“ Brand: Boots / Dosage Form: Capsules „
I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil tablets now for about four years from around the time I started the menopause. I don't take them every single day but would say that I take them about four or five days a week. I have tried quite a few different brands and to be honest found them all okay but have recently been buying them from Boots as they seem to have really good offers on them.
The 30 x 1000mg size are currently on offer for £1.99 (previously £3.99) and are on a 3 for 2 offer. I have a Boots advantage card and they send you money off coupons regularly so I usually wait until I have a few items to buy from there and use a £2 off a £20 spend and also get more Advantage points which saves me even more money.
The container is grey in colour and has a distinctive yellow label and has the usual childproof lid. The capsules themselves are a clear with a yellow tinge and feel squidgy to the touch. The 1000ml size which I have is quite large and would not be suitable for some people who have trouble taking tablets but I have always had this size and have never had any problems, although I do have to take this size with a drink where as sometimes when I have had the 500ml size due to it being a better buy I can swallow these dry.
When I first started menopausal symptoms I knew that I would never have HRT or anything like that as I much prefer natural products. I had read a lot about Evening Primrose Oil to reduce the symptoms and thought I would give them a try. I can say that my symptoms have been quite minimal over the years which I put down to taking these. I had started to suffer with hot flushes (or tropical moments as I like to call them) especially at night when I would wake up soaking and feeling as though I was going to spontaneously combust! They are also advertised as a food supplement as they contain Omega 6 fatty acid which some people require for a healthy diet.
Apparently the oil comes from the herb Oenothera biennis and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid which can alleviate some of the hormonic effects caused by the menopause. This acid is also believed to help to combat depression and mood changes. The capsules contain beef gelatine so is not suitable for vegetarians and as with most medicines there can be side effects however I have never experienced any personally.
Since I started to take these my symptoms have greatly reduced. My night sweats albeit they didn't disappear completely reduced to a manageable level and my skin has definitely improved and appears to be smoother and generally looks healthier.
I read an article recently which said that there was little scientific evidence that evening primrose oil does actually work however I will continue to take these as I am concerned that if I do stop I will experience the start of the menopause again. I know that this happens to women who stop HRT as this only delays the menopause so I don't want to take this risk. I feel that these evening primrose oil capsules are giving me a helping hand and anything that makes me feel better about myself is a hit with me.
Evening Primrose Oil (or EPO as I'll call it for the rest of this review) is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose plant, and then put into capsules to allow it to be taken as a natural remedy for various ailments.
There are many reported benefits associated with EPO, including helping with breast pain, eczema, pre-menstrual symptoms and acne. It is also reported to help with hormone imbalances and menopause. There were a few reasons I decided to start taking EPO. Firstly, I'd read somewhere that it can help with conception, by making the cervical mucus the right consistency for sperm to travel where it needs to be. Secondly, since coming off the pill I've been experiencing quite bad pre-menstrual breast pain and my skin has been a bit erratic, suffering from random breakouts. These are all things EPO is reported to help with.
I bought these from Boots where they cost £1.99 for 60 capsules. However, they were bought on a 3-for-2 offer which they are currently running across certain healthcare products, so I bought them with a couple of other things I needed which brought the price down. The ones I bought were 300mg, and it was recommended to take one daily with water.
The packaging is pretty bog standard for this kind of thing. It comes in a little tub with a screw lid, although the screw top lid isn't child proof. It did take a bit of effort to open the very first time, and it had a foil cover to keep the capsules fresh. But after that it's very easy to open and close the lid. The capsules themselves are oval shaped, and feel slippery on the outside, with the inside containing the oil. They are quite easy to swallow, with the coating allowing them to slip down the throat without getting stuck.
Warnings on the packaging advise you to check with your doctor before taking these, although I admit like most people I don't bother contacting my doctor before taking herbal or natural remedies. It advises that if you are epileptic, pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive you should check with your doctor before taking these. I had researched EPO online before taking these, so I knew the reason to check with your doctor if you're trying to conceive is because they can cause uterine contractions, which can cause miscarriage or other complications in pregnancy. In this case, you should only take them up to ovulation, and then stop taking them until you know whether or not you are pregnant. You should always read the packaging thoroughly, but other advise includes these not being suitable for under 12 year olds, and also they are not suitable for vegetarians as they contain beef gelatine.
As for the results, well unfortunately I didn't get on with these tablets at all. I started taking them on a Tuesday, and for the next couple of days I just didn't feel quite right. I was quiet and withdrawn, and felt low and abnormally tired. By Friday, I was a mess, having heart palpitations, a panic attack, and a meltdown in work which involved me crying in front of people and nearly walking out of my job! I can usually manage stress very well, but after taking these I couldn't control my emotions, and felt really low and like I couldn't cope with life. I was also experiencing dizzy spells, and random abdominal pains. I racked my brain to think what had changed that week, and pinpointed the EPO tablets. After a quick google search, I came across forums with other people saying the same thing, that they had been taking them for a matter of days and had become very depressed, had panic attacks, and heart palpitations. I stopped taking them immediately, and within a couple of days had returned to my normal self.
I'm not saying for one second that everyone will react in the same way to these capsules, and I have read lots of good reviews from people saying they have helped with hormone issues, acne, and breast pain. However, I can only go by my own experience, and make people aware that when the packaging advises to check with a doctor before using them, this could be because they have the potential to cause side effects. I am taking another herbal remedy, agnus castus, to help regulate my periods, and it could be that they have reacted with that. Either way, I think it's important that people are aware of the potential side effects, because if they do experience them, they'll know immediately what is wrong, rather than spending a week thinking they're losing the plot!
Unfortunately, due to personal experience, I can't give these any more than one star, but obviously for the majority of people they will work without any issues. Just be aware, if you start feeling low or panicky, stop taking these, or at least consult your doctor.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
When I had pain in my breasts my GP sent me to the hospital to get checked out. It turns out that the pain was nothing to worry about and I was advised that I could either start hormone treatment with side effects or try evening primrose oil. I chose the Evening primrose oil, they used to be able to prescribe it on the NHS but now you need to buy it from a chemist or supermarket or health food shop.
There is a huge amount of variability in the amount of the active ingredient gamma linoleic acid (or GLA) in the different brands of capsules out there. Most of them contain 100mg of Evening primrose oil but the active ingredient can vary hugely between different brands. The Boots capsules contain 45mg of GLA which is a lot higher than other brands. I was told that I could take up to 1000mg of GLA to treat breast pain so that would mean taking over 20 capsules a day, I just take two.
These are small yellow capsules which are easy to swallow, the capsule itself is made of beef gelatine so is unsuitable for vegetarians. I always take them with food because EPO can upset the stomach but I have never had any reaction to it.
These capsules are brilliant, within a few days of taking them my breast pain was greatly reduced, they are also meant to help with PMT but I have not noticed a difference there. I was delighted to notice another effect; that is my skin started to look brilliant. I have never had bad skin but it started to look really healthy and moisturised. I have since learned that EPO can be used to treat dry skin conditions.
These are a good supplement, at £3.99 per pack of 30 capsules (but normally available on special offer) they are reasonably priced too. I don't have brand loyalty so will happily take these capsules but will also happily take other brands if the price is right.