Scientific name: Borago officinalis

Common names: Burrage, Bugloss

Ayurvedic names: Gojivha

Chinese names:  Liu li ju, Bo li ju

Bangladesh names: Gaozaban

Arabic names:    لسان الثور (lisaanu’thawr)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Boragineaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Seed, seed oil, leaf, flower

Collection:  The leaf is collected when the plant comes into flower in early summer.  Best to collect dry.

Annual/Perennial: Annual

Height: Up to 1 metre

Actions: anti-inflammatory, demulcent, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, galactogogue, pectoral, tonic

Known Constituents:  Mucilage, saponins, tannins, GLA (17-28%), palmatic acid (10-11%)  check what all these ar eon Wikipedia, oleic acid (16-20%) put in order, linoleic acid (35-38%) eicosenoic acid (3.5-5.5%), erucic acid 1.5-3.5%, nervonic acid (1.5%), potassium

Constituents Explained:


Has hair on the stem and leaves.

The leaves are alternate and are 5-15cm long

Each flower has five petals shaped like a very thing triangle.  Usually the flowers are blue although they sometimes grow pink. The flowers are striking as they are star shaped with 5.

Both the flower and the leaves are edible.  Normally the young leaves are eaten because as the plant ages the leaves become covered with hair.

It has striking blue flowers, and the taste of the leaves has sometimes been compared to cucumber.

Native to Syria

It is sometimes planted close to tomato to enhance growth and repel insects.

It normally grows best with only a light covering of soil over the seeds with plenty of water.  They prefer sun. It tolerates even poor soil, but tends to grow bushier in better quality soil.

Traditional Use:

Native to north Africa and Europe, it contains up to 25% oil, which as been used for its omega 6 content.  It is considered the highest known plant source of gamma-linolenic acid

The flower has a sweet taste, sometimes said to resemble  Cucumber.

The leaves have been known to potentially contain liver toxic alkaloids.

Used for its anti inflammatory properties and ezema.

Used as a tonic for the adrenal glands.  Used during fevers and periods of recovery.  Both the leaves and seeds have been used to stimulate the flow of milk in mothers that are nursing.

The tea has been used to clean the blood, and has been used for fevers, jaundice and to help the body eliminate poisons.1  It has been used to strengthen the heart.1

Has been used as an eye wash, and as a gargle for the throat.  Sometimes the flowers are used as a colour enhancer in Pot Pourri, or as a facial steam.

Clinical Studies:

Borage (Borago officinalis) is a plant with nutritional value that is also used in traditional medicine to treat gastrointestinal disease. This study investigated the amoebicidal activity of a methanol extract of borage. 

The 50% inhibitory concentration of the extract for Entamoeba histolytica was 33 μg/mL. The 50% lethal dose of the extract for brine shrimp was greater than 1,000 μg/mL. The inhibitory concentration of the extract for Vero cells was 203.9 μg/mL. 

These results support the use of borage to prevent diseases associated with E. histolytica infection.

It has been reported that gamma-linolenic acid contained in borage oil is effective against atopic dermatitis. The clinical effects of undershirts coated with borage oil rich in gamma-linolenic acid on atopic dermatitis were evaluated. 

Thirty-two children, aged 1-10 years, were involved in the clinical control study. Sixteen had worn undershirts coated with borage oil everyday for 2 weeks, and 16 had worn non-coated undershirts as a placebo. 

Their symptoms were assessed on a 4-point scale. Those children who had worn undershirts coated with borage oil for 2 weeks showed improvements in their erythema and itch, which were statistically significant. Transepidermal water loss from the back was decreased. In the placebo group, there were no statistically significant differences. 

The undershirts coated with borage oil were found to be statistically effective, and had no side-effects on children with mild atopic dermatitis.


Leos-Rivas C, Verde-Star MJ, Torres LO, Oranday-Cardenas A, Rivas-Morales C, Barron-Gonzales MP, Morales-Vallarta MR, Cruz-Vega DE. “In Vitro Amoebicidal Activity Of Borage (Borago Officinalis) Extract On Entamoeba Histolytica.” 2011 July-August.

Kanehara S, Ohtani T, Uede K, Furukawa F. “Clinical Effects Of Undershirts Coated With Borage Oil In Children With Atopic Dermatitis: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” 2007 December.

Source material:


Other names: Burrage, starflower

Latin name: Borago officinalis

Family: Boraginaceae

Common part used: Leaves and flowers

This annual herb originated from Syria, but later was naturalized all through the Mediterranean region, and also South America. 

The plant can reach sixty to one hundred centimeters in height, and it’s covered with rough, whitish, prickly hairs all over the stem and leaves. The stem is hollow; the leaves are simple and alternate. They are dark green in colour, about five to fifteen centimeters long, oval and pointed. 

The flowers have five narrow petals, usually they are bright blue in colour, but sometimes can be found in pink or white. These colour schemes go especially well with the star like shape of the flowers and their interesting black anthers, which give the whole arrangement a unique touch. The flowers are grouped into big gatherings and bloom all simultaneously. Borage can bloom continuously for the most of the year. 

Borage has been always grown for use in medicine and culinary practise, though in the world of today its greatest attraction is seed oil, which is rich in gamma-linolenic acid.

As for cooking, borage is used in two ways: as a vegetable or as a dry herb. When it is fresh, it has a taste close to cucumber, that is why it’s widely used in salads. The flowers are sweet like honey, so they are employed as a component and at the same time decoration to the deserts. 

For medicinal use borage is valuable for being able to regulate metabolism, hormonal systems and misbalance caused by menopause. It is a useful remedy for bronchitis, colds and asthmas, thanks to its anti-inflammatory characteristics and balsamic effects. 

Borage is rich in potassium, mineral acids and calcium, besides, its stem and leaves provide a saline mucilage, which is beneficial for the activity of kidneys. 

Borage is also good as an accompanying plant: if cultivated near tomatoes, it will improve their taste and will stimulate their growth.