Evening primrose or Oenothera biennis is a common wildflower that thrives in North and South America. It belongs to the genus Oenothera, which contains almost 125 species of annual and perennial flowering plants or herbs. The plant got the name 'primrose', due to its resemblance to the English primrose, even though it is not a primrose.
The plant produces yellow, white, pink, or red blossoms, that generally open in the evening, for which it is called the 'evening primrose'. The plant, basically its leaves and the bark have been used for a long time to alleviate certain health problems, including respiratory infections and digestive ailments.
The seeds of this plant are used for extracting the evening primrose oil. This oil is rich in essential fatty acids, like linoleic acid and gamma-linoleic acid, that belong to the family of omega-6 fatty acids. Such essential fatty acids can help regulate the absorption of insulin, reduce weight, and prevent many other health problems. However, this oil has become popular mainly due its effect on human fertility.
Evening Primrose Oil and Fertility
Primrose oil has been used by women for some common health problems, like menopause symptoms, preeclampsia (hypertension induced by pregnancy), premenstrual syndrome, breast pain, breast cysts, as well as breast cancer. The oil can help restore hormonal balance in women. This oil can also help increase fertility by improving the quality of cervical fluid or mucus. The cervical mucus that is fertile, looks like the egg white. On the other hand, thick and dry cervical fluid is not considered fertile, as it can hamper the movement of sperms, and thus hinder fertilization or conception.
Importance of Cervical Fluid in Fertility
The fluid or mucus secreted by the cervix helps sperms reach the fallopian tube, in order to fertilize the egg. But cervical fluid can serve this purpose effectively only when it is clear, thin, and watery or easily stretchable. Another important function of the cervical fluid is to sustain the sperms, and provide them a fertile medium to move freely towards the cervix and reach the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place.
Such fertile cervical fluid can keep the sperms alive for several days. A thick, cloudy, and dry cervical fluid, on the other hand, prevents the movement of sperms. The amount of cervical fluid usually increases after ovulation. The texture of the cervical fluid also undergoes changes at this point of time, and it becomes more slippery.
But sometimes, the body may fail to produce enough cervical fluid or it can produce cervical fluid that is not fertile. As a result, the chances of fertilization or conception decline considerably. To counteract this problem, many women use the oil extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose plant, as this oil is believed to be effective in increasing the production of fertile cervical fluid.
Being a rich source of essential fatty acids, this oil can promote the production of more fertile cervical fluid. It can also stimulate the production of prostaglandins. The prostaglandins are a group of hormone-like substances that help induce labor and uterine contractions. To increase fertility, this oil is usually taken from menstruation to ovulation. After ovulation, one can take flaxseed oil.
This oil is also used to alleviate a wide range of diseases and disorders, including eczema, bronchitis, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and psoriasis. If you are considering to use this oil for increasing fertility, or for other therapeutic purposes, then be sure to consult a physician or a health care professional. An overdose of this oil can produce certain side effects. So, be sure to take it only in the appropriate dosage, as suggested by your health care provider.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.