It’s exciting to discover how products from our natural world can be so beneficial to us. In a way, it feels like nature looks out for us by providing a plethora of natural remedies to help us feel stronger, healthier, and safer. One of those gifts of nature is borage (Borago officinalis), and more specifically, borage oil.
Bright blue star
Borage, also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, or bugloss, is native to the Mediterranean region where it was popular amongst the Greeks and Romans. Its small, blue, and star-shaped flower gives it a unique appearance, and is a favourite of honey bees.
While the leaves and flowers can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads, stews, and soups, they’ve also been used traditionally for fever, cough, and depression. But it’s the seeds that harness some of the most intriguing health properties.
The secret’s in the seeds
Borage seed oil contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Borage oil has shown promise in clinical research for its benefits for rheumatoid arthritis, growth and development in premature infants, as well as improving the function of the lungs in those with respiratory issues.
Borage is found in its seed oil form, and supplements in capsule or softgel versions are widely available at natural health stores. Check with the staff at your local health store or your health care practitioner to discuss whether borage oil is right for you.
Borage oil may yet have more uses than you may think. Research continues to study borage oil—and its abundance of GLA—for the following conditions.
- menopausal and premenstrual symptoms
- atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- cardiovascular disease
- dementia; Alzheimer’s disease
- atherosclerosis; fatty liver disease