Herb Of The Day: Borage

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BorageBorage image source – Wikimedia – lic. under Creative Commons 2.5

Borage is a small flowering plant with an ancient history and a wide variety of uses. Borago officinalis is its official botanical (Latin) name.

Once very popular in Europe, borage is used less nowadays than in old times and is even sometimes considered a weed – which is a shame as to the herbalist it is a highly esteemed and useful plant.

Borage has had some wonderful alternative names in Olde England – such as Bee Plant, Bee Bread, Ox’s Tongue, Talewort, Starflower and Cool Tankard. The old folk-names are often a giveaway as to the popular use of the day and sure enough, borage was once used to attract bees and as an additive to ales and cordials which gave a “cooling” or refreshing flavor.

Borage was thought by the ancients to increase a person’s sense of well-being when added to wine. In old times, flowers of various kinds were often added to wine or other alcoholic drinks – not only for flavoring but for the herbs’ medicinal effects. The alcohol content of the wine both performed an alcohol extraction on the active components of the herb and provided a way for the beneficial qualities of the flowers to be preserved for longer.

Borage has been used medicinally since ancient times for numerous conditions and ailments including diabetes, menopause, arthritis, congestion, melancholy and dermatitis.

Below are some useful resources for learning more about / using Borage:

Our own “feature-length” Borage page has a much more detailed write-up with uses, facts, scientific reports, lore and history.

Borage oil is widely available and can be purchased online. It is often added to other products containing “Omegas” – such as flax and evening primrose.

What do you think of borage? Any experiences using it? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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