Beauty and Healing With
The borage flower Borago officinalis is well known for its
lovely blue color. The flowers have been used since Elizabethan
times for both decoration and for its healing beauty.
Recent modern research has shown that the plant may actually
stimulate the adrenal glands, encouraging the production of
adrenaline, that famous 'fight or flight' hormone that is
responsible for getting our bodies geared up during the most
stressful times in our lives.
Herbalists describe the character of the borage flower
itself as cold, moist, and slightly sweet. The leaves and
flowers are known to contain saponins, tannins, mucilage,
vitamin C, potassium and calcium. The seeds of the borage plant
contain essential fatty acids, including l-linolenic acids and
The fresh blue flowers of the borage
plant have been traditionally used to decorate salads and other
foods, and the flowers were also used to make syrups that were
used to treat coughs and colds.
However, the leaves of the borage plant have been more of a
mainstay in medicinal medicine than the pretty blue flowers.
The leaves of the plant are described as fleshy and coarse, and
they have been traditionally used to treat stress or to counter
the effects of steroid therapy.
The leaves can also be used dry in a variety of herbal
remedies. For instance, the dry leaves of the borage plant can
be used to treat dry, lingering raspy coughs and the early
feverish stages of whooping cough or pleurisy. They can also be
used to stimulate milk flow. Traditional herbalists recommend
that the borage plant leaves be harvested throughout the
The seeds from the borage plant are also used in traditional
herbal medicine. The oil extracted from the borage plant seeds
is often used as an alternative to the popular evening primrose
oil used to treat problems associated with menstrual disorders
as well as rheumatic disorders.
The oil extracted from the borage plant seeds is considered
to be soothing and healing and is also recommended for use
externally, where it can be applied to treat eczema. Borage oil
is now commonly available commercially in capsule form.
The leaves of the borage plant can be infused and taken as a
hot tea to treat lung disorders and feverish colds. Mothers who
are lactating can combine this infusion with fennel to
stimulate milk flow.
The leaves of the borage plant can also be pulped to create
a fresh juice. Naturopaths and herbalists recommend 10 ml of
juice three times a day to treat grief, anxiety or depression.
The leaves of the borage plant can also be diluted into equal
parts water to create a lotion to treat dry skin or rashes.
Capsules of borage oil can be taken daily as a supplement to
treat skin problems such as acne and eczema. They may also be
taken to help treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.