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Evening Primrose Oil

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 28, 2021.

What are other common names?

  • Oenothera biennis
  • Oenothera muricata
  • Oenothera purpurata
  • Oenothera rubricaulis
  • Oenothera suaveolens
  • Cis-Linoleic Acid
  • Common Evening Primrose
  • EPO
  • Evening Primrose
  • Evening Primrose Seed Oil
  • Fever Plant
  • King's Cureall
  • Night Willow Herb
  • Oil of the Evening Primrose
  • Primrose Oil
  • Scabish
  • Sun Drop

What is this product used for?

Evening primrose oil is also called EPO. Some people may use it to help with rheumatoid arthritis. Other people who have diabetes may use it to help with nerve pain that causes tingling and burning in their feet and legs.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • This product may interfere with some lab tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor that you take this product if you are scheduled for surgery or tests.

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to thin your blood. These are drugs like warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, or enoxaparin (Lovenox).

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to dissolve blood clots. These are drugs like alteplase (Activase), reteplase (Retevase), or streptokinase.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to help with swelling or inflammation. These are drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Naprosyn).

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Bleeding problems

    • Mental disorders like schizophrenia

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Headache

  • Heartburn

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Bruising or bleeding that is not normal

  • Changes in menstrual periods like lots of bleeding, spotting, or bleeding between cycles

Where can I learn more?

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Last Reviewed Date


Consumer information use

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. You should not rely on this information in deciding whether or not to use, or accept your healthcare provider’s advice regarding use of, any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices. This information does not endorse any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about natural products, possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to you. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about your health and treatment options.


More about Evening Primrose Oil (evening primrose)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.