What is Borage?
Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, and bugloss, is a medicinal herb with edible leaves and flowers. But why should you grow it? (besides the fact that it's in your lollipop stick) Here's why we heart Borage.
When put to use in the kitchen, Borage is used as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, with a cucumber-like taste, it's often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is often used to decorate desserts and cocktails.*
This herb can be used in soups, salads, lemonade, strawberry-Borage cocktails, preserves, jelly, various sauces, cooked as a stand-alone vegetable, or used in desserts in the form of fresh or candied flowers, to name a few.*
It's been used in holistic medicine for a long time.
Borage is native to the Middle East and has an ancient history in war as an enhancement for bravery and courage.* The ancient Greek naturalist Pliny said that the plant "maketh a man merry and joyful."*
There is a historical thoughtfulness with the herb, which states that ancestors used it in the salad for the "Joy of Mind", which means it is anti-hyperactive and an anti-depressant in its pure form without any side effects.*
Traditionally, Borage has been used in hyperactive gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, such as gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, diarrhea), airways (asthma, bronchitis), cardiovascular, (cardiotonic, antihypertensive and blood purifier), urinary (diuretic and kidney/bladder disorders).*
Nowadays, we love it for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
The most beneficial aspect of using Borage oil either topically on the skin or internally in capsule form is it has strong anti-inflammatory effects.* Borage seed oil contains a fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and is the richest source of GLA. GLA seems to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Borage oil containing GLA can be helpful for treating a wide range of both short- and long-term illnesses including: PMS symptoms, bone loss and osteoporosis, ADHD symptoms, skin disorders (including eczema or dermatitis), menopause symptoms (including hot flashes and night sweats,) hormonal imbalances (including adrenal insufficiency, ongoing fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome), rheumatoid arthritis pain, dealing with stress, managing diabetes, promoting breast-milk production, respiratory distress (ARDS), bronchitis, colds, coughs and fevers, inflammation causing pain and swelling, preventing heart disease and stroke.*
It's great for your garden.
Borage is a wonderful plant to have around the garden. In the garden, the uses of borage include repelling pests such as hornworms, attracting pollinators like bees, and aiding any plants it is interplanted with by increasing resistance to pests and disease. It is also helpful to, and compatible with, most plants — notably tomatoes, strawberries and squash.*
More on how to grow...
Your biodegradable Borage seed-bearing stick is best sown in full or partial sun under ½ inch (1 cm) of soil so it’s easy to cover with a few handfuls of soil or compost. The plants can easily grow to be 3 feet (91 cm) tall and 2 feet (61 cm) wide, so give them room to grow, and let them shade your partial sun plants.*
Borage adds trace minerals to the soil it is planted in, and is good for composting and mulching. It's an annual, but readily self-seeds and thrives in full sun. It is so proficient in self-seeding, in fact, that once a Borage plant has established itself in your garden, you will likely never have to reseed again. Treat this easy-to-keep herb well and it will reward you with scores of beautiful edible flowers, lush foliage, medicinal oil and fertile soil.*