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How Do I Use Evening Primrose Oil for Menopause?

By Megan Shoop
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Apr 30, 2014

I'm also using evening primrose oil for menopause. I use the 1000mg capsules and follow the dose recommendation on the bottle.

Along with vitamin E supplements, evening primrose oil is helping with my menopause symptoms. My main issues are difficulty sleeping, breast tenderness and hot flashes. Not only is the evening primrose oil helping with these symptoms but my skin is looking better as well.

I should warn however that it takes a while to start seeing results. It took about six weeks for me to start experiencing benefits. I recommend waiting for at least six weeks before giving up on this supplement. Of course, if there are side effects, that's different.

By donasmrs — On Apr 30, 2014

@SarahGen-- I'm not sure, I take the primrose oil softgels. I think it would be better to take the oil because even the tea recipe calls for the oil. You might not get the benefits from the dry petals.

I take a 500mg softgel twice a day. I have not noticed a difference with my hot flashes but it has helped with migraines and irritability. I've started experiencing migraines since entering menopause due to the hormonal changes. Primrose oil seems to have reduced their frequency. I also feel less moody.

By SarahGen — On Apr 29, 2014

Can the dried petals of evening primrose flowers be used for tea? Or is it necessary to take the oil for relief from menopause symptoms?

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