The Many Uses for Evening Primroses
Evening primrose is an early spring to late summer plant that has long been used for its healing and fragrant properties, but only recently grown for its beauty. For the most part the plant was found growing in the wild, a native meadow dweller that spread via wind and animal distribution. Even now, it is found growing wild more than in cultivated gardens, but its many uses are changing that.
If you are interested in growing evening primrose for the beauty and fragrance it can add to your garden, you’ll be interested in finding out about all the other uses it has.
Generations of women have been using evening primrose as a way to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with PMS. It is thought that the extra amounts of fatty acid present in the seeds of evening primrose help relieve the pain, but either way the acid is beneficial to both men and women. Supplements of primrose oil can be purchased or you can eat the dry seeds after they have dropped from the flowers in the fall.
That same fatty acid is able to help relieve the pain that is often associated with arthritis and endometriosis, both diseases that are a result of fatty acid conditions. The oil of evening primrose is rubbed into the skin in this case, but the best option is to purchase the oil directly from a health store in order to get a nice concentration of the oil and its benefits.
Alternate to Parsnips
In some cuisine, primrose roots are used instead of parsnips, but the roots have to be used at just the right time or the flavor is off. The longer primrose is growing the more intense the roots become and their sharp flavor will overwhelm any dish you add them to.
Baking with Primrose Seeds
When the seeds of the primrose have fallen in the fall, you can harvest them, dry them on a clean towel in a dark cabinet and then use them in your baking. Not only are they healthy, but they have a rich nutty flavor that gives any dish they are used on a nice touch. Use them like you would poppy seeds and sprinkle them on top of muffins and bread, or add them to salad and snack mixes.
Tips for Growing Evening Primrose
Growing your own evening primrose plants is easy in most hardy zones because the plant is native and does well in drought and dry locations where it is able to adapt to the weather conditions. Plant in a full sun location that resembles an open meadow environment as much as possible with good drainage and loose soil. Choose a perennial variety if you want to keep the plant growing in the same garden bed from year to year, otherwise allow some of the seeds to fall and reseed themselves among the other flowers in the bed.