Borage - Borago officinalis
Borage - Borago officinalis
Borage - Borago officinalis
Borage - Borago officinalis


Borago officinalis

Borage is a deep-acting nervine for those that have exhaustion and low spirits. Borage can also be used for adrenal exhaustion and thyroid issues.

  • Plant Family: Boraginaceae
  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Starflower
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, Stems, Leaves & Seeds
  • Side Effects: Borage should not be used by children or those with liver conditions; also avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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About Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual celeb of the family Boraginaceae. Due to its starry appearance, it is commonly pronounced as starflower. Other than starflower, it is also recognized as bee bush, bee bread, and bugloss. It serves as a bee hot-spot; attracting honey bees, bumblebees, and small native bees.  It is recorded that this bee hot-spot was celebrated among beekeepers as they grew it to attract honey bees.

Apart from attracting bees, this ancient plant has been employed by mankind since the Roman era due to its commendable medicinal activities. It can grow up to a remarkable height of 2 to 3 ft. A fine sheath of bristles is splayed all over its stem and leaves. It has true blue colored flowers that contain five perfectly triangular petals. Both the leaves and flowers are edible.

Borage has a long history of its medicinal use. Its leaves are used to help aid a fever, cough, and management of depression. It is also used as a diuretic for blood purification, to ward off inflammation of lungs and for promotion of sedation.

The oil that is extracted from its seeds holds plenty of active ingredients that are responsible for its purported pharmacological activities. It contains palmitic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, nervonic acid, and eicosenoic acid.


Growing Borage is like a piece of cake. One can clearly sail with it both in a container and garden bed. It manifests the process of re-seeding a lot so, confining this witty plant to a container is considered wise.

All it needs is a sunny sheltered region with a moist, fertile soil that has a good drainage system. The seeds can be sown in the garden bed directly when all the risks of frost have surpassed and the temperature is of about 60°F.

To get a jump on the season, the seeds can be sown in an indoor container to be transplanted in the garden bed in late spring. Heating mats are employed for the provision of required temperature i.e. 60°F. After germination, when seedlings are large enough to handle, they are planted in a sheltered sunny position.

Borage is an annual plant that concludes its lifecycle by the end of its growing season and dies. But in the case of Borage, it self-seeds in a highly prolific manner that promises it’s never-ending life cycle.

The seed of Borage germinates within 5 to 7 days. The plant initiates blooming in the late spring and continues the act throughout the summer. Its nectar brimmed flowers attract pollinating insects to the garden. If the plant is not deadhead and left on its own, then it self-seeds enthusiastically to keep up with the tradition.


The leaves of Borage plant are used to complement a salad as its taste is reminiscent of the taste of cucumber, and to an extent cabbage too.

They can be harvested anytime but it is made sure to do so while wearing gloves. The young ones are preferred more because they possess fewer hairs.

The flowers are picked when they are fresh and are used to garnish culinary dishes.

Harvesting seeds is a matter that needs a lot of attention. The faded flowers are picked and dried separately. Later, the dried flowers are either crushed or shaken in a bag to dis-join the seeds from the flowers. The seeds are usually for propagation and making of borage oil.

The flowers and leaves are simply snipped with a pair of scissors or just pluck them off with your fingers. On the other hand, seeds are harvested by drying the faded flowers so that the seeds can detach easily. Any brown withered portion is discarded.

The harvested flowers and leaves wilt very quickly so their fresh form is quite exclusive. The only way to preserve their flavor active ingredients is to air dry them.

They are spread over newspaper or any sort of sheet. They are arranged in a way that allows good air circulation. For an impatient being, it is instructed to place them in the oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. They may take around three hours to dry completely and are supposed to be checked upon after every 20 minutes to ensure


This unique plant is utilized in many ways to bring its medicinal uses into play.

  • Tincture- Infuse freshly chopped borage leaves & flowers in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea- Fresh borage flowers or leaves are used along with honey and lemon (optional) to make a perfect pot of borage tea.
  • Decoction- Dried borage leaves or flowers are simmered in water to form a decoction.
  • Salve- Borage oil is used with other oils like lavender and beeswax to make a soothing salve.
  • Syrup- Borage flowers and leaves (either fresh or dried) are simmered with sugar dissolved water to preserve the flavor of borage for the rest of the year.
  • Infused oil- Borage leaves & flowers are infused with a carrier oil (olive oil) to form borage infused oil.