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Borage – (Borago officinalis)


Borage is an annual herb that is native to Syria but is now grown in gardens all over the world. It grows about two or three feet tall. The stems and leaves are covered with bristly hairs. The star-shaped flowers are bright blue or pink. The herb self-seeds readily, and a single plant will come back the next year to create its own forest of borage plants. It grows just about anywhere with well drained soil and a good amount of sun.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – The seed oil has been proven to reduce cardiovascular reactivity to stress by lowering the systolic blood pressure and heart rate. It prevents inflammation of the gastrointestinal membranes during allergic reactions and infections and it might aid iron absorption. It is an expectorant and is useful for chest congestion. Studies are showing great promise for the oil as a herbal medicine for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, as it relieves inflammation. The oil may also be helpful for asthma, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Externally – Borage makes a good eyewash when eyes are irritated. The oil may be helpful for eczema and other conditions of the skin.

Other Uses – Borage is edible. The leaves and stalks are eaten as a vegetable or made into sauces, soups and salads. It tastes like cucumber. The flowers are often sugared and used to decorate desserts. The herb has been added to vinegar and wine to enhance the flavor. The flowers are dried in Iran and used to make a tea that is a deep purple in color which turns bright pink when a drop or two of lemon juice is added.

Borage makes a good companion plant to tomatoes, improving their flavor. Having the plant available to honeybees increases their honey production. It is also used in homeopathy and as a flower essence. The flowers and roots produce a dye. The oil is often used in cosmetics as it softens and moisturizes the skin.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Combining borage oil with evening primrose oil helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. It may be combined with fenugreek and red raspberry leaf in a tea to encourage milk production in lactating mothers.

Parts Used

Leaves, seeds, flowers – The leaves, seeds and flowers are both used medicinally. The seeds are pressed to make oil.


Excessive use of borage may create an overproduction of prostaglandins in the body. If you are pregnant, this could cause problems, so avoid during pregnancy. The oil may make it more likely that certain people will have seizures. The greens of the palnt contain alkaloids called pyrrolizidine that may cause liver damage if large quantities are ingested or if you already have liver problems.

Side effects to watch for include excessive fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, widespread itchiness, yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes and pain or swelling in the upper right portion of the abdomen. The oil may cause soft stools, bloating or belching.

Borage may interact with anticoagulants like heparin and warfarin and antiplatelets like Ticlid. Do not combine with other herbs that thin the blood.

Preparation and Dosage

Capsules should be taken in doses of 2500 to 12,000 mg of oil. After 6 to 12 weeks, inflammation relief was documented on this dose.

Borage Herbal Remedies Top