Evening Primrose Oil and Trying to Conceive: Benefits & Side Effects

Using Evening Primrose Oil for Fertility

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanket Devlekar (Ayurvedic Physician)
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Couples wanting a baby sometimes have to try more than they thought. From home remedies to medical treatments, there are a number of recommendations that make the rounds when a couple cannot have a baby for some reason. If you have been trying to conceive for a while, you must have already heard or read about evening primrose oil (EPO) as a remedy for fertility. But how much of it is really true? Is it ideal to use primrose oil for fertility? What are the evening primrose oil benefits for fertility? We will find out all about this in this article.

What Is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil is a type of cold-pressed oil derived from the plant Oenothera Biennis (evening primrose). It is also known as the ‘king’s cure-all’ since medieval times as this plant has various healing properties that are also believed to help improve fertility in women. The oil is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid (LA), and gamma-linoleic acid (GLA).

Benefits of Using Evening Primrose Oil for Fertility

Here are some benefits of evening primrose oil:

1. Improves Cervical Mucus Production

Evening primrose oil has been used as a fertility tonic. The gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is converted into prostaglandin hormones when ingested through primrose oil, making it one of the best types of fatty acids for internal healing and increasing cervical mucus production in women who are trying to conceive. The fertile cervical fluid keeps sperm alive beyond ovulation days, thus increasing the chances of getting pregnant.

2. Treats Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome is recognised by symptoms such as irritability, bloating, depression, and breast tenderness. These symptoms are linked to excess prostaglandins in a woman’s body. Evening primrose oil restores hormonal balance by reducing prostaglandins when found in excess, thus improving and treating premenstrual syndrome in women.

3. May Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

High blood pressure can lead to health complication in women during pregnancy. Although research is not quite clear in this area, a 2013 study showed that intake of evening primrose oil lowered the systolic blood pressure by up to 4%. The fact that wasn’t clear was whether evening primrose oil reduces blood pressure levels directly or whether it treats preeclampsia which is responsible for high blood pressure. Regardless, it is a beneficial supplement that can be considered during pregnancy and administered under the supervision and guidance of a doctor, in the right dosage.

4. Treats Alcohol Addiction

If you are pregnant, then you must be knowing by now how harmful alcohol is for a baby. If you’ve struggled with alcohol addiction and can’t seem to quit, we’ve got some good news for you. If you have been consuming alcohol for a long time now, the chances are that prostaglandin E in your body will be depleted. Primrose oil stimulates the brain to secrete prostaglandin E, which is responsible for your self-control centres and improves confidence, thus treating withdrawal symptoms. Taking a few drops of primrose oil can treat your alcohol addiction and improve your health. However, it should be taken with great caution during pregnancy and under medical supervision.

5. Regulates Menstrual Cycle

If you have irregular periods, using the oil could be helpful. The oil can also be used in the case of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to improve the chances of pregnancy.

6. Promote and Maintain Hormonal Balance

Evening Primrose Oil can provide you with necessary LA and GLA omega-6 EFAs and ensures you are promoting healthy prostaglandin function for proper hormonal balance.

Besides pregnancy and fertility, evening primrose oil is also used for treating eczema, acne, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, and various other medical conditions. This herbal remedy is an excellent source of dietary fatty acids and aids in reducing inflammation, treating nerve damage in diabetic patients, and solving mood-related disorders, including ADHD and depression. It also improves the health of the heart as well as fertility in men by boosting blood circulation and reducing plaque in the genital arteries.

When and How Much EPO You Should Take?

If you’re trying to conceive, it is best to take 1500 mg to 3000 mg of primrose oil every day until the first day of your ovulation since the time of your last period. Please note that it may take up to one to two months to start noticing any desirable effects. However, avoid taking evening primrose oil without medical supervision. If you are on medication for blood pressure, blood thinning agents, SSRIs, etc., consult with your doctor before taking it. Talk to your doctor about the evening primrose oil dosage for fertility if you’re currently on any prescription drugs or medication.

