Herbal alternatives to pharmacological treatments for menopause symptoms are in high demand among middle-aged women. Some of the most popular options include black cohosh, ginseng, and red clover, despite limited scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
This Iranian research focused on evaluating the effects of evening primrose oil on psychological symptoms of postmenopause, such as depressive moods, irritability, anxiety, and mental and physical exhaustion.
This study was conducted at the menopausal clinic of the Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences in Bandar Abbas, Iran. Its results were published in the Menopause journal of the American Menopause Society.
During the span of eight weeks, 189 postmenopausal women participating in this 2019 clinical trial received either 1,000 mg capsules with evening primrose oil or matching placebo capsules.
Measured outcomes include changes in the severity of psychological symptoms using the Menopause Rating Scale.
Among women receiving evening primrose oil, psychological scores of all measured symptoms were significantly improved in comparison to those in the placebo group.
Within the evening primrose group, psychological scores substantially decreased from 9.14 to 5.03.
Evening primrose oil was well-tolerated by the participants, except for one woman reporting gastric upset.
What Does It Mean?
This study has demonstrated the efficacy of evening primrose oil on psychological symptoms of menopause. These findings are in accordance with those of a handful of previous studies that showed the benefits of the oil's linoleic and gamolenic acid on psychological ailments.1,2
Having scientifically-researched treatment options for emotional difficulties at their disposal can help women pass through menopause without relying on pharmacological alternatives and having to face their side effects.
Authors of this trial encourage further studies to explore wider use of evening primrose oil for menopause as well as its safety and proper dosage.
- Menopause. (2020). Impact of evening primrose oil consumption on psychological symptoms of postmenopausal women: a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial. Retrieved November 23, 2020 from https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2020/02000/Impact_of_evening_primrose_oil_consumption_on.11.aspx
- Frontiers in Neuroscience. (2019). Diet-Derived Fatty Acids, Brain Inflammation, and Mental Health. Retrieved November 23, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6448040/
- Nutrients. (2010). Oiling the brain: a review of randomized controlled trials of omega-3 fatty acids in psychopathology across the lifespan. Retrieved November 23, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22254013/