Thursday, March 20, 2014

Herb Series–Borage

This herb is one I’ve heard of but never encountered. I think I would, however, love to try some of its blossoms in a nice salad or glass of lemonade!

Borage (borago officinalis) is an annual herb that is native to the Mediterranean, but can be found in other areas as a cultivated herb or even as a weed. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 1/2 to 2 feet wide, and grows best in full sun. It is often called “starflower” for its star-shaped flowers, which are primarily blue but sometimes are pink or white.

As a food, borage can be eaten as a vegetable or as a dried herb.  With a flavor like cucumber, borage leaves and flowers are edible;’ however, the stems and leaves are covered in coarse hairs, which are difficult to deal with, but will soften with cooking.. The flowers are often used in foods or as a garnish. Place them artfully on desserts, drop into drinks or toss into salads just before serving. You can freeze the blossoms, too. They have a sweet flavor, and will attract bees to your garden. Borage is a great companion plant for tomatoes, strawberries and spinach, and adds a lovely blue color to any garden.

Borage blossoms are prized for the oil that is produced from their seeds, and borage oil is used for many skin care products, including soap. Borage oil is a high source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Naturopathic specialists have used it to regulate metabolism and the hormonal system.

Borage is said to relieve gastrointestinal, respiratory and cardiovascular disorders. Borage tea has been used to relieve colds, flu, bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis and kidney inflammation.

If you plan to use any herb for medicinal or health purposes, be sure to fully examine its usage, effectiveness and side-effects. Also, check with your doctor before using any herb or supplement, especially if you take medications on a regular basis.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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