Native Americans made poultices from primrose plant for bruises and wounds and used its stem and leaf juices as topical remedies for skin inflammations. The leaves were taken orally for gastrointestinal complaints and sore throats. In the 17th century, evening primrose oil became a popular folk remedy in Europe, where it was known as “King’s cure-all.”
Today, primrose oil dietary supplements are promoted for atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema), rheumatoid arthritis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), breast pain, menopause symptoms and other conditions. Primrose oil may also be included in products that are applied to the skin.