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Borage



    Scientific Names

    Borage
    • Borago officinalis L.
    • Boraginaceae
    • Borage family

    Common Names

    ivyBugloss
    ivyBurrage
    ivyCommon bugloss
    ivyLangue de Boeuf
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    Parts Usually Used

    Herb, flowers, leaves
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Borage is a self-seeding annual plant; the hollow, bristly, branched and spreading stem grows up to 2 feet tall. The leaves are bristly, oval or oblong-lanceolate, the basal ones forming a rosette and the others growing alternately on the stem and branches. The striking, blue or purplish, star-shaped flowers grow in loose racemes from June to August. Bees are very fond of borage.
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    Where Found

    Grows in the Mediterranean countries and is cultivated elsewhere. Native to Europe, Asia Minor, and North Africa and has spread to North America.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Aperient, diaphoretic, demulcent, febrifuge, galactagogue, pectoral, tonic
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    Biochemical Information

    Mucilage, tannin, traces of essential oil. Seeds: Gamma Lineolinic Acid (GLA)
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Borage tea has a cucumber-like flavor. Made from fresh or dried leaves; served hot or cold. At one time was used to flavor wine.

    In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, borage was known for its cooling quality and refreshing flavor and was said to make men merry. Also referred to as the "herb of courage".

    The lovely blue star shaped flowers are used to enhance cold drinks, gelatin, fruit salads and candied to decorate cakes and confectioneries. Only the fresh flowers are used. Borage is an easily grown annual but likes plenty of space in a sunny location.

    There is some controversy over the source of the borage name. Some say the Latin Borago is a corruption of corago, from cor, the heart, and ago, I bring. Others point out that a connection is apparent between the plant's name, its hairy appearance, and the low Latin term for flock of wool, burra, and its derivatives, borra (Italian) and bourra (French), both of which mean much the same thing. Still a third opinion suggested comes from an apparent connection between the Celtic term, barrach, which means "a man of courage". Ancient Celtic warriors drank wine with borage to give them courage before going into battle. Called Langue de Boeuf and also bugloss, one signifies Ox-tongue in Greek, and the other signifies the same in French.

    Borage is believed to have originated in Aleppo, a city in northwestern Syria.

    In medieval times, borage tea was given to competitors in tournaments as a moral booster.
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    Uses

    Said to reduce fever, cough, sore throat, colds, decongestant for the lungs, expel poisons of all kinds due to snake bites, insect stings, itch, ringworms, tetters, scabs, sores, ulcers, a gargle for sores in the mouth and throat, loosens phlegm, and for restoring vitality after a convalescence. It is credited with antidotal effect against poisons. Useful in nervous conditions. Recommended for pleurisy and peritonitis, heart, adrenal glands, and entire digestive system, jaundice. Leaves and seeds stimulate the flow of milk (excessive milk flow is checked by taking periwinkle); the fresh herb used as an eye wash, and as a poultice for inflammations. The juice from a crushed plant applied direct to the skin will destroy ringworm. Contact with the fresh leaves may cause dermatitis in sensitive persons. Said to have been prescribed 400 years ago for melancholy. Seeds helpful for PMS.

    Externally, a poultice of leaves applied to inflamed swellings has been helpful.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Prolonged use of borage is not advisable.

    Infusion: use 1 tsp. dried flowers or 2-3 tsp. dried leaves with 1/2 cup water; steep for 5 minutes and strain. Take for 1 week at a time.
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    Nutrient Content

    Potassium
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    How Sold

    Extract: mix 1 tsp. of extract in juice; drink daily.

    Capsules: take up to 3 capsules per day.
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    Warning

    Contact with the fresh leaves may cause dermatitis in sensitive persons.
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    Resource Links

    LiveStrong.com: How Does Borage Oil Help the Body?

    LiveStrong.com: Borage Supplements

    LiveStrong.com: Borage Oil & Eczema

    LiveStrong.com: Borage Oil & Bilberry

    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Borage

    U.S. National Library of Medicine: Borage Seed Oil

    Bastyr University: Borage Oil Relieves Periodontitis

    PubMed.gov: Borage oil in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

    PubMed.gov: Clinical inquiries. Do nonmedicated topicals relieve childhood eczema?

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    Bibliography

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

    Buy It! Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature's Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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