Board index Botanical Medicine Medicinal Herbs Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis

Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis

General discussion of medicinal plants and their use.

Post Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:24 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1087
Here is an herb that my wife does not want to be without. Last year she got a really deep, unproductive cough. I had made some primrose flower tincture the previous year. I gave her 10 drops in some warm water. Within 10 minutes the cough and all associated symptoms were eliminated. We have done this at least two additional times. It helped a lady at a recent church activity as well.

We have not tried eating it as a vegetable.

Herb: Evening Primrose
Latin name: Oenothera biennis
Synonyms: Onagra biennis
Family: Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)


Medicinal use of Evening Primrose:
The bark and the leaves are astringent and sedative. They have proved of use in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders of a functional origin, whooping cough and asthma. A syrup made from the flowers is also an effective treatment for whooping cough. The bark is stripped from the flowering stem and dried for later use, the leaves are also harvested and dried at this time. Evening primrose oil has become a well-known food supplement since the 1980"s. Research suggests that the oil is potentially very valuable in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, pre-menstrual tension, hyperactivity etc. It is also taken internally in the treatment of eczema, acne, brittle nails, rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol-related liver damage. Regular consumption of the oil helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the blood pressure. The seed is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances. This process is commonly blocked in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine muscles, nervous system and metabolism. The poulticed root is applied to piles and bruises. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of obesity and bowel pains.

Description of the plant:

Plant: Biennial
Height: 120 cm (4 feet)
Flowering: June to September
Scent: Scented
Habitat of the herb: Dunes, roadsides, railway banks and waste places in Britain, often in sandy soils.

EDIT: Evening Primrose is found in a variety of habitats in the US. We usually find it near or along stream beds or near areas where water has been but has evaporated or seeped into the ground.

Edible parts of Evening Primrose:
Root - cooked. Boiled and eaten like salsify. Fleshy, sweet and succulent. Wholesome and nutritious. A peppery taste. The taste somewhat resembles salsify or parsnips. Young shoots - raw or cooked. Mucilaginous, with a peppery flavour, they are best used sparingly. Another source suggests that the shoots should not be eaten. Flowers - sweet. Used in salads or as a garnish. Young seedpods - cooked. Steamed. The seed contains 28% of a drying oil. It is edible and a very good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is not found in many plant sources and has numerous vital functions in the body. The seed, however, is very small and difficult to harvest, it has to be done by hand. Overall yields are low, making the oil very expensive to produce.

Other uses of the herb:
The oil from the seed is added to skin preparations and cosmetics. It is often combined with vitamin E to prevent oxidation. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A finely ground powder made from the flowering stems is used cosmetically in face-masks to counteract reddened skins.

Propagation of Evening Primrose:
Seed - sow in situ from late spring to early summer.

Known hazards of Oenothera biennis: None known

http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/he ... imrose.php

Post Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:20 am
Fey

Posts: 179
That was so interesting. I've never made a tincture of evening primrose before and never would have thought it's good for a cough. We have it growing wild about ten klms from here. I should harvest some seed and get it going here.

Post Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:20 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1087
It works FAST too. Have only tried the flower. Makes a thin honey consistency tincture.

Speaking of tincture, I need to go put a couple more turns on the Brigham Tea I am pressing tonight.

Post Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:42 am
Fey

Posts: 179
You've got a tincture press?! Did you make it yourself or buy it? I've got to get one. I bet they'd be expensive to buy...but worth it.
Did you use the evening primrose with the yellow flowers? That's what we have wild here. The herb shops sell a pink flowering variety.
When you made the tincture, did you snip the flowers off or just use petals?

Post Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:36 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 964
Fey wrote:
You've got a tincture press?! Did you make it yourself or buy it? I've got to get one. I bet they'd be expensive to buy...but worth it.
Did you use the evening primrose with the yellow flowers? That's what we have wild here. The herb shops sell a pink flowering variety.
When you made the tincture, did you snip the flowers off or just use petals?


I"d use the whole flower, not just the petal. I started a new thread on tincture presses. http://herb-talk.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=1473

Doc

Post Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:53 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1087
I pinch off the flower at the stem. My fingers get a little sticky by the time I am done. When I go out in the evening right after dusk I have to compete with what I call hummingbird moths for the flowers. Sometimes I leave a few, for the moths and for seed.

I have a bunch of seed pods on stems drying in my herb room. Need to thresh them.


Return to Medicinal Herbs

cron