Health benefits of Borage ~ Plant Care Guide
Borage is a beautiful flowering plant that grows in the wild in the Mediterranean. It is cultivated and used widely 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 an herbal supplement rather than a food product. The leaves are robust and have medicinal properties and the topper of the plant is a striking blue star shaped flower. 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 is from the Boraginaaceae family and has the proper 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. Throughout 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.
There are multiple health benefits one can get from taking Borage as a herbal supplement. One of the most important nutrients in Borage is essential fatty acids, something our body needs for good health. 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. Specifically, Borage has very high levels of GLA, gamma linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid. Borage is often used to boost GLA deficiencies in children as well to ensure proper growth.
Borage is also packed with other healthy nutrients that are great for the body. Borage is a good herbal supplement for women because it contains high levels of calcium and iron, nutrients many women are deficient in. Potassium, Zinc, B and C Vitamins, and beta carotene are packed into the Borage plant making it very nutritional.
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 overstressed. Borage is used to restore the adrenal glands to their natural balance, which in turn creates a calmer body and mind.
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.
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 it’s anti inflammatory properties. Because of research like this, Borage is now known to reduce itch and dryness associated with certain skin disorders such as eczema and dermatitis.
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.
It is not recommended that Borage be taken long term internally because of the concentration of alkaloids in Borage 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.
Ruler: Jupiter and Leo
Other Names: “Barrach” (Celtic for “man of courage”), tailwort, bee’s bread, andstarflower
Magickal Form: Blossoms, dried leaves
Borage is legendary for its spirit-lifting and courage-inducing properties. Celtic warriors drank wine flavored with borage to give them courage in battle, borage leaves and flowers were eaten for courage by Roman soldiers before they went into battle. Medieval knights wore scraves embroidered with the flowers for the same reason.
For courage, tuck a borage blossom in the pocket before any stressful situation, or drink a tea or glass of wine flavored with borage leaves.
Drinking borage tea is said to increase psychic powers and relieve symptoms of depression. Many of the most noted herbalists throughout history have considered it a very effective anti-depressant for the feeling of elation it induces.
Pliny said that borage-flavored wine was the Nepenthe of Homer, which when drunk brings forgiveness. In Elizabethan England, it was considered to lift melancholy; according to Culpeper, borage expells pensiveness and melancholy, and the candied or jellied flowers comfort the heart and spirits of those who are sick from consumption or from the passions of the heart. Gerard recommended eating this herb in a salad for joy and said that a syrup made of the flowers “purgeth melancholy and quieteth the phreneticke and lunaticke person.”
Place the fresh blossoms on an altar to bring luck and power to your spells. Sprinkle crushed dried leaves around the workplace for inspiration and business expansion. Drink the tea to increase psychic abilities.
Eating the flowers in salads aids courage and cheerfulness and ends melancholy. The flowers sprinkled in the bath are good for courage or for Jovian protection, and a cup of borage tea can help with feelings of vulnerability and disjointedness.
In Hoodoo, borage flowers in the house help bring about domestic tranquility. Borage flowers may be used alone or mixed with blue-flowered Corn Flowers, Periwinkle, Rosemary, or Forget-Me-Not. Steep the flowers to make a tea. You can also add this tea to a floor wash for a peaceful home.
You can also sprinkle it at the 4 corners of the property, the 4 corners of the house, the 4 corners of each room, and the 4 corners of the kitchen table, to restore harmony and love to the family.
Place a pinch of dried Borage flowers in each corner of a room where family fights have occurred, with a fifth pinch under the rug at the center of the room.
Because of its connections to Jupiter, this herb is associated with the Hierophant in the tarot deck.
From: Encyclopedia of Magickal Ingredients and various other sources.
Tip! Borage can be planted now in Northern Hemisphere 🙂