evening_primroseOenothera biennis

Family: Onagraceae

Part used: seed

Base oil: use a 10 percent dilution

Evening primrose grows to a height of about 1 – 8 feet and has many fragrant yellow flowers that open at dusk to attract night-flying insects for pollination. The plant originated in North America and was exported to Europe during the seventeenth century. Evening primrose is also known as evening star and king’s cure-all.

Contains: The oil contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which is said to help slow down the skin’s aging process. It has also been reported to be helpful in reversing damage from multiple sclerosis. A lack of GLA in the body prevents nerve cell membranes from functioning properly. GLA is needed for conduction of electrical impulses throughout the nervous system. The oil also contains a high amount of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

Practical uses: PMT, multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart disease. Excellent in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. Helps to prevent premature aging of the skin. The carrier/base oil is used to dilute essential oils in aromatherapy for massage oils and other formulations. For massage oils, it is best to mix 10 - 20 percent of evening primrose oil with another carrier oil before adding other essential oils.

Therapeutic Properties: analgesic, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, antiscorbutic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, astringent (mild), calmative, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, hepatic, hypotensor, nervine, stimulant, tonic, uplifting

Rich in fatty acids, this oil is often taken as a nutritional supplement. However, you can also apply it to the skin as a nourishing treatment, particularly on the face. As it is expensive, add the contents of 1 large capsule to 20 ml / 4 tsp basic carrier oil for body massage.

*Special Tip: for a special anti-wrinkle treatment, pierce a large Evening Primrose capsule (1000iu) and squeeze the oil into your palms. Apply it to your face, concentrating on areas that are particularly prone to lines, such as the forehead, the corners of your mouth and the outer edges of your eyes.

Special Blends

Add these essential oils to 20 ml / 4 tsp basic carrier oil and the contents of 1 large (1000iu) capsule Evening Primrose oil.

To hydrate very dry skin:

  • 4 drops Linaloe Wood, 4 drops Palmarosa, 2 drops Neroli

To soothe eczema:

  • 4 drops Yarrow, 2 drops Roman Chamomile, 4 drops Lavender

*Source: Harding Jennie, The Essential Oils Handbook. Duncan Baird Publishers, 2008

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Making a Skin Mousse

Take a clean glass jar that is big enough to hold up to 20ml/4 tsp of the finished mousse. Add 15ml/3 flat tsp Aloe Vera gel, then 5ml/1 tsp jojoba carrier oil and stir the mixture with a small spoon. The oil and gel will start to combine and thicken. At this point, add another 2.5ml/ ½ tsp Aloe Vera gel and keep stirring. The mixture will suddenly go smooth and slack, taking on an opaque, pale cream colour. You will have approximately 20ml/4 tsp mousse in total – enough for around ten applications to the face.

You can use the mousse unfragranced, or you can add essential oils to the mousse blend and stir again. The mousse will last between four and six weeks at a cool room temperature and will leave your skin feeling calmed, restored and soft.

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Skin Oils and Lotions

The essential oils are prepared in much the same manner as they would be for a massage, except that the base oil should include the more nourishing oils such as jojoba, avocado or apricot kernel oil. The focus here is on treating the skin itself and dealing with particular problems. A gentle circular movement of the fingertips is often enough for the oils to be absorbed; it is important not to drag the skin, especially in the delicate areas of the neck and around the eyes.

Rose and neroli are good for dry or mature complexions; geranium, bergamot and lemon can help combat acne and greasy skin.

A few drops of essential oil can also be mixed into a bland cream or lotion, or added to a basic face mask, which might include oatmeal, honey, or clay together with the pulp of various fruits.

In some conditions, such as cold sores (herpes) and athlete’s foot, it is better to use an alcohol-based lotion instead of an oil or cream. This can be made by adding 6 drops of essential oil to 5 ml of isopropyl alcohol or vodka. This mixture can be further diluted in a litre of boiled and cooled water for treating open cuts or sores, such as those caused by chickenpox or genital herpes.

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