Borage

Borage
Borago officinalis
Almost all the historical descriptions of Borage refer to the herb’s abilities to bring happiness and comfort and drive away melancholia. Even Pliny called the plant euphrosinum because it made men joyful and merry. Certainly it was widely used in a variety of alcoholic drinks, and it is still a vital ingredient of summer wine cups. As Borage is very attractive to bees, its bright blue star-shaped flowers are always covered with the insects.

  • Description: Annual or sometimes biennial herb, with erect hairy stems to 60 cm, bearing ovate, alternate, rough leave s, hairy on both surfaces, 3- 11 cm long and up to 2.5 cm wide, usually without petioles. Bright blue, dropping star-shaped flowers 2 cm wide appear from early summer to mid-autumn on sparsely flowered racemes.
  • Distribution: Native to Mediterranean region; naturalized and introduced elsewhere; found especially as garden escape.
  • Cultivation: Wild plant and prolifically self-seeding. Thrives on ordinary well-drained soil in full sun. Sow seed in shallow drills in late spring or late summer.
  • Constituents: Mucilage; tannin; volatile oil; various mineral acids. Active principles not fully understood, but they act as a diuretic and sudorific.
  • Uses: (dried flowing plant, fresh leaves) Mild diuretic; once used for kidney and bladder inflammations. Used externally as a poultice on inflammations. Taken as a tisane for rheumatism and for respiratory infections. Said to stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers.
    Candied flower used for cake decoration. Fresh leaves and flowers added to salads, and fresh flowers used to decorate wine cups. Roots flavour wine.

-p. 163, The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism edited by Malcom Stuart (1979)

Borago officinalis
Borage Flower
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