Borago officinalis (Borage)

Overview of Borage (Borago officinalis)
Borage is known as an herb for bravery. In my view it is primarily an adrenal herb. It modulates the production of adrenaline and acts as a restorative of the adrenal cortex. A good herb for coming off of corticosteroids, and is helpful in all cases of inflammation. Can be combined with Nettle or iron-rich foods for anemia.
Borage cheers the spirits and is great for any cases of exhaustion from stress, trauma, overwork, or drug. Increases milk flow. A great herb overall, beneficial to almost all people in this world, and would be beneficial to bring the herbal wines back into fashion. Hot infusion (strong tea) is also good for respiratory ailments and cleansing.
Sample Formula (Tea):
Borage (Borago officinalis) 5g
Nettle (Urtica dioica) 5g
Oatstraw (Avena sativa) 10g
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) 5g
Total 25g
“This formula is excellent when people complain of being run down, have low energy, feel exhausted, feel like they are overworked, seem overwhelmed or have been enduring stressful periods in their life – whether that is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. They are all useful for restoring and nourishing the nervous system and adrenal glands.” -Pacific Rim College monograph. 
Interpretation of the Sample Formula: An anemia, adrenal and kidney, blood pressure, nutritive and nervous system tonic sort of
tea. I like it very much. Borage combines well with Nettle both for the iron enhancement effect, as well as because one is adrenal supporting and the other is kidney, which are companions in the body and especially essential to general health and well-beingOatstraw is commonly combined with borage in cases of stress and exhaustion, and is generally a nervous system tonic as well as a nutritive. Oatstraw is a feel-good herb, and the nourishment is usually well taken. Skullcap casts a nervous system light upon the entire formula, will increase neuron regeneration, and adds electricity to the blend. Skullcap, as well as Borage, is commonly used for run-down or burnt out conditions, primarily working upon the CNS. If you’d rather work on the ANS, Vervain could be substituted for Skullcap; or, follow Rosari Kingston’s advice, and start with Vervain, then use this formula afterwards to tone the entire nervous system. 

Family: Boraginaceae
Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, seed oil

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (lycopsamine, intermedine, amabiline, supinine)
Potassium and Calcium salts

Fatty acids including omega-6-fatty acids (gamma-linoleic acid)

Whole plant is rough with white, stiff, prickly hairs. The round stems, 1 1/2 ft high, are branched, hollow, and succulent. Leaves are alternate, large, wrinkled, deep green, oval and pointed, 3 inches long or more, and about 1 1/2 inches broad, the lower ones stalked, with stiff, one-celled hairs on the upper surfaces and on the veins below, the margins entire (smooth, not serrated), but wavy. Flowers are bright blue or pink, star-shaped, distinguished from every other plant in this order by their prominent black anthers, which form a cone in the centre. The fruit consists of four brownish-black nutlets. 
Leaf/flower: Adrenal gland restorative, Anti-depressive, Galactagogue, Demulcent, Emollient, Anti-anemic (assists assimilation of iron), Diuretic, Refrigerant
Seed oil: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-rheumatic
“Infusion in wine to forget the past.” – Homer
“Cheers the heart and raises drooping spirits” – Dioscorides
“Syrup of flowers comforts the heart, removes malaise, and quieteth the frantic or lunatic person.” -Gerard
“Purifies the blood, acts as a lymphatic, strengthens the heart, helpful against jaundice, fainting,
swooning, and other passions of the heart” – William Salmon
According to Culpepper, the fresh herb preserved in syrup increases the cooling and moistening properties.
“Throwing it into cold wine is the best way to utilize.” –John Hill 
“Diuretic, demulcent, emollient. Much used in France for fevers and pulmonary complaints. By nature of
its saline constituents, it promotes the activity of the kidneys and is thus employed to carry off feverish
catarrhs. Externally it is a poultice for inflammatory swellings.” – Grieves. (Note Grieves’ understanding of the relationship between the kidneys and lymphatic elimination). 
“Improves resistance to chills and fever by toning the sweat pores and basic immunity.” – Wood
“Borage seed oil is used in leaky gut, colitis, gastritis and gastric ulceration.” –Bartram
Flowers were traditional ingredient in cough drops.
Leaves thrown in wine were once a popular beverage. 
Seed oil often combined with Evening Primrose oil to remedy hypercholesterolaemia (high levels of cholesterol in the
Medicinal Actions:
-Adrenal fatigue, overwork, exhaustion, too much responsibility, low milk supply, menopausal depression, PMS, mastalgia (breast pain), postpartum nervous exhaustion, colds and flu, dry rasping cough, bronchitis, catarrh (inflammation of mucous membranes due to excess mucus, particularly respiratory), congestion, pleurisy, external use to defer wrinkles.
-Helpful for coming off of corticosteroids (due to adrenal support). Best used long-term for this effect.
-Prevents inflammation in gastroinstestinal mucosa, allergy / infection, and assists with iron absorption (CombineNettle (iron-rich) + Borage).
-Rosari Kingston recommends “Starting on Vervain (Verbena officinalis) (for exhausted menopausal women), then Borage to
tone the entire system from the hypothalamus down. Or follow with Lycopus virginicus (it is further assisted by Avena sativa).” (Formula: Vervain + Borage).
-Borage seed oil, topically, for eczema or other chronic skin conditions (e.g. psoriasis), wounds, running sores,
Therapeutic Dosages: Tea (dry) 8-14g per day; Tincture: 0.7-1.6ml three times per day, 2.1-5ml / day, 15-35ml per wee, 1:3 (dried), 1:2 fresh. 
Cautions & Contraindications
Avoid the oil in cases of epilepsy (GLA content), possibly during pregnancy, in cases of liver weakness / in combination with hepatotoxic drugs. The leaves contains small amounts of Pyrrolizidine Acids (2-10 ppm in commercial leaf samples) which are believed to cause damage to the liver. 
The caution regarding PAs in my opinion is over-exaggerated. Studies done testing PA toxicity to the liver utilise the isolated chemistry of one extracted phytochemical in high quantities, a dispensation entirely distinct from using the synergistic blend of the whole leaf. When used in therapeutic doses borage is safe and effective. Still, best to avoid in cases of liver weakness, if symptoms of liver weakness manifest, or the aforementioned cautions. 
Ordinary soil. Propagated by division of root stocks in spring or by seeds in middle of march to May, in drills 18 inches apart, seedlings thinned to 15 inches per row. If left alone, will self-seed readily. Seeds can also be sown in the Autumn, those sown then will flower in May, while those sown in the Spring will not flower till June. Gather leaves when plant is coming into flower. Strip them off singly and reject any that is stained or insect eaten. Pick only on a fine day, when the dew is dry. 
Role in permaculture: Herbaceous layer, pollinator attractor, dynamic accumulator (creates large amount of foliage which can be chop-dropped), weed suppressant, nutrient accumulator (potassium, calcium, etc.). 

This Post was all about Borago officinalis (Borage)..

If you've read the entire article, well done! You're well on your way to increasing your knowledge of natural food and health and escaping the cave. Please leave a comment if you have any additional details, comments, or questions. Sign up to the newsletter for discounts and updates, follow us on one of our social media, and I hope to see you again in a later post by Plato's Garden. If you are seeking an Iridology reading, an herbalist, or to walk a path of detoxification, take a look at our website.
Justin McArthur

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *