How to Use Evening Primrose Oil to Induce Labor and 25+ Health Benefits

Updated on April 19, 2016
Evening primrose flower
Evening primrose flower

Evening Primrose

Evening primrose is known for its beautiful white and yellow flowers, which bloom at night. The medicinal properties of evening primrose have been known for many centuries. Certain North American Indian tribes used extracts of the evening primrose externally to treat wounds and infections and internally against coughs and colds.

Nowadays, evening primrose is primarily known for the amazing properties of its oil. It is extracted from the seeds and helps fight certain diseases. Among its many health benefits, it:

  • Causes weight loss without the need to follow a diet
  • Lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Relieves arthritis
  • Cures or improves eczema
  • Cures acne
  • Calms hyperactive children
  • Strengthens fingernails
  • Induces labor
  • Dispels hangovers

Top 10 Evening Primrose Oil Benefits

The Secret Behind the Oil's Healing Properties

The secret to primrose oil's health benefits is in one of its components, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), the essential fatty acid, for which evening primrose oil is one of the richest known sources (9%).

GLA is the starting point for the synthesis of hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. These compounds stimulate and monitor various functions in all body organs and their deficiencies cause diseases such as heart attacks and high blood pressure (hypertension), arthritis, menstrual cramps, allergies, asthma, migraines, infertility, glaucoma, and possibly cancer.

Different types of prostaglandins (PGs) not only have different effects but also can exhibit opposite effects. For example, PG1 inhibits blood clotting and increases urination while PG2 accelerates coagulation and increases the retention of water.

Therefore, the correct balance between opposing PGs is essential for the optimal functioning of various body processes. Lack of specific prostaglandins cause balance problems and leads to numerous and diverse disorders.

Babies are naturally protected. Human breast milk is one of the richest natural sources of gamma-linolenic acid and provides babies with the equivalent of three capsules of evening primrose oil per day.

Until a few years ago, scientists believed that humans could synthesize gamma-linolenic acid from foods. But later on, it was discovered that synthesized margarine and refined oils inhibit the formation of sufficient gamma-linolenic acid. Other obstacles to the production of gamma-linolenic acid are vitamin B6, zinc, manganese, alcohol consumption, diabetes, infections, radiation, and age. The older we get, the less gamma-linolenic acid we produce.

Evening primrose oil is the best guarantee for an adequate supply of gamma-linolenic acid, and it is the only oil that contains 9% of it—other vegetable oils contain much less.

Nutritional Facts
Nutritional Facts

In a Nutshell

Evening primrose oil is used for

  • Eczema

"a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding."

  • Psoriasis

"a skin disease that causes areas of your skin to become red and rough and to fall off."

  • Acne
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Weak bones
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Dyspraxia

"a developmental disorder of the brain in childhood causing difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement."

  • Intermittent claudication

"leg pain due to blocked blood vessels"

  • Alcoholism
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Asthma
  • Neurodermatitis

"an itching disorder "

  • Hyperactivity in children
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obesity and weight loss
  • Whooping cough
  • Gastrointestinal disorders including ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Peptic ulcer disease.
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Shortening labor
  • Starting labor
  • Preventing late deliveries
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Breast pain
  • Endometriosis
  • Symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
  • Dietary source of essential fatty acids.
  • In manufacturing some soaps and cosmetics.

How to Use Evening Primrose Oil to Induce Labor

Many scientific studies have promoted the use of evening primrose oil when trying to induce labor. Now, evening primrose oil is a supplement, commercially manufactured in a gel capsule. The oil contained in the capsule is made up of large quantities of prostaglandins, a chemical that the body naturally produces during the last stage of pregnancy. This particular chemical is responsible for the preparation of your cervix for labor. The more you have in your body, the easier it will be for you to induce labor. This is where evening primrose oil supplements play a role. By taking this supplement, you will stimulate the production of prostaglandins, making your final phase of pregnancy feel like a breeze.

If you are thinking of using primrose oil to inuce labor, here are the steps you need to take. Please note that you only need to start after the 36th week sign of pregnancy.

  • Consult your doctor before beginning. Though this is considered safe and effective for most, there are still some people who have medical conditions that conflict with the treatment. For safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that you pay a visit to the doctor before proceeding.

    Do not worry. If your doctor does not see any problem with your health and your baby's development, he or she will probably recommend this supplement. Your doctor will also give you specific instructions on how to properly do it, especially the part where you place the evening primrose oil supplement directly into your vagina.
  • Start taking the supplement. As soon as you get the green light from your doctor, you can start taking evening primrose oil supplements. About 500 mg of the supplement daily is a good start. You should start treatment as soon as you are on your 36th week. As you get closer to your due date, you can increase the dose to about four capsules per day. The four-capsule daily amount should be performed only in the last four weeks of your pregnancy.

