Evening Primrose is an excellent carrier oil and is one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids.
Cold pressed Evening Primrose Oil has a golden yellow colour and fresh nutty odour. It is obtained by expeller pressing of the tiny black seeds. As the seeds contain only around 25% oil and they are fairly expensive, Evening Primrose oil is often obtained by solvent extraction as this method has a much higher oil yield. Recently, Evening Primrose Oil has received a great deal of attention because it contains the rare EFA g-linoleic acid, which is found in only three other plant species.
American Indians used the native Evening Primrose seeds, leaves and roots for centuries. The Pelgrims learned of the plant and it was introduced to England in the 16th Century by John Tradescant, gardner and herbalist to Queen Elizabeth I, because of its reputation for promoting healthy skin. The Evening Primrose has since flourished as both an ornamental flower and a medical herb in Europe, enjoying names such as 'Beauty of th Night' in France and 'Virgin Night Candle' in Germany because its luminous, four petaled yellow flowers open only in the evening.
Although still a rare crop, Evening Primrose is increasingly grown in countries with a continental or temperate climate, such as North West and Central Europe, Canada, New Zealand and in particular, China.
Evening Primrose is rich in two very important polyunsaturated fatty acids, as it contains over 70% linoleic acid and about 10% of the rare g-linoleic acid.
In the body g-linoleic is directly derived from linoleic acid and metabolised into autocoids, hormone-type substances which play key roles in a wide range of physiological functions in the body, especially in the skin.
Evening Primrose oil can be distinguished from monounsaturated oils in that it does not act by occlusion only, but is readily absorbed by the skin, where it exerts its effect in two ways e.g. by reduction of the Trans Epidermal Water Loss and by the formation of autocoids. The linoleic acid is a very important building block in the formation of the by-layer lipid membrane, whereby the other fatty acid, g-linoleic acid not only enhances the penetration into the skin, but also the restoration of the water barrier function of the skin.
Furthermore, g-linoleic acid is a key precursor in the synthesis of autocoids. In particular the skin is very sensitive to an imbalance of the autocoids resulting with increasing deficiency of linoleic acid., resp. g-linoleic acid, in the development of skin roughening and even skin lesions. In a healthy person g-linolenic acid is formed from linoleic acid by an enzyme called delta-6 desaturase. However, the proper functioning of this enzyme is often impaired by such common facts as age, stress, diabetes etc. as of result of which insufficient g-linoleic acid and its metabolites are formed and skin disorders may aoccur. Moreover the skin itself lacks this enzyme and thus relies on a supply of g-linoleic acid and it deratives from the blood circulation. Thus it is understandable that the skin is the first organ to suffer in case of an EFA deficiency and can greatly benfit from the topical application of Evening Primrose Oil.
Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Oil