Thursday, 28 February 2008


Borage (Borago officinalis) has a long historical reputation for making the heart merry and dispelling melancholy, called ‘Euphrosium’ by Pliny due to its euphoric effect and famous for the quote ‘I, borage, bring always courage’. However, its name probably derives from the Latin ‘burra’ meaning ‘hairy garment’ – which aptly describes its furry buds and leaves. In the 19th century the young tops were boiled as a pot-herb and the flowers were preserved and candied.

Borage is used medicinally for fevers and externally to poultice inflammatory swellings and treat dry skin conditions. The oil from the seeds is very useful in premenstrual syndrome and can be taken daily in capsules for eczema. Borage can be used as a tonic for stress . It stimulates milk flow and the adrenal glands, soothes damaged or irritated tissues and the oil lowers blood pressure.

A cooling, saline, diuretic herb with mild sedative and anti-depressant effects.

CAUTION: Do not consume large or regular amounts of the foliage.

Gather leaves in the spring or summer as the plant begins to flower.

Benefits strawberries as a companion plant. Attracts bees.

PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.

'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)
'The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal' Penelope Ody MNIMH (1993)
'RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses' Deni Brown (2002)


Cheryl said...

How amazing I went to the garden centre this morning and bought some borage seeds. I have bought white and blue. Don't the bumbles just love those blue flowers! I freeze borage flowers in ice cubes and drop them into glasses of lemonade etc, they look so pretty. Lovely lovely post its so nice getting to know you.

Nutty Knitter said...

Borage is one of my favourite garden plants. Such a beautiful big plant with such delicate little flowers! And grows absolutely everywhere and under any conditions.

I have only ever used the flowers as pretty additions in salads and ice cubes.

Hedgewitch said...

Hi cheryl, Hi nutty,

Borage is one of my favourites.. I'm so glad you guys feel the same way! I like its cucumbery taste in cold drinks in the summer and it really is very pretty to have in the garden, I agree.

I would love to see pictures of it growing as a large plant in your gardens, as mine are limited by being in containers?

Angie said...

Great with Pimms!

Hedgewitch said...

hey angie!

you know, I've never tried that ... sounds nice

Alchemille said...

I planted some seeds recently and my borage is germinating...I was a little sad to find out that it's an annual, but it reseeds itself...

I've rediscovered borage lately, it's indeed a great herb, very soothing. I use it in my Wise Woman Power tea and it seems to have an effect on PMS (at least the mood swings ;).

I like both the blue and the white borage which I think looks like a bride! It's such a gracious plant...

Hedgewitch said...

it is very special, isnt' it?

yes, I agree, Alchemille .. its a shame its an annual, but its one of my favourite plants to collect seeds from .. and they seem to keep and germinate well.

that's interesting that you've found it effective for PMS - thanks for sharing your wisdom :-)