Borago officinalis, Boraginaceae. This plant is also known as bugloss and burage.

The dried leaves, flowers and seeds are the part of the plant used.

The leaves should be collected when the plant is coming into flower in the early summer. Take each leaf off singly and reject any that are marked in any way. Do not gather when the leaves are wet with rain or dew.

Functions of borage

Borage acts as a restorative agent for the adrenal cortex, which means that it will revive and restore the glands after medical treatment with cortisone or steroids. There is a growing need for remedies that will assist the adrenal gland deal with the stress that it is exposed to both internally and externally.


  • may be used as a tonic for the adrenal glands over a period of time. It can be helpful when weaning off cortisone therapy to encourage the adrenal glands to produce their own hormones. It may also be useful during menopause when the adrenal glands take over estrogen production. These properties are present in the seeds which contain gamma linoleic acid.
  • has a cooling, detoxifying effect on the body. It increases sweat production, hastening excretion of toxins via the skin and the urinary system.
  • can be taken as an infusion to clear skin problems such as boils and rashes for arthritis and rheumatism and during infections to bring down fever.
  • is also good for clearing eruptions in diseases such as chicken pox and measles.
  • has decongestant and expectorant properties which make it a useful remedy for colds and flu, sore throats and chest infections.
  • leaves and seeds increase milk production in nursing mothers.
  • has a reputation as a heart tonic, it calms palpitations and revitalises the system during convalescence and is said to give courage and help relieve grief and sadness.


Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Borage is an annual that grows up to 3 feet (1 metre). It prefers dry somewhat poor soil in full or partial shade.

Borage can be grown by planting seeds in spring when they will germinate quickly. Borage can become a pest in mild climates and will readily self seed. The plants take up a lot of root room and because they have a tap root they don't transplant well. They should be placed at least 12 inches (30 cm )apart.



Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Marcin, M. M. 1990, Herbal Teas: Growing Harvesting and Brewing. Collins.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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