The borage plant comes from the Arabic words abu rash, which means “the father of sweat.” This could be a clue to the solid sudorific properties of its flowers. La Quintinine, the gardener of King Louis the fourteenth of France, regarded borage as an exquisite vegetable and put it in a unique place in the royal garden, among other depurative plants. Despite that, and maybe because he paid no attention to them, the famous king suffered from diverse ailments: arthritis and gout, among others.
Healing Properties and Indications
The entire plant contains a high amount of mineral salts, especially potassium nitrate, as well as calcium and silicon salts. It also contains mucilage and flavonoids. Its more outstanding properties are the following three:
- Sudorific: (mainly its flowers). The borage plant promotes the production of sweat, through which impurities and the metabolic waste flow inside the blood are eliminated. Hence, it is helpful for infectious and fever diseases (measles, chickenpox, scarlet fever, etc.). Since it also has expectorant properties, it is especially recommended for acute bronchitis, bronchial catarrhs, influenza, and colds.
- Diuretic: It increases urine production and eliminates urea, uric acid, and other waste substances. It is thus recommended for those people suffering from gout, arthritis, or kidney inflammation. The combination of its sudorific and diuretic properties makes the borage plant an excellent blood depurative. The best season to gather and use the leaves is in the spring, when depurative treatments are advisable. To achieve a more substantial effect, we recommend you associate it with other plants that are depurative.
- Emollient and anti-inflammatory (reduces skin and mucosal inflammation) due to its content in mucilage and prostaglandins. It is externally applied as a poultice to alleviate gout pain and to ripen furuncles and abscesses. Good results are also achieved when applied to eczema and minor burns.
The borage seed oil also has interesting properties such as:
- Hypolipemic: It is rich in linoleic acid (an unsaturated fatty acid). This oil has hypolipemic properties (decreases cholesterol levels in the blood).
- Hormone regulator: Borage seed oil regulates the hormonal system and normalizes the menstrual cycle for menstruation disorders.
Borage Plant Scientific Facts
- French: Bourrache.
- Spanish: Borraja.
- Environment: Native to North Africa, though cultivated all over Europe and America. In southern Europe, it grows wild in sandy, sunny soils.
- Description: Herbaceous plant of the Boraginaceae family, which grows from 30 to 70 cm high. The whole plant is covered with a layer of fine white hair. Its flowers are quite attractive: blue, violet, or white, with five petals.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaves, the flowers, and the oil of its seeds.
Tasteful vegetable: Borage is in many places regarded as an exquisite vegetable, with reason. When tender, its leaves can be used raw in salads or cooked with potatoes or other vegetables.
Greater Borage Plant
In Central America, another species of borage (Heliotropicum Indicum L.) is similar in appearance to common borage and is called greater borage. Its composition and properties are very similar to those of borage. Its juice, fresh, is used as a lotion against itching skin, especially for scabies. The Spanish name for this species is Borrajon.
How to use Borage
- Infusion with 30-40 g of flowers and/or leaves per liter of water. Strain to eliminate the tiny hairs and sweeten with honey if desired. When a sudorific effect is required, use the flowers. Drink from three to five cups daily.
- Fresh juice of the leaves, before blooming, as a spring depurative. Mash them and strain with a fine cotton cloth, or use an electric blender. Drink a glass of fresh juice every morning on an empty stomach. It can be combined with the juice of other depurative plants.
- Oil of seeds: There are preparations in the form of pearls or capsules. Take 75-150 mg three times a day.
- Poultices with mashed leaves, applied on the affected areas. The leaves can be raw or blanched in boiling water. In this case, the application must be applied hot, which will help ripen furuncles and abscesses.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 746, 747. Print. [borage plant]