Borage (Borago Officinalis) plant medicinal uses and side effects

Borage plant is an edible, annual herb which is self-seeding. It grows to 2-3 feet. You see bristles on the stem and leaves of the plant. Leaves are alternate, simple oval or lanceolate, and 10 cm long.

It has blue flowers with narrow, pointed petals. The flower grows in spare clusters and resembles a star, so it is called Starflower. Some species of the Borage has pink flowers. Others have white flowers. The flowering season is from June-October.

Borage (Borago Officinalis) plant medicinal uses and side effects

Common names

Its common name is beebread. The other names include Burrage, talewort, and starflower.

Botanical name or family

Its botanical name is Borago Officinalis. It belongs to the Boraginaceae family.

Geological places where borage plant grows

It is a native of the Mediterranean region. People cultivate it in other parts of the world such as Europe and North America. It grows satisfactorily in the gardens of the UK. You find it in Arkansas and West Helena. In Canada, it grows in Vancouver. In India, you can propagate it from stem cuttings.

Borago Officinalis flowers and fruits

Borago Officinalis medicinal uses and health benefits

The leaves, flower, and oil from the plant find use in traditional medicine. Since the dried herb loses it effect if stored for more than a year, the leaves and flowers are used fresh. The oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is an omega-6 fatty acid. It has high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C.

  • Regulate hormonal system: By regulating the hormone system, Borage helps to keep the person healthy. Having Borage often with your meals helps keep your metabolism right.
  • Strengthen the immune system: The immune system protects us against attack by pathogens. The Borage helps make the immune system stronger.
  • Cure for irritable bowel syndrome: If you have irritable bowel syndrome, take Borago Officinalis and you will soon have relief. This is because Borage has a soothing effect on the muscles of the stomach.
  • Help treat pneumonia: You can treat pneumonia with Borage. Have the tea made from the leaves of the plant twice a day.
  • Used as a diuretic: Borago Officinalis exhibits good diuretic properties. It helps to improve the bladder function. This removes the toxic substances from the body.
  • Useful for chronic kidney inflammation: By having Borage you can relieve conditions of kidney inflammation. Borage restores the health of the kidney fast.
  • Herbal treatment for urinary tract infections: When you have Borage, it flushes your bladder. It removes all bacteria that are present in the bladder. You will soon be rid of the bladder infection.
  • Cures gastritis: We call stomach inflammation as gastritis. Borage helps reduce the inflammation and cures gastritis.
  • Helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s disease begins as the failure of synaptic functions. It then becomes neuro-degeneration and neural loss. Studies show that use of Borago Officinalis can improve the resistance to the disease.
  • Good anti-oxidant property: The good amount of vitamin C helps fight diseases. This antioxidant property helps destroy all the free radicals in the body. This protects the healthy cells in the body.
  • Help to treat mouth ulcers and throat infections: Often used as mouthwash, Borage is good for removing the bacteria in the mouth. It counters infections of the throat. Ulcers in the mouth will soon vanish.
  • Useful for treating depression: You can get relief from depression by having the tea made from the leaves of the Borage plant. Have the tea twice a day for best results.
  • Lower blood pressure: Borage has the property of lowering blood pressure. Have the borage as a vegetable or make a juice of the Borage and have it daily.
  • Help prevent allergies: The antioxidant nature of Borago Officinalis helps prevent the attack of pathogens. It subdues allergies and reduces inflammation.
  • Used as a sudorific: The borage stimulates the sweat glands to produce sweat that cools the body. This is useful for treating colds, fevers and bronchitis.
  • Good for people with arthritis and gout: Borage is useful for fighting inflammation. Due to this, people with gout or arthritis will find the use of Borage useful. It will reduce the swelling and lessen the pain.
  • Cure for skin wounds, rashes and infections: One can use Borage to keep the skin clear. It helps heal the wounds and fights infections. It is also useful for treating rashes.
  • Good for bleeding gums: Bleeding gums result from infections. Borage helps fight the pathogens and restores the good health of the gums.
  • Helps prevent macular degeneration: Macular degeneration occurs due to a lack of fatty acid. We see a good amount of fatty acid present in borage. This prevents the macular degeneration.
  • Has sedative action: This is due to the presence of niacin/nicotinic acid that shows positive action against nervousness, stress and anxiety.
  • Help treat menstrual problems: Women who have problems with their menstrual cycle can rectify it by having Borage often.
  • Alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome: Most of the people with premenstrual syndrome have bouts of depression, hot flushes and depression. Having Borage will help lessen the symptoms.
  • Relief for rheumatic pain: Rheumatic pain comes due to swelling of the joints. Borage will reduce the pain by subduing the inflammation.
  • Treats atherosclerosis condition: This is a condition of the blood vessels. Deposits of plaque line the blood vessels. This could lead to severe complications. By having Borage, you can reduce the deposits and have healthy blood vessels.
  • Treatment for itchy, inflamed skin: Borage loves the skin and improves the health of the skin. Apply the poultice of the leaves of the Borago Officinalis plant on the skin. This will reduce the itching and inflammation.
  • Good for lactating mothers: Borage tea is used to improve the milk secretion in lactating mothers.
  • Useful for treating gastritis: Borage promotes digestion and helps stabilize the stomach. When you have inflammation of the lining of the stomach borage soothes it and makes the stomach normal.
  • Relief from insect bites: Make a poultice of the crushed leaves of the Borage plant. Apply this to rashes, stings and insect bites. It clears up the skin fast.
  • Used for a hangover: Make a tea with the dried leaves and flowers of the Borage plant. This will cure your hangover.

Side effects of borage

The borage contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. This harms the liver. But, the level of this toxic alkaloid is low. Pregnant or lactating women should avoid the use of Borage.

When the Borago Officinalis plant comes in contact with the skin, it might cause skin dermatitis. People suffering from schizophrenia or epilepsy must not take Borage.


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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