Borage

Borago officinalis Boraginaeeae

Considered a cure for "melancholia" in ancient times, borage Is a hardy annual herb and an excellent companion plant, helping to deter tomato hornworm and Japanese beetles, and stimulating the growth of strawberries.

readily, in 3 to 5 days. Thin the plants to a spacing of 1.5 ft (45 cm).

• Maintenance Keep the soil moist, and fertilize in spring.

• Pests and diseases Generally pest- and disease-free.

• Harvesting and storing Harvest borage year-round as required. Dry the leaves in a very cool oven or in a well-aired place, out of direct sunlight.

W- Herbal medicine

Bora go officinalis. Part used: seed oil. Borage seed oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that is also found in evening primrose oil. GLA exhibits antiinflammatory activity; some research suggests that it may be of therapeutic value in the treatment of dry and itching skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. The latest evidence suggests that better therapeutic results may be

During the Crusades, borage was infused in slirrup cups and offered to Crusaders mounted on their horses in readiness for departure for the Holy l.and. Also, ladies traditionally embroidered its starlike flowers onto scarves, which they gave to their chosen knights before they went inio combat.

Borage [Borago officinalis)

achieved when GLA and other omega-6 oils are taken in combination with omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as those found in flax seed and fish.

The leaves are used as a poultice for sprains, bruises and inflammation, and in facial steams for dry skin.

For the safe and appropriate use of borage seed oil, consult your healthcare professional. Do not use borage seed oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Remove the sepals from flowers and use them in salads, or crystallize (see page 380) for use as cake decorations.

Other common name Starflower Parts used Leaves, flowers

In the first century ct, Pliny declared that borage made men merry and glad.

Borage forms a rosette of large ovate leaves before sending up hollow flowering stems to 3 ft. (90 cm). The whole plant has a cucumber scent, is coarsely hairy and can irritate sensitive skin. The flower is five-petaled with a white ring in the center and a cone of black stamens.

• Varieties There are three species of borage, but only 8. officinalis is used as an herb. There are three color variants. The common form has intense blue flowers, but some plants have flowers suffused with pink. There is also a rare white form.

• Position Borage requires a sunny, well-drained position and prefers a well-dug and composted soil.

• Propagation Sow plants directly into the ground in spring and in autumn. You can sow them in pots, but you should transplant them while they are young, because they develop a large taproot. Borage germinates

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