Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Borage is a flowering herb full of fatty acids and antioxidants. These compounds combine to form a powerful defender of inflammation, eczema, and anxiety. Read on to find out more about the relief that borage may provide you.

Introduction

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as the Star Flower, is a herb native to parts of Asia, North Africa, and Europe [R].

Borage has been used since ancient times in Iranian traditional medicine as a tranquilizer. When consumed at proper doses, the herb offers several benefits to deal with modern ailments [R].

Components

Polyunsaturated fatty acids make up a large portion of borage [R].

The herb is an excellent source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA), the compound responsible for many of the healing powers of borage. GLA helps maintain animal cell membranes’ structure and function. It is the precursor to many vital active compounds and hormones (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes) [R].

Borage contains another fatty acid called stearidonic acid. Both stearidonic acid and GLA help treat conditions where people’s bodies lack these fatty acids, such as blood clotting, inflammation, and cancer [R, R].

Other constituents found in borage include [R, R, R]:

  • Intermedin- a protein that aids in the normal function of the gut, heart, and other processes [R]
  • Saponin- a compound that lowers cholesterol and may reduce heart disease [R]
  • Alpha-linolenic acid- an essential fatty acid that may prevent heart disease and is important in fetal development [R, R]
  • Rosmarinic acid– a fatty acid that protects against bacteria, inflammation, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and has antioxidant effects [R]
  • Flavonoids- compounds with antioxidant effects that prevent the spread of harmful cells [R]
  • Polyphenols- antioxidant compounds that protect against many chronic diseases [R]
  • Potassium, calcium, and vitamin C

Health Benefits of Borage

1) Borage Is Rich in Antioxidants

Borage’s antioxidant properties are responsible for many of its health benefits.

Borage leaves had high antioxidant activity when in hot water. Borage had high levels of tannins, flavonoids, and phenols. These compounds increase antioxidant capacity, which protects against mutations that cause cancer, diseases, and aging [R].

In one study of 38 participants, the subjects drank borage twice daily for 2 weeks. The total amount of antioxidants in their blood samples increased. This study attributed the herb’s ability to combat oxidative stress largely in its key antioxidants [R].

2) Borage Improves Brain Function

In a study (DB-RT) of 238 premature infants, the infants were given borage and fish oil supplements for 9 months after birth. They had benefits in growth and brain development. However, there was no significant difference between the 2 groups in regards to brain development [R].

In mice with an induced-brain decline, borage extract treatment helped maintain their brain function. Borage constituents reduced oxidative stress in the brain and therefore may be used for the treatment of memory impairment and Alzheimer’s disease [R].

Borage extract capsules significantly reduced depression in 19 patients in a 6-week study (DB-RCT). The borage oil contained flavonoids that contributed to antidepressant actions [R, R, R].

In a similar, 6-week study (double-blind) of 24 people, borage extract capsules significantly reduced OCD symptoms and anxiety [R].

Borage extract also reduced anxiety in rats [R].

3) Borage Protects Against Cancer

In a study of 72 subjects, individuals that regularly consumed borage had a 3x lower risk of stomach cancer [R].

In fruit flies, phenols from borage detoxified chemical particles, thus protecting them from cancer [R].

GLA from borage also caused liver cancer cell death in rats. Borage oil antioxidants also protected normal cells from oxidative stress [R].

In another study, small silver compounds from borage leaf extract reduced cancer cell growth [R].

4) Borage Protects the Heart

In an 8-week study (single blind) of 59 subjects, a combination of oils from borage and echium reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. The oil also increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lessened the severity of type 2 diabetes in the short term [R].

In a 28-day study of 30 men, the participants had their heart response to stress tested. Those given borage oil supplement experienced lower blood pressure and heart rate and better performance under stress [R].

In mice, borage oil treatment protected against heart failure and heart attacks. Unlike other drugs and anti-inflammatory medicine, borage oil did not leave deformations or scars in heart tissue [R].

A borage oil diet in mice also reduced plaque buildup in the arteries that lead to coronary heart disease. The high amount of fatty acids in the oil reinforce cell membranes and blood, which is associated with improved heart health [R].

5) Borage Reduces Inflammation

In an 18-month study (DB-RCT) of 150 participants, the participants who took borage seed oil capsules had less rheumatoid arthritis symptoms [R].

Also, several studies (DB-PCT) demonstrated that borage seed oil reduced inflammation in the lining of joints (synovitis). Thus, the need for anti-inflammatory drugs was also reduced [R, R, R].

