The Side Effects of Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is taken from the seeds of a wild flower--its flowers blooms at night--found mainly in North America, Europe and some parts of Asia. Primrose oil contains Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA) which is an essential fatty acid touted for its anti-inflammatory properties and is used for a variety of different reasons.


Primrose oil is used to help reduce heart disease and cholesterol lowering platelet aggregation, or blood clots, in your body. Diabetics and patients with arthritis and lupus are prime candidates for primrose oil use. Primrose oil is prescribed to reduce the effects of premenstrual syndrome and breast pain and tenderness, as well as to lessen symptoms of cystic breast disease and endometriosis. Additionally, the oil is prescribed to treat certain skin conditions such as eczema.


The most common side effects from taking primrose oil occur within the digestive system. Nausea, soft stool or indigestion may occur when you first begin taking the oil, but should subside after your body adjusts to it. If it does not seem to get better or it worsens, contact your physician immediately for instructions on how to proceed. To lessen these side effects, take the oil with food.


Although primrose oil works wonders on skin conditions such as eczema, it can take several months to notice any positive effects. This is also a case by case side effect, depending on your genetic make up as well as the severity of the skin issues you are trying to treat.


If you have diabetes, make sure your doctor is aware of your health situation before beginning to take primrose oil. When the primrose oil is prepared, it may actually be made with sugar and/ or alcohol, both of which react the same within a diabetics body: it turns into sugar and causes your blood sugar counts to increase. This is why it is imperative that your physician is fully aware of your day to day management of your diabetes so they can closely monitor your intake of primrose oil and the reaction your body has to it.


Do not take primrose oil while pregnant, if you may become pregnant or while nursing.


Keep in mind, that the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) does not have strict guidelines on herbs and oils. This means that many products out on the market have additives in them which can have a slew of side effects in and of themselves. This is not to say that if you experience a negative side effect that you can switch to using a different primrose oil product whose additives are different and will eliminate the negative reaction you experienced; only that the additive in a particular product may be influencing your reaction.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

As a history major at the University of Maryland, Kate McQuade spent both her undergraduate and graduate years focused on research, technical writing and independent thinking. McQuade spent many years in the IT and medical fields which lend to a well versed background in a plethora of arenas. She has been writing for almost fifteen years and is ever ready for new challenges.