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Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is one of the most well-known herbal remedies used to alleviate the pain of menstrual cramps, and it is often used as a natural treatment for the symptoms associated with menopause. Known by its full name of Oenothera Biennis, the evening primrose plant is native to North America, but also grows in many parts of Europe and Asia. The remarkable healing properties of the evening primrose have been known for centuries, and Native Americans used the leaves of the plant as a topical treatment for bruises, surface wounds, and hemorrhoids. Today it is sold in almost every supermarket and health food store. There are numerous health benefits of taking daily doses of Evening Primrose Oil.
EPO is obtained by extracting the oil from the seeds of the evening primrose plant, and the oil is then sold in liquid or capsule form. The oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), more commonly known as omega 6, and contains up to 15% GLA and 70% linolenic acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid required by the body for a number of different functions including growth and cell development, and can only be obtained by following a healthy, varied diet.
Many women claim that EPO helps with a number of different symptoms including breast tenderness, menstrual cramps, food cravings, and stomach upset. During menstruation, a women’s body releases hormones known as prostaglandins which are responsible for any pain and inflammation experienced during the cycle. GLA disrupts the production of these hormones and helps to reduce the severity of any unpleasant symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, swelling and destruction of the joints, and sufferers often become dependent on strong pain relievers in order to cope with this crippling condition. A study conducted by the Center for Rheumatic Diseases found that patients who received daily doses of EPO showed significant improvement in their symptoms after 12 months, and all were able to reduce the amount of pain medication they were currently on or stop taking it entirely.
Occasionally, eczema can occur when the body has low levels of GLA, so taking EPO regularly can help to relieve the itching and flaking associated with this condition. EPO is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce redness and swelling of the skin.
Many diabetes sufferers experience nerve damage that results in pain, tingling, numbness, and loss of sensation in the hands and feet. Studies have shown EPO to be an effective remedy for this condition, and it can even reverse the effects of the nerve damage after prolonged treatment.
Regularly taking EPO can help to reduce cholesterol levels and even lower the blood pressure. It has been found to reduce stress levels in those who take it over long periods of time, and it can even be used to treat children afflicted with ADHD.
For best results, EPO should be taken 3 times a day with food to avoid any feelings of nausea that may occur when taken on an empty stomach. Each dose can range from 1000 – 2000mg which will give approximately 270 – 540mg of GLA. This amount is most often used during clinical trials and has been found to be the most effective at curing illnesses.
As with all herbal remedies, EPO can occasionally cause unwanted side effects or react badly when taken in combination with other medications. Common reported side effects include skin rashes, headaches, diarrhea, and nausea, but these symptoms are rare and EPO is generally considered to be safe for consumption. It is not recommended for those who suffer from epilepsy or bleeding disorders, and should never be taken with phenothiazines, which are drugs that are used to treat schizophrenia, or anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications.
As well as being a powerful medicinal herb, the evening primrose can also be a delicious and healthy addition to salads and vegetable dishes. For those who prefer not to take dietary supplements, the benefits of this miracle plant can still be enjoyed by consuming the raw leaves and roots, but there will not be the same level of GLA present as with the oil.
Herbal remedies are fast becoming a viable alternative to toxic allopathic medicines, and EPO can be substituted for many expensive and harmful drugs that are routinely prescribed by doctors for a wide range of health problems.
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