Benefits of Borage
Benefits of Borage

1. Borage
Borage is a beautiful flowering plant that grows in the wild in the Mediterranean. It is cultivated and used widely throughout Europe for its healing properties and for a nice addition to a salad. Borage is also cultivated in the US, where it is more popular as an herbal supplement rather than a food product. The leaves are robust and have medicinal properties and the topper of the plant is a striking blue star shaped flower. The flowers are edible as well and are often found candied for cake decorations or made into sweet syrups. In Italy it is served as a side dish much like a serving of vegetables.

2. What is Borage
Borage is an annual that is a native of Europe but has been widely naturalized in other areas. The stem and leaves are covered with coarse, prickly hairs. The bright blue flowers are star shaped. The fresh plant has a salty flavor and a cucumber like odor.

3. What is it used for
Borage leaves have been used as a potherb and in European herbal medicine since the Middle Ages, and are mentioned by Pliny, Dioscorides, and Galen. The name borage derives from the medieval Latin burra, meaning rough coated, which refers to the hairs. An alternative explanation suggests a corruption of the Latin corago (courage), as in Gerard s rhyme ego borago gaudia semper ago (I, borage, bring alwaies courage), in line with its reputation as an herb to dispel melancholy. Borage leaves and flowers were added to wine and lemon juice to make the popular beverages claret cup and cool tankard. Borage leaves also have been used for rheumatism, colds, and bronchitis, as well as to increase lactation in women. Infusions of the leaves were used to induce sweating and diuresis.

4. Health benefits
There are multiple health benefits one can get from taking Borage as a herbal supplement. One of the most important nutrients in Borage is essential fatty acids, something our body needs for good health. Essential fatty acids must be ingested from diet. An essential fatty acid deficiency can directly affect mood, internal inflammation and various cellular functions. In order for metabolic processes such as cardiovascular functions to work properly, they depend on the proper levels of essential fatty acids in the body. EFA s also improve hair and nail growth and appearance. Specifically, Borage has very high levels of GLA, gamma linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid. Borage is often used to boost GLA deficiencies in children as well to ensure proper growth.

5. Healthy nutrients
Borage is also packed with other healthy nutrients that are great for the body. Borage is a good herbal supplement for women because it contains high levels of calcium and iron, nutrients many women are deficient in. Potassium, Zinc, B and C Vitamins, and beta carotene are packed into the Borage plant making it very nutritional.

6. Soothing qualities
Borage is well known for its soothing qualities and has been used to treat nervous conditions. Its natural sedative effects have been used for lifting the spirits and softening the nervous edge some people experience. Borage works well to ease the depression and mood swings often associated with menopause and menstrual cycles as well and is a nice alternative to traditional prescription medications.

7. Borage oil
Borage can be found in a caplet form, or as a liquid extract of the plant. Borage oil is distilled from the seeds of the plant and used topically or taken internally. It is not recommended to be taken long term internally due to the concentration of alkaloids in Borage that can damage the liver. A typical dose of the caplet or extract form is one to two grams per day. The dried leaves can be brewed into a tea, which has been said to have a refreshing cucumber like flavor.

8. Anti inflammatory
Modern use of borage primarily comes from the use of the seeds to make borage seed oil, which contains a high content of the essential fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Other current commercial sources of GLA include evening primrose oil, and black currant seed oil. GLA is part of the inflammatory mediation process. Thus GLA supplements might be expected to have an impact on a variety of diseases and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and atopic eczema. Limited information involving the use of borage seed oil is available on treating any of these conditions. Most studies were done with other sources of GLA. Clinical tests verify that GLA has health and medical benefits.

9. Other uses
Borage may also be useful in the treatment of osteoporosis. Fish oil plus borage seed oil has shown improvement in bone density in a study of elderly osteoporotic women. A review of trials of GLA for impaired nerve function in diabetics concluded that GLA may hold promise for treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Information is limited for the use of borage in these medical conditions.

10. What is the recommended dosage
Borage seed oil has been given in doses of 1.4 to 2.8 g/day in several clinical trials for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. The content of gamma linolenic acid is between 20% and 26% of the oil. Don t take borage supplements or borage seed oil without talking to your doctor first, especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding. And make sure to ask your doctor about any medications you re already taking and how they might interact with borage seed oil. Borage seed oil has not been studied in children.

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Benefits of Borage

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