Borago officinalis Common name: Borage
Parts used: Leaves, flowers & seeds (oil)
Constituents: Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (lycopsamine, intermedine, amabiline, supinine