Borage Borago officinalis
Borage, a hardy annual, is also nicknamed “bee’s bread” because of the bees that pollinate it and love to hover around its flowers.
The stems are hollow and succulent; the leaves are alternate, wrinkled, and about 3 inches long. Its beautiful blue, star like flowers are accented with black anthers.
Borage is a lovely plant which usually grows to about 1 1/2 feet high. Its branches can extend out to a width of about 3 feet, creating a wonderful rounded shape.
Borage, which likes to grow with strawberries and looks attractive planted among other herbs and flowers, is thought to help discourage insects from attacking nearby plants.
Medicinally, borage has a calming and cooling effect and can help break fevers. In Europe, borage tea has been used traditionally as a strengthening tonic for convalescing patients.
Borage is a cooling, cleansing herb used for detoxifying the system and for any condition associated with heat and congestion. Borage increases sweat production, and has a diuretic action, hastening excretion of toxins via the skin and the urinary system. Borage tea can be taken to clear skin problems, such as boils and rashes, for arthritis and rheumatism, during infections and to bring down a fever.
Borage is also good for clearing children’s eruptive diseases such as measles and chickenpox, and for feverish colds, coughs and flu.
Borage has a decongestant and expectorant action in the respiratory system and makes an excellent remedy for catarrh, sore throats and chest infections.
The mucilage in borage soothes any sore, irritated condition of the throat and chest. It has the same action in the urinary system and the digestive system, making it useful for gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
The leaves and seeds increase milk supply in nursing mothers.
Borage has an ancient reputation as a heart tonic; it calms palpitations and revitalizes the system during convalescence and exhaustion.
Borage has a relaxing effect and is said to give courage and help relieve grief and sadness.
It stimulates the adrenal glands which can prove valuable in countering the effects of steroids and helpful when weaning off steroid therapy to encourage the adrenal glands to produce their own steroid hormones.
Borage is also useful during the menopause when the adrenal glands take over estrogen production. These properties are also present in the seeds which contain gamma linoleic acid.