Borage, also known as Starflower, is a beautiful flowering plant that grows in the wild in the Mediterranean. Borage is from the Boraginaceae family and has the Latin name of Borago officinalis. Borage is also known as the Bee plant and Bee Bread because the blue purplish star shaped flower attracts bees all summer long.

History of Borage use

For many years of recorded history, Borage has been used to treat a multitude of ailments and to improve overall health. The Romans would mix Borage tea and wine prior to combat, most likely to fortify themselves for the battle.

Where is Borage grown?

Borage is cultivated and widely used throughout Europe for its healing properties, and for a nice addition to a salad. Borage is also cultivated in the US, where it is more popular as a herbal supplement rather than a food product.

Which part of the Borage plant is used?

Borage leaves are robust and have medicinal properties, and the flower of the plant is a striking blue star, hence the name Starflower. Borage oil, derived from the seeds of the Borage plant, is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid. The flowers are edible as well and are often found candied for cake decorations or made into sweet syrups. In Italy it is served as a side dish, much like a serving of vegetables.

Borage health benefits

There are multiple health benefits one can get from taking Borage as a herbal supplement:

Borage as a source of essential fatty acids (EFA’s)

One of the most important nutrients in Borage is essential fatty acids, which our body need for good health. Specifically, Borage has very high levels of GLA, gamma linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid.

As mentioned above, Borage oil is derived from the seeds and is a rich source of the essential fatty acid calleed gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid. GLA is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and potential benefits for hormonal balance. Essential fatty acids must be ingested from diet.

An essential fatty acid deficiency can directly affect mood, internal inflammation and various cellular functions. In order for metabolic processes such as cardiovascular functions to work properly, they depend on the proper levels of essential fatty acids in the body. EFA’s also improve hair and nail growth and appearance.

Here are a few ways that GLA can help with women’s hormonal health and the menopause:

Hormonal Support: GLA is a precursor to prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that play a role in various bodily functions, including hormonal regulation. Some women use Borage oil to support hormonal balance during menopause.

Skin Health: GLA is often cited for its potential benefits for skin health. Menopausal women may experience changes in skin texture and elasticity, and some individuals use Borage oil for its skin-nourishing properties.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Inflammation can contribute to various symptoms associated with menopause, such as joint pain and mood swings. The anti-inflammatory properties of GLA found in Borage oil can help to address these symptoms.

Borage can be used to boost GLA deficiencies in children too, to ensure proper growth.

Other healthy nutrients in Borage

As well as EFA’s, Borage is packed with other healthy nutrients that are great for the body. It is a good herbal supplement for women because it contains high levels of calcium and iron, nutrients many women are deficient in. PotassiumZincvitamin Bvitamin C and vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, are packed into the Borage plant making it very nutritional.

Borage Calms the Body and Mind

The adrenal glands in our body work very hard all day to prepare our body for fight or flight situations, constantly releasing adrenalin into the body. Adrenal fatigue can occur when the body is over stressed. Borage is used to restore the adrenal glands to their natural balance, which in turn creates a calmer body and mind.

Borage as a Natural Sedative

Borage is well known for its soothing qualities and has been used to treat nervous conditions. Its natural sedative effects have been used for lifting the spirits and softening the nervous edge some people experience. Borage works well to ease the depression and mood swings often associated with menopause and menstrual cycles as well and is a nice alternative to traditional prescription medications.

Anti-inflammatory Effects of Borage

There are many current ongoing studies involving the health benefits of Borage. Borage is currently being researched as a possible treatment for rheumatoid arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Borage for Skin Health

Because of research like this, Borage is known to reduce itch and dryness associated with certain skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis.

Borage Dosage

Borage can be found in a caplet form, or as a liquid extract of the plant. Borage oil is distilled from the seeds of the plant and used topically or taken internally. It is not recommended to be taken long term internally due to the concentration of alkaloids in Borage that can damage the liver. A typical dose of the caplet or extract form is one to two grams per day. The dried leaves can be brewed into a tea, which has been said to have a refreshing cucumber like flavor.

Where to Buy Borage

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Borage/Starflower Herb Notes / Side Effects

It is not recommended that Borage be taken long term internally because of the concentration of alkaloids that can damage the liver. Do not take Borage if you are taking anti-coagulants without discussing it with your doctor first. Nausea, cramping, bloating and headache are side effects that Borage can cause, although they are relatively mild.

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