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Evening primrose is a dark green, weedy plant that features yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers. Before modern medicine, evening primrose was the treatment of choice for hormone imbalances in women, particularly those associated with menopause. Although little scientific evidence has been found to support using evening primrose oil for menopause, it is still recommended by herbalists to alleviate hot flashes and moodiness. Women should take evening primrose oil for menopause several times a day, adjusting the dosage as directed by a doctor. It may be taken in a capsule supplement, by the spoonful, or mixed into tea.
Evidence that supports using evening primrose oil points to the high amounts of gamma-linoleic acid contained in this herb. Some menopausal women can’t convert the linoleic acid they consume into gamma-linoleic acid, which may contribute to menopause symptoms. Consuming gamma-linoleic acid via evening primrose supplements may help balance hormones, increase energy, and help keep the mood on an even level.
Women using evening primrose oil for menopause should typically take two or three supplemental capsules per day. These usually contain a pre-measured amount of evening primrose oil and are very concentrated. Those who don’t see results right away should try to have patience because herbal remedies often take longer to show results than concentrated chemical medicines. If there seem to be no changes after about two weeks, patients should not raise their dosage; they should see a doctor instead.
Many women prefer taking evening primrose oil for menopause in the form of tea. This usually involves adding a spoonful of herbal oil to a mug of hot water. The tea should steep for up to eight minutes and may be sweetened with sugar, honey, sucralose, or agave nectar. Patients should typically drink no more than two cups of evening primrose tea a day. Though the tea is less concentrated than the capsules, the dosage is larger and should be carefully monitored.
This herbal oil may also be taken by the spoonful. Those that dislike swallowing pills may prefer to take a small spoonful or two of evening primrose oil each day. It often has a slightly astringent, floral taste that some find pleasant. Women taking the oil should measure it carefully in a medicine cup or in a measuring spoon to make sure they’re always getting the right dosage.
Anyone thinking of using evening primrose oil for menopause should talk to a doctor first. This herb may interact with anticoagulants, blood pressure medications, certain antidepressants, schizophrenia drugs, and medications for seizures. Women should give their doctors or herbalists lists of all the medicines they’re taking before trying to take evening primrose.