    In some cases, you may experience side effects such as loose stools, diarrhea, or nausea. If that's the case, you need to reduce the dose. If symptoms persist, the discontinuation of treatment is recommended.
  • Inserting into vagina. Apart from the direct oral intake of the supplement, it is recommended that you insert directly to your vagina once you are in the last two to three weeks of pregnancy. At night, one capsule a day before bedtime will do. As a precaution, make sure you properly wash and sanitize your hands, especially the fingers, before you do this in order to prevent bacterial infection.

    The gel melts within a few minutes, and the oil will leak into the cervix, softening in the process. This will be an important contribution to inducing labor and leading to an easier delivery. You should note that rubbing the oil found in the capsule directly on your perineum will greatly help.

Other Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

  • Inhibits the formation of clots in veins. Evening primrose oil also promotes the production of PGI2, a prostaglandin that inhibits the formation of clots in veins (vitamin E also helps the PGI2 synthesis).
  • Helps control rheumatoid arthritis. A compound in the oil called PHI1 prevents excessive release of arachidonic acid, a precursor of a group of substances called leukotrienes. These are substances that cause redness, the swollen and painful joints of rheumatoid arthritis, and painful breast lumps. In experimental studies, PHI1 effectively controlled rheumatoid arthritis in some patients.
  • Increases the formation of cancer-fighting antibodies. Certain prostaglandins that are stimulated by evening primrose oil increase the formation of antibodies against cancer.
  • Combats unpleasant symptoms of PMS. Evening primrose oil also helps women combat the unpleasant consequences of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

    Feelings of exhaustion, irritability, mood swings, swollen breasts, stomach cramps, and weight fluctuations are just a handful of the symptoms experienced by the 73 percent of women with PMS. Women who had previously suffered from cramps, depression, and headaches before periods reported that by the use of evening primrose oil reduced or elimated these symptoms, especially when the oil was supplemented with vitamin B6 and E.

    In a study by the St. Thomas Hospital in London, 65 women with severe PMS symptoms were treated exclusively with evening primrose oil. These women were chosen because they had previously tried other drugs, hormones, antidepressants, etc. without success. Treatment with evening primrose oil gave the following results: 61% experienced complete relief from their symptoms, 23% experienced partial relief, and 15% experienced no change.

Recommended Dosage

The dose of evening primrose oil is up to a maximum of 3000 mg per day. This quantity is usually taken two capsules of 500 mg in the morning and in the evening. Start with a low dose and gradually increase to the most appropriate dose. The results are normally seen within six weeks.

1,300 mg
Twice a day
1,000 mg
Three times a day
Alzheimer’s disease
1,300 mg
Twice a day
1,000 mg
Three times a day
1,300 mg
Twice a day
Hair problems
1,300 mg
Twice a day
Multiple sclerosis
1,300 mg
Twice a day
1,300 mg
Twice a day
1,300 mg
Twice a day

Did Evening Primrose Oil help in your pregnancy?

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Does Evening Primrose Oil Actually Induce Labour? Discussion

Read the Experiences Here:


  • Evening Primrose Oil - WholeHealth Chicago: Center for Integrative Medicine.
  • - Medical News Today. (2015, September 9).
  • Goldman, R. (2014, October 6). - Healthline.


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    • profile image

      portia 5 weeks ago


    • profile image

      Julia 3 months ago

      I’m alittle confused about something. Evening primrose oil increases progesterone. Progesterone is used to stop PREMATURE labor. So how would taking an oil that prevents premature labor, help me go into labor?

    • profile image

      Kayla 3 years ago

      EPO has helped me a lot in pregnacy, when I went to the doctor she was amazed that I was already dilated at 38 weeks considering it's my first pregnacy. Also, has help ease the pain from my stomach disease at the same time! (Ulceractive colitis) it's great!

    • healthcarepro profile image

      healthcarepro 3 years ago from Somewhere on Earth

      Thank you DDE and kidscrafts for your encouraging comments. you're right sesame oil is also helpful..

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Primrose oil sounds a wonder oil with such useful benefits and an interesting insight to this oil makes me want to use it. An informative helpful hub.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I don't need that anymore as I will have no more children but it's always interesting. In fact I would not have needed anyway as I had speedy labors in both cases :-) Someone told me that sesame seed oil is good to help for labor too.

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Enjoy your weekend!