Evening primrose oil supplements

How to Use Evening Primrose Oil for Improving Fertility?

Here are some tips on how to take evening primrose oil for boosting fertility in you:

What You Will Need?

  • Evening primrose oil supplements (capsules)
  • Water
  • Omega 3 fish oil supplements


  1. You need to first know that primrose oil is primarily used for inducing labour in women. To use primrose oil effectively, mark the first day of your last period on your calendar.
  2. Take a 1500 mg to 3000 mg capsule with a glass of water starting from Day 1. Ovulation typically begins from day 14, and if you’re trying to conceive, it’s this 13-day mark you have to take note of.
  3. Stop taking the supplement on the 14th day since the ovulation phase begins from that day. Continuing to take the supplement beyond day 14 will lead to uterine contractions in the luteal phase, which will make it harder for the fertilised egg to implant in the womb.
  4. Substitute with omega-3 fish oil supplements from day 14 of your ovulation to get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are not comfortable taking capsule supplements or primrose oil pills, you may consider using evening primrose oil drops. Check with the doctor regarding the dosage and the quality of ingredients used in supplements. You may use evening primrose oil in the form of cosmetics and soaps as well.

A woman with primrose oil capsule in her palm

Side Effects of Using Evening Primrose Oil for Fertility

Using EPO during pregnancy comes with a list of side effects, which are as follows:

  • Headaches.
  • Gastrointestinal Upset.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • May cause hypoglycaemia as a result of low blood sugar levels.
  • Increased bleeding in patients with blood disorders.
  • May lead to thinning of blood or cause low blood pressure.
  • May interact with blood thinners, antipsychotic drugs, and other prescription medications.
  • May cause other allergic reactions when taken in huge doses.
  • Premature childbirth.


1. What Effect Does EPO Have on the Uterus?

EPO have high levels of LA and GLAs that directly affect uterine cells. These fatty acids in the oil contract and relax smooth muscle tissue, which tones the uterine muscles in preparation for pregnancy.

If you are using evening primrose oil for conception, do not use it post-ovulation. Also, if you think you are pregnant or already conceived, do not use EPO because the uterus may begin to contract.

2. Can Evening Primrose Oil Also Improve Male Fertility?

Evening primrose oil and fertility of males can be linked. It may improve male fertility in some instances of erectile dysfunction through its effects on circulation.

3. When Should I Take Evening Primrose Oil: At Night or in the Morning?

The evening is the ideal time to use primrose oil due to its calming effects on both mental and physical health. This time of day provides the most advantageous results for your body. However, with a prescription, you can also use it at other times if required.

It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional or your midwife before deciding to take matters into your own hands and using evening primrose oil. The best way to improve fertility and your chances of getting pregnant are through exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and sexual intercourse. Your midwife should also suggest the right way to go ahead with the supplement once your pregnancy is confirmed. Also, remember that the result may vary from one case to another, which is why we recommend you follow-up with your doctor or midwife through all the stages before and during your pregnancy if you choose to use evening primrose oil.


1. Do Fertility Supplements Actually Work?; thehewittfertilitycentre.org.uk; https://www.thehewittfertilitycentre.org.uk/news-events/news/do-fertility-supplements-actually-work/ 

2. Evening primrose; mayoclinic.org; https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-evening-primrose/art-20364500

3. Chee Wai Ku, Chee Onn Ku, Liza Pui Chin Tay, et.al; Dietary Supplement Intake and Fecundability in a Singapore
Preconception Cohort Study; https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/62d3/cb9527639c4d20274408cac9db51367d571d.pdf; December 2022

4. 4 Supplements to Naturally Boost Your Fertility When Trying to Conceive; naturalwomanhood.org; https://naturalwomanhood.org/health-supplements-nutrition-fertility-trying-to-conceive-ttc-infertility-solutions-07142018/

5. Evening Primrose Oil; aafp.org; https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2009/1215/p1405.html

Also Read: 

Helpful Herbs to Increase Fertility
Foods That Can Boost Your Fertility
Fertility Supplements That May Help You Conceive

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