Scientific: Borago officinalis [WikiPedia]
Composition: Borage contains
potassium and calcium, combined with mineral acids, and the highest
known plant source of gamma-linolenic acid (an Omega 6 fatty acid, also
known as GLA). The fresh juice affords 30 per cent, the dried herb 3 per
cent of nitrate of potash. The stems and leaves supply much saline
mucilage, which when boiled and cooked likewise deposits nitre and
common salt. It is to these saline qualities that the wholesome
invigorating properties of Borage are supposed to be due.
Appearance: Borage is a native
plant of Southern Europe, having become naturalized all over Europe and
the United States. It is a prolific grower, having a tendency to sprout
up in abandoned lawns and junkyards. At one time borage was an
essential herb for beekeepers, grown to help bees produce more honey.
Traditionally, it was also grown as an ornamental, or boiled as a pot
Parts Used: Seed, or flower and herb.
Common Uses: It’s not only a
favorite plant of the honey bees, but also bumble bees and small, native
bees. It has served many purposes from the time of ancient Rome to the
present. Pliny the Elder believed it to be an anti-depressant, and it
has long been thought to give courage and comfort to the heart. One old
wives’ tale states that if a woman slipped a bit of borage into a
promising man’s drink, it would give him the courage to propose. At one
time it was grown by beekeepers to boost honey production. It can be,
and has been grown as an ornamental plant, but is also edible and
medicinal. Borage has been traditionally used in medical applications
for centuries. It stimulates milk production, works as an astringent and
serves as an adrenal stimulant. Borage is also used to calm the nerves
and can be used as a diuretic. The most common application for borage is
the borage seed oil, as mentioned. This is extracted from the seeds.
The leaves can also be dried for infusions or even in bulk form for
powder which can be added to your dog’s food. Borage is generally quite
safe for consumption, although there is a high amount of PAs included
that may lead to liver damage. The PAs, a potentially toxic compound,
are presented in a very low form and are generally believed to be
harmless, but you should be aware of them nevertheless. Animals would
need to ingest a large quantity in order to see any negative effects.
Borage seed oil is used for skin disorders including
eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and neurodermatitis. It is also used for
rheumatoid arthritis (RA), stress, premenstrual syndrome (PMS),
diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), acute
respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alcoholism, pain and swelling
(inflammation), and for preventing heart disease and stroke. Other uses
include a hormone problem called adrenal insufficiency, for “blood
purification,” to increase urine flow, to prevent inflammation of the
lungs, as a sedative, and to promote sweating.
Topic Specific Research:
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and
other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe
and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any
other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.
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