A GLA-rich diet reduced acute and chronic (long-term) inflammation in rats with arthritis [R].

6) Borage Improves Skin Health

Borage oil contains high levels of omega-6 fats that are vital to the proper structure and function of the skin barrier [R].

Borage oil promotes a healthy skin barrier. In one study of 37 children, 3 to 4 weeks of topical borage oil treatment cleared skin symptoms of infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis [R].

In another study (DB-PCT) of 32 children with eczema, wearing undershirts coated with borage oil for 2 weeks improved their skin barriers. They also had relief from itch [R].

About 2 g of borage oil supplements a day increased skin hydration and reduced skin roughness and scaling in a study (DB-RCT) of 45 healthy women with sensitive and dry skin [R].

7) Borage Relieves Asthma

Borage can be used as a supplemental relief in reducing symptoms of asthma.

Ingesting 5 mL of borage extract 3 times daily for 1-month improved symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath, mucus production, and airway narrowing in a study (DB-PCT) of 38 patients with moderate asthma. In addition, asthmatic flare-ups and trips to the emergency room decreased significantly over the course of the study [R].

8) Borage Helps with Weight Loss

In a study (DB-PCT) of 50 obese subjects, consuming 5 g of borage oil daily for 33 months of borage oil helped formerly obese individuals reduce the amount of weight that they gained back [R].

9) Borage May Improve Bone Health

Osteoporosis is the weakening of bone and loss of bone density. As bones become more brittle, one becomes more susceptible to breaks and injury.

In mice, a 10-month borage and fish oil diet prevented age-related bone loss by reducing inflammation [R].

10) Borage May Promote Liver Health

In mice with the alcohol-induced liver disease, borage’s antioxidant properties helped protect the liver. Treatment with borage improved liver shape, reduced fat content, set liver enzymes back to their normal function, and reduced oxidative stress [R].

In another mouse model, borage oil improved fat breakdown in the liver and improved fatty liver disease symptoms [R].

11) Borage Protects Against Radiation

Borage oil fed to rats reduced liver injuries induced by gamma-irradiation. The vitamin E (tocopherols) and GLA gave borage antioxidant properties that protect the liver. It prevented free radical production and thus may help patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment [R].

12) Borage Kills Pathogens

Borage extract killed various pathogens, including E. coli. and Staphylococcus [R].

Borage extract stopped the growth of Staphylococcus, the virus that causes staph infection [R].

Borage May Fight Malaria

Alkaloid extract from borage inhibits the buildup of plaque (amyloids) in the body. It operates by reducing clumps of misfolded proteins and promotes proper folding. It is likely that malaria proteins are built in the same way that the plaque is; therefore it has the potential to inhibit malaria [R].

Side Effects

Common side effects are [R]:

Limitations and Caveats

Borage should not be taken during pregnancy. It can induce labor and harm fetal growth or cause abortion [R].

Studies on borage should be taken with caution due to the minimal amount of human trials reported. There are not many publications on side effects of long-term use.

Drug Interactions

Borage supplements can negatively interact with anticonvulsants in elderly patients [R].

Forms of Supplementation

  • Borage seed oil
  • Flower
  • Leaves
  • Tea
  • Supplements

Dosage

A recommended dosage has not been established. However, most studies used less than 2,000 mg a day [R].

User Experiences

Many users report that borage improves skin appearances and clears the redness and itch of eczema. Additionally, improvements in inflammation have also been reported.

Women note the relief in PMS and menopause symptoms provided by taking borage. However, scientific studies (RCTs) did not show any effect on PMS symptoms [R].

However, other users state that they did not see any health benefits at all.

Buy Borage Oil Capsules

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...
TWEET
0

3 COMMENTS

  • Suezen

    I was going to start taking it, but once I read the side effects, constipation, drowsiness, etc, I thought better of it. I would much rather take Evening Primrose oil, which has no such side effects.

  • Alan

    Thanks Amelia,
    I tried telling my allergy doctor to research this. She politely refused, so I had previously congratulated the FDA for its greater support of rare diseases, they basically mocked me. I am sure others here have tried to be helpful and been kicked in the jewels in gratitude, but obviously my worst sin is I’m a slow learner. Just when places like this do such a great job recommending without prejudice to people who are trying to learn how to help each other and drown fake news.

  • Amelia

    I take borage oil & evening primrose oil orally, but it wasn’t until I started piercing the capsules and applying a few drops of borage oil to my face, did I realise what a powerful anti inflammatory it is. Results were immediate.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.