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Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

Plant Family: 



Habitat & Cultivation: 

Evening primrose is native to North America and used as indigenous medicine. It can survive most conditions and grows in a creeping manner; blooms in May or June. They have a unique ability to open in the evenings and wither the following day.  The seed contains the active ingredient where the EPO is made from. Clinical studies have reviewed its use in treating problems associated with essential fatty acids (EFA) deficiency such as eczema, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), inflammation, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  EPO contains high EFAs, particularly gamma-linolenic acid (GLA); yielding about 7-10%.  Commonly in pregnancy, it is used as a precursor to prostaglandin. 


Parts Used/Collection: 

EPO made from the seeds, leaves to treat minor wounds, sore throat and GI issues, and decoction from roots to treat hemorrhoids. 


Herbal Actions: 

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Astringent

  • Sedative

  • Digestive

  • Demolient

  • Anti-viral

  • Antioxidant

  • Nutritive

  • Hypotensive

  • Anti-allergenic

  • inhibits platelet aggregation

  • corrects omega 6 fatty acid deficiency



  • Inflammation

  • Atopic dermatitis

  • Cholesterol levels and arteriosclerosis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Mastalgia

  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy

  • Symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)



Contraindications include epilepsy or seizure disorder, schizophrenia. Evening
primrose may cause seizures in schizophrenic patients. Caution should be used in
pregnancy or breastfeeding. Clients should consult their physician prior to taking evening primrose if they have any other medical conditions or allergies (especially plant allergies).
These plant allergies are not well defined. Evening primrose may not be
recommended in breastfeeding. There are no studies to show whether evening
primrose will harm a nursing infant.


Plant Constituents: 

gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), oleic and linoleic acid


System Affinities:

The system affinities for EPO include: musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, integumentary



moving, cooling, oily, moisturizing, wet



Numerous studies have found EPO to have no adverse effects on mothers or pregnancy outcomes, considering the plant generally safe for all.


Mills and Bones: 
Pregnancy B1: Data lacking, no increase in the frequency of malformations or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the fetus. Animal studies do not show an increase in fetal damage
Lactation Category C: Compatible with breastfeeding. Safety class: 1

Personal Experience:

Used EPO as a moisturizer on my skin and vaginally. I couldn't tell the effects from the vaginal example however it was a wonderful moisturizer for my skin. I used it on my hand and body.


ABC Guide. (2018). Evening Primrose Oil. Herbal Gram. Retrieved from


Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.


Mills, S., & Bone, K. (2005). The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. 


Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health. St. Louis, Mo: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.


Weed, S. (1986). Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

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