name = Borage

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Borage flower
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Lamiales
familia = Boraginaceae
genus = "Borago"
species = "B. officinalis"
binomial = "Borago officinalis"
binomial_authority = L.

Borage ("Borago officinalis" L.), also known as "starflower" ( [ گل گاوزبان ایرانی] is Echium amoenum ) is an annual herb originating in Syria, but naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. It grows to a height of 60-100 cm (2-3 feet), and is bristly or hairy all over the stems and leaves; the leaves are alternate, simple, and 5-15 cm (2-6 in) long. The flowers are complete, perfect with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. Flowers are most often blue in color, although pink flowers are sometime observed. White flowered types are also cultivated. The flowers arise along scorpiod cymes to form large floral displays with multiple flowers blooming simultaneously, suggesting that borage has a high degree of geitonogamy. It has an indeterminate growth habit which may lead to prolific spreading. In milder climates, borage will bloom continuously for most of the year.

Characteristics and uses

Traditionally borage was cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, although today commercial cultivation is mainly as an oilseed. The seed oil is desired as source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3, cis 6,9,12-octadecatrienoic acid), for which borage is the highest known plant-based source (17-28%). The seed oil content is between 26-38% and in addition to GLA contains the fatty acids palmitic acid (10-11%), stearic acid (3.5-4.5%), oleic acid (16-20%), linoleic acid (35-38%), eicosenoic acid (3.5-5.5%), erucic acid (1.5-3.5%), and nervonic acid (1.5%). The oil is often marketed as "starflower oil" or "borage oil" for uses as a GLA supplement, although healthy adults will typically produce ample GLA through dietary linoleic acid.

Borage production does include use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage, with a cucumber like taste, is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid thesinine, has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored edible things, is often used to decorate dessert. It is notable that the leaves have been found to contain small amounts (10 ppm of dried herb) of the liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids: intermedine, lycopsamine, amabiline and supinine.

Vegetable use of borage is common in Germany and the Spanish regions of Aragón and Navarra. Although often used in soups, one of the better known German borage recipes is the Green Sauce (Grüne Sauce) made in Frankfurt. The leaves and flowers were originally used in Pimms before it was replaced by mint. Naturopathic practitioners uses of borage for regulation of metabolism and the hormonal system, and consider it to be a good remedy for PMS and menopause symptoms such as the hot flash. Borage is sometimes indicated to alleviate and heal colds, bronchitis, and respiratory infections in general for its anti-inflammatory and balsamic properties. The flowers can be prepared in infusion to take advantage of its medicinal properties. The oleic and palmitic acid of borage may also confer a hypocholesterolemic effect.

Tea made from the dried flowers is a traditional calming drink in Iran (Echium amoenum ). It has a rich purple color that turns bright pink by adding a few drops of lemon juice.Fact|date=February 2008

See also

* Flower
* Herb
* List of repellent plants
* Plant

External links

* [ How to Grow Borage]
* [ Purdue University Center for New Crops & Plant Products]
* [ Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages]
* [ Comprehensive profile for "Borago officinalis" from the website]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Borage — Bor age, n. [OE. borage (cf. F. bourrache, It. borraggine, borrace, LL. borago, borrago, LGr. ?), fr. LL. borra, F. bourre, hair of beasts, flock; so called from its hairy leaves.] (Bot.) A mucilaginous plant of the genus Borago (B. officinalis) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • borage — flowering plant used in salads, mid 13c., from Anglo Norm., from O.Fr. borage (13c., Mod.Fr. bourrache), from M.L. borrago. Klein says this is ultimately from Arabic abu arak, lit. the father of sweat, so called by Arab physicians for its effect… …   Etymology dictionary

  • borage — [bʉr′ij, bôr′ij] n. [ME < OFr bourage < ML borrago, burrago; said to be < Ar abū ʼarak, “father of sweat,” from diaphoretic use of the plant] any of a genus (Borago) of plants of the borage family, esp. an annual ( B. officinalis) with… …   English World dictionary

  • borage — ► NOUN ▪ a herbaceous plant with bright blue flowers and hairy leaves. ORIGIN Latin borrago, perhaps from an Arabic word meaning «father of roughness» (referring to the leaves) …   English terms dictionary

  • borage — /bawr ij, bor , berr /, n. 1. a plant, Borago officinalis, native to southern Europe, having hairy leaves and stems, used medicinally and in salads. Cf. borage family. 2. any of various allied or similar plants. [1250 1300; ME burage < AF borage …   Universalium

  • borage — vaistinė agurklė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Agurklinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, prieskoninis, vaistinis, medingas nuodingas augalas (Borago officinalis), paplitęs šiaurės Afrikoje, vakarų Azijoje, pietų Europoje. Iš jo gaminami maisto… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • borage — noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French bourage, from Medieval Latin borrago, probably from Arabic dialect *bū‘araq, alteration of Arabic abū ‘araq, literally, source of sweat; from its use as a diaphoretic Date: 14th century a coarse… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Borage — An herb, also known as the starflower, that has long been used for medicinal purposes. Borage contains a substance called gamma linolenic acid which, it is thought, may inhibit the spread of tumors by restricting the growth of their blood vessels …   Medical dictionary

  • borage — bor|age [ bɔrıdʒ ] noun uncount a plant with rough leaves used for giving a fresh flavor to food. Borage is an herb …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • borage — [13] The plant name borage comes via Old French bourrache from Latin borrāgo. Various words have been advanced as an ultimate source, including late Latin burra ‘shaggy cloth’, on account of its hairy leaves, but in view of the fact that the… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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