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Borage is a common weed native to the Mediterranean region and is thought to originate from southern Spain and Morocco and is a member of the comfrey family (Boraginaceae). Other names for Borage are Starflower, Bee Bush, Bee Bread and Bugloss. The name may derive from the Latin word “burra”, meaning hairy garment and referring to the glabourous leaves of this species. Borage leaves have been used as a potherb and in European herbal medicine since the Middle Ages and are mentioned by physicians Pliny, Dioscorides and Galen. An alternative explanation suggests it is a corruption of the Latin “corago” (courage), as in Gerard’s rhyme “ego borago gaudia semper ago” (I, borage, bring alwaies courage). This is in line with its reputation as an herb to dispel melancholy. Borage leaves also have been used for rheumatism, colds and bronchitis, as well as to increase lactation in women.
Before the invention of ice, Borage was used in a cooling drink called a “cool tankard” or “claret cup”, consisting of wine, water, lemon, sugar and Borage leaves and flowers. In European traditional medicine, the heart was believed to store the vital spirit and circulate it around the body via the arteries. Thus “heart medicines” were usually medicines for the spirit —for depression and confusion. Lemon Balm, Motherwort and Borage were specifics for matters of the heart. These remedies were also used to protect the heart from excess heat in high fevers and Borage was much favored for this.
The energetics and flavour of Borage are cool, moist, slightly sweet, salty and mildly acrid. Borage has an affinity towards the lungs, heart, kidneys, bladder, large intestines, adrenals, respiratory system, nervous system, digestive system, musculoskeletal system and female reproductive system. For adrenal and nervous system exhaustion combine Borage with Oat Seed, Holy Basil or Ashwagandha Root. For lung support mix Borage with Red Clover, Wild Cherry Bark or Horehound. For digestion combine Borage with Chamomile, Meadowsweet or Licorice Root.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Borage to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
Cautions & contraindications:
It is not recommended that Borage leaves be taken long term internally because of the concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA’s) that can damage the liver. Most sources specify low doses and limited use to 4-6 weeks. Young leaves have been shown to contain fewer PA’s than older ones.
Do not take Borage if you are taking anti-coagulants without discussing it with your doctor first. Borage can cause nausea, cramping, bloating and headache in some, although they are relatively mild. Currently, not recommended during pregnancy or lactation, but it has been traditionally used as a galactagogue. The hairs on the fresh leaves can irritate the skin.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider before the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.
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