Evening Primrose - the oil comes from the seeds
Oenothera biennis is also known as common evening primrose. It is a species of Oenothera native to eastern and central North America. Its leaves are edible and it was traditionally used as a leaf vegetable. Evening Primrose Oil is extracted from the mature seeds of the plant.
Starflower Oil is also known as Borage Oil
Borage is also known as a Starflower, is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region but also grows in gardens in the UK. The blue star-shaped flowers can be eaten as a vegetable, it was traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses however today it is primarily cultivated for commercial purposes, as an oilseed.
Rich in Omega-6 fatty acids (GLA)
Evening Primrose Oil and Starflower Oil are used as a dietary sources of essential fatty acids. They are very rich sources of a type of Omega-6 fatty acid called Gamma Linolenic Acid or GLA. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids because they are necessary for health, but the body cannot produce them.
Is one better than the other?
The only difference between the two types of oil is that Starflower (borage) Oil contains about twice as much GLA as Evening Primrose Oil - in fact starflower is the highest known plant-based source of GLA. As the concentration of GLA in capsules is higher it means that fewer capsules are needed to provide the minimum level of 240mg GLA.
Relieves symptoms of PMS
Evening Primrose Oil and Starflower Oil are commonly used to help reduce the pains associated with premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS). The GLA appears to be converted into molecules that counteract biochemical changes in the body that might underlie PMS. As the Starflower Oil contains about twice as much GLA as Evening Primrose Oil, it is often said to be a superior treatment for PMS.
Role as an anti-inflammatory
A number of clinical studies have shown GLA to be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, with subjects reporting an improvement in joint tenderness, joint swelling, physician global assessment and pain. One promising study was a placebo-controlled trial of 56 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis-participants received 2.8 g GLA and showed significant improvements related to joint pain, stiffness and grip strength at six months and progressive improvement in control of disease activity at one year. A smaller study found that a combination of evening primrose oil and fish oil (Efamol) significantly reduced the need for conventional pain relievers.