The Healing Beauty of Borage

By: Scott Meyers

The borage flower (Borago officinalis) is well known for its lovely blue color. The flowers have been used since Elizabethan times for both decoration and for their healing qualities.

Recent research has shown that the plant may actually stimulate the adrenal glands, encouraging the production of adrenaline, that famous 'fight or flight' hormone that is responsible for getting our bodies prepared to do battle. Herbalists describe the borage flower as cold, moist, and slightly sweet. The leaves and flowers are known to contain saponins, tannins, mucilage, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. The seeds of the borage plant are known to contain essential fatty acids, including y-linolenic acids and cis-linoleic acids. These fatty acids are nutritional, and are the components of soap.

The fresh blue flowers of the borage plant have been traditionally used to decorate salads and other foods, and the flowers were also used to make syrups that were used to treat coughs and colds. The leaves of the borage plant have been more of a mainstay in herbal medicine.

The leaves of the plant are described as fleshy and coarse, and they have been traditionally used to treat stress or to counter the effects of steroid therapy. The leaves can also be used dry in a variety of herbal remedies. For instance, the dry leaves of the borage plant can be used to treat dry, lingering raspy coughs. They can also be used to stimulate milk flow for nursing mothers. The leaves of the borage plant can also be used to treat the early feverish stages of whooping cough or pleurisy. Traditional herbalists recommend that the borage plant leaves be harvested throughout the growing season.

The seeds from the borage plant are also used in traditional herbal medicine. The oil extracted from the borage plant seeds are often used as an alternative to the popular evening primrose oil. This oil is often used to treat problems associated with menstrual disorders. It also has a beneficial effect on rheumatic disorders. The oil extracted from the borage plant seeds is considered to be soothing and healing; it is also recommended for use externally, where it can be applied to treat eczema. Borage oil is now commonly available commercially in capsule form.

The leaves of the borage plant can be infused and taken as a hot tea to treat lung disorders and feverish colds. Mothers who are lactating can combine this infusion with fennel to stimulate milk flow. The leaves of the borage plant can also be pulped to create a fresh juice. Naturopaths and herbalists recommend 10 ml of juice three times a day to treat grief, anxiety or depression. The leaves of the borage plant can also be diluted into equal parts water to create a lotion to treat dry skin or rashes. Capsules of borage oil can be taken daily as a supplement to treat skin problems such as acne and eczema. They may also be taken to help treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Alternative Medicine
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