r a n g e
found throughout the US
c o n s t i t u e n t s
Chiefly glycerides, with fatty acids component high proportion of linoleic acid and
gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which are omega-6 fatty acids, and oleic acid
source :: Herbal Vade Mecum, Gazmend Skenderi
p a r t s u s e d
Flowers, leaves, roots + seeds. The Evening Primrose is biennial, meaning that it flowers in its second year of growth. In early Spring, Harvest leaves + roots from first year plants which have not yet flowered. To ensure proper identification, prefer those plants which are growing in close proximity to flowering second year bloomers for easy comparison. These pre-flowering plants will be less bitter and more palatable for food uses, described below.
p l a n e t a r y
a s s o c i a t i o n
e n e r g e t i c s
cool, moist, relaxant
a c t i o n s
anti-inflammatory, demulcent, vulnerary,
antispasmodic, nervine, nutritive, refrigerant
p r e f e r r e d f o r m
In addition to spending as much time as possible in fields of these Springtime beauties and taking the flower essence regularly, my favorite way to enjoy this heavenly medicine is fresh from the Earth, flowers eaten whole, pollen and all. A more practical plan for regular use, however, is to the carefully dry the flowers and leaves, and enjoy them as a hot infusion. I also love to tincture the blossoms along with milky oats, passionflower, and peach leaf for a cooling summer nervine formula that basically saved my life last Summer.
f l o w e r e s s e n c e
Evening Primrose [ Oenothera speciosa ] essence is is helpful for letting go of the need to control one's environment, the ability to form positive attachment and healthy partnerships, following the heart not the head. Regular use of this essence allows you to experience a deep sense self acceptance--acceptance that you may have been denied in childhood or past relationships. It is helpful for those who are painfully self conscious and instinctively hide their true nature for fear of rejection. The Pink Primrose teaches us to stay centered in our own experience as we move through the world, to acknowledge our own needs and desires as primary, and to stop compromising ourselves in order to gain the favor of others. It assists one in feeling at home in the world and gingerly urges you to let go of all false identities so that you can become a vessel for the Truth of who you are.
The Evening primrose brings us back to innocence and simplicity, to pleasure for and play for their own sake. Her whisper thin Blossom beckons to those who are lost in worry of how others will judge their choices and actions. She guides us back toward the experience of childlike wonder and exploration, a time and space before we cared what others thought of us. Her medicine helps us to slow down and to notice the world around us, letting beauty in, and taking the time to appreciate it. Her greatest gift of all, perhaps, is the ability she has to heal those parts of us we've been told are unacceptable and to reintegrate the entirety of who we are instead of hiding aspects of who we are, not only from the world, but from ourselves. From this space of self acceptance, we can deepen in intimacy with others, allowing them to see us as we truly are, without and masks or posturing to obscure our holy imperfect selves.
r i t u a l u s e
Add thirteen blossoms to a tepid bath. Use alone or in combination with rose petals, blue lotus flowers, rose quartz, and/or rhodochrosite. Light a pale pink candle beside the tub. Reflect on those parts of yourself which you habitually and unconsciously hide because of a belief that they are unlovable, unlikable, shameful, or unworthy. Invite them into the space with you, into the watery space of your psyche. Ask them what they have to teach you. Ask them to reveal to you their purpose in the larger story of your life. Ask that you might begin to see the beauty which lies beneath them. Invite these parts of you home, acknowledging them as valuable aspects of yourself. Make a commitment to be kind to these parts of you. After your bath, offer the primroses and other flowers used back to the Earth. As you do so, make a prayer to gracefully to reintegrate and to love these aspects of you. If you are seeking connection, intimacy, and partnership with others, make a prayer to trust that these aspects of you are deserving of love and acceptance not only by you, but by all those you wish to share closeness with.
p h y s i c a l m e d i c i n e
On a physical level, the medicine of Evening Primrose is profoundly soothing, cooling and anti-inflammatory. This delicate blossom brings sweet relief to anxiety and overwhelm that are brought on or made worse by heat. The leaves, stems and flowers can be used externally as a poultice to bring relief to skin irritations and internally as a tea or tincture to soothe an irritated digestive tract. It's effect is also mildly sedative, making it a wonderful ally for nervous indigestion, and stress that effects the liver adversely. Evening primrose is a valuable respiratory antispasmodic with an affinity for the diaphragm and lungs. As a tea, it serves as a safe yet effective remedy to can deepen and strengthen labored or shallow breathing resultant from stress. It soothes parched mucosa irritated by infection and dryness and suppresses unproductive coughing that can lead to exhaustion. Combine with mullein, horehound, or coltsfoot for respiratory issues.
Used regularly as a tea or tincture, this elegant remedy can help to decrease symptoms of PMS, breast tenderness, pelvic fullness, menopausal hot flashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and seasonal allergies. A concentrated form of the oil, expressed from the seeds of evening primrose is commercially available and extremely beneficial in its effect on all of the above as well.
e d i b i l i t y
The roots + leaves of first year plants are a choice wild edible. The leaves can be added to salads, eaten raw. They are peppery and slightly mucilaginous. Combine with young tender wild mustard greens or arugula. The root can be eaten raw or cooked. Flowers make a delightful treat eaten simply in the field during harvest or can be carefully preserved and added to dishes as a garnish at a later, but not much later hour. Evening Primroses are prolific but delicate and will wilt quickly once picked. If you plan to incorporate their blooms into your meal, gather them immediately prior to serving.