement in the reduction of headaches, foggy thinking, clumsiness, depression, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness.

If you are a woman who suffers from PMS, EPO may be safely combined with other herbs such as Vitex to help alleviate PMS symptoms.

Increase Cervical Mucus

EPO has been used by herbalists for hundreds of years to increase cervical mucus. Cervical fluid is necessary for allowing the sperm to swim freely through the cervix. Some women have low to no cervical fluid, so it is harder for the sperm to move through the vagina. Cervical fluid is more alkaline than the slightly acid vaginal environment. Sperm are nourished and thrive in cervical fluid and if there is not enough the sperm may not be able to survive the journey to the awaiting egg.

The suggested use for increasing cervical mucus using EPO is to start at 500mg, three times a day for a total of 1500mg per day. If desired results aren’t achieved in the first cycle, you may want to increase the dose to 3,000 mg a day in your next cycle. If you are actively trying to conceive, do not use EPO after ovulation because of its action on the uterus. You can learn more about this below.

How EPO Acts on the Uterus

It is believed that the high levels of LA and GLAs in Evening Primrose Oil have a direct effect on uterine cells. These fatty acids contract and relax smooth muscle tissue. This action on the uterus is toning for the uterine muscles in preparation for pregnancy. EPO is NOT suggested for use after ovulation when a woman is trying to conceive. If a woman is pregnant or thinks she may be pregnant, she should not use EPO because the uterus may begin to contract. In some women, this may lead to pre-term labor or miscarriage; though there is little evidence of this. Nonetheless, it is always best to use caution when using EPO if you think you may be pregnant.

Some of you may have heard that EPO is safe for pregnancy. This is because EPO has been used to prepare (ripen) the cervix in the last trimester of pregnancy for hundreds of years by midwives. This is either done by rubbing the cervix with the oil, having the mother use an EPO capsule as a vaginal suppository, or having the mother take it internally the last few weeks of her pregnancy. This should only be done under the care of a highly qualified midwife or another qualified medical professional.

Something to Think About if You Use Aspirin Therapy
It has been found that aspirin and aspirin-like compounds may inhibit prostaglandin function. This is of special concern for women who have been using aspirin therapy for years. Many doctors suggest aspirin therapy to help reduce the chance of recurrent miscarriage, due to blood clotting issues. EPO may help support prostaglandin function for women who have used or are currently on aspirin therapy.

Suggested Usage of Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil for FertilityGeneral use is 1500 – 3000 mg one to two times daily. Beginning at the lowest suggested use and then increasing suggested use over time, as necessary.

While Actively Trying to Conceive: General usage is 1500 – 3000 mg one to two times daily, from day 1 – 14 in the cycle. Evening Primrose Oil may cause uterine contractions in pregnancy which is why it may be best to not continue it past ovulation (in case of pregnancy) while actively trying to conceive. Post-ovulation, it may be best to switch to cod liver oil or another omega-3 oil.

Click here to shop for Fertilica™ Evening Primrose Oil

Not Actively Trying to Conceive: For those who desire to take EPO to help reduce PMS, for menstrual cramps or general hormone balance support, and are NOT actively trying to conceive, EPO may be taken all month long.

Discontinue Evening Primrose Oil if you suspect or confirm you are pregnant. Consult a qualified practitioner to see if this supplement is right for you.

In Closing
Who knew a tiny seed could hold amazing fertility health benefits? The Evening Primrose flower is delicate, yellow and very fragrant. It opens in the evening, attracting moths basking in the moon’s soft glow. It seems to have a connection to the cool evening and the moon cycle. In the morning as the sun comes up, the flower closes, resting during the hot day. It relies on its seeds to continue its life cycle, as it is a biennial plant. It is one of the few night-blooming plants on earth. This is another special plant that has an affinity to women’s fertility. It holds a dear place in my heart!

References

  • Hudson, Tori, N.D. (2008). Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. New York, New York: McGraw Hill Publishing.
  • Venes, D. (2017). Tabers cyclopedic medical dictionary. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company. pp. 1573
  • Puolaka, J. et al. (1985). Biochemical and clinical effects of treating the premenstrual syndrome with prostaglandin synthesis precursors. Journal of Reproductive Medicine; 30 (3): 149-53. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/19322955_Biochemical_and_clinical_effects_of_treating_the_premenstrual_syndrome_with_prostaglandin_synthesis_precursors
  • Ockerman, P. A., Bachrack, I., Glans, S., & Rassner, S. (1986). Evening primrose oil as a treatment of the premenstrual syndrome. Rec Adv Clin Nutr, 2(404), 5. Retrieved from: http://cms.herbalgram.org/ABCGuide/GuidePDFs/Evening_Primrose_Oil.pdf
  • Massil, H. (1987). A double-blind trial of Efamol evening primrose oil in premenstrual syndrome. 2nd Internet Symp on PMS. Kiawah Island, Hawaii.
  • Casper, R. (1987, September). A double blind trial of evening primrose oil in premenstrual syndrome. In 2nd International Symposium on PMS.
  • Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Belch, J. J., & Hill, A. (2000). Evening primrose oil and borage oil in rheumatologic conditions. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(1), 352s-356s. Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/1/352s/4729570
  • Kunkel, S. L., Ogawa, H., Ward, P. A., & Zurier, R. B. (1981). Suppression of chronic inflammation by evening primrose oil. Progress in lipid research, 20, 885-888. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016378278190165X
  • Weed. Susun, S. (1986). Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, New York: Ash Tree Publishing.
  • Budeiri, D., Po, A. L., & Dornan, J. (1996). Is evening primrose oil of value in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome? Controlled Clinical Trials, 17(1), 60-68. doi:10.1016/0197-2456(95)00082-8 Retrieved from: https://eurekamag.com/pdf/002/002879970.pdf

Dalene Barton-Schuster - Certified Herbalist, Birth Doula

Practicing natural health and herbalism for over 18 years, Dalene received her training and herbal certification under the guidance of Lynn Albers at Yarmony Mt. Herbal College in Colorado in 2000. She went on to become a Certified Birth Doula at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon in 2007. As a Birth Doula, Dalene has helped to bring many new lives in to this world. Dalene has written 280+ fertility articles and with her vast array of herbal and holistic healing knowledge has helped 1000’s of women on their journey to Motherhood.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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