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Evening Primrose
(Oenothera hookeri)

The oil from Evening Primrose has a sedative and laxative effect, with a strong relaxing effect on the muscles of the uterus, and may be helpful when taken internally to reduce menstrual cramps. The oil contains gammalinolenic acid, precursors to prostaglandin production in the body. Prostaglandins help soften and prime the cervix in preparation for expansion during labor.1

When taken internally and used in moderation, it may help to prepare the cervix for release when attempting herbal abortion. I don't believe that using Evening Primrose will cause a pregnancy to terminate, actually the American Botanical Council's website mentions that Evening Primrose is safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, so this herb should pose no risk to the developing embryo/fetus. I have one capsule 3 to 4 times a day listed in my notes for a dosage, but don't recall where I found it.

After seeing some of the results from women who've use it I'm not convinced that it is all that helpful when used internally. Research has shown the effect of prostaglandins on the cervix so there may be some benefit, so if taken internally, I wouldn't recommend exceeding the above dosage incase it in some way hinders the abortion process. I'm beginning to think that its greatest benefit may be when applied directly to the cervix. In one of the Sharing our Wisdom experiences, "MT" said she used evening primrose to help relieve her menstrual cramps, working by relaxing the uterus thus relieving uterine cramping. This might not be helpful when the goal is to terminate pregnancy. It might be better to take it for a short time -- like 5 or 6 days after starting the home remedies; or just use it vaginally. Parsley also has a similar effect on the cervix and is a known emmenagogue, and can be used instead of evening primrose.

To apply the oil directly to the cervix you may need to get creative, holes can be poked into capsules and the oil squeezed out onto a tampon and the tampon inserted and left in overnight as a pessary. {pessary is an ancient term used for herbal preparations applied directly to the cervix and I like the way it sounds better than suppository.} Try to use all natural tampons, you can get them from your local wholefoods market or health food shop, check your phone book for one near you.

I haven't found much material relating to how evening primrose affects the cervix, and very little proof of anything -- additional research needs to be done... {anyone want to take up a literary search on MedLine??? and see what you can find?} I haven't had the time to do a document search on this particular herb... so if anyone wants to help out, let me know.

The American Botanical Council's website lists this contradiction:
Contradictions: Not recommended for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over dose symptoms include loose stools and abdominal pain. Evening Primrose Oil may be taken during pregnancy and while breast feeding.2 {so taking it internally might not help a herbal abortion}.

If you grow evening primrose or if it grows wild near you, you might be interested to know that the roots are edible. As always, positive identification is a must with any plant you are going to consume. Toward the end of summer the roots can be gathered (its nice if the plants have already gone to seed so they will live on -- taking the root, kills the plant, however research is showing that if you cut the root about a half-an-inch to an inch below the crown of the plant and replant it, if it is a perennial it may come back, just don't plant it too deep.... anyway.... "The white starchy root is edible and has a spicy taste that makes a tasty addition to soups" 3

Other Websites:

Evening Primrose Alternative Nature Online Herbal
Evening primrose - A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve

To order your herbs online:

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony company. Since 1987

Online herb shops

References & Suggested Reading.
1. The Olympia Ladies Home Journal of Herbal Abortifacients. January 1993
2. American Botanical Council's, Herbal Reference Guide (online version).
3. Vicki Shufer, Digging for Roots. The Wild Foods Forum. 2001, 12:1:pg2

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This page created May 2001, and last updated May 23, 2001.

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