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Borage (Borago officinalis)
An annual plant, borage grows in middle and southern Europe, as well as in northern Africa. Because of its high mucilage content, this herb is often used to soothe areas of both external and internal Inflammation. Borage contains high amounts of tannic acid, which constricts inflamed tissue due to its astringent properties. The combination of mucilage and tannic acid make borage extremely useful in treating many conditions. Because borage also contains gammalinolenic acid (GLA), it may be used to treat conditions that depend on the body?s ability to produce prostaglandin E1(1).
Borage was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a heart sedative. It was believed that the herb could instil courage in the user. During the Middle Ages, borage steeped in wine was used to dispel melancholy (2).
Due to its mucilage content, borage may have expectorant and Cough suppressant properties. It may also have demulcent and emollient properties that make it useful for reducing swelling, Inflammation, Pain, and Infection of Skin sores, Wounds, bites, Rashes, etc. Borage also has astringent and diuretic properties.
Parts of the plant used: SEED, LEAF, FLOWER.
For rheumatoid Arthritis, adult dosage is 1.4 g daily for two months (3).
For Eczema, borage oil dose adjusted to 360 mg of GLA daily (4).
Borage seeds contain small amounts of liver toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). Use of PA-free borage oil products is recommended, and total amount of PA consumed per day should not exceed 1 ?g.
Use during Pregnancy or lactation is not recommended.
Use of borage oil in schizophrenic patients and/or in those taking phenothiazines may lead to temporal lobe epilepsy.
Sedatives and hypnotics (e.g. phenobarbital and meprobamate), and beta-adrenergic blocking agents (e.g. propranolol) can inhibit the anti-inflammatory action of borage oil.
1.Horrobin DF. The importance of gamma-linolenic acid and prostaglandin E1 in human nutrition and medicine. J Holistic Med 1981;3:118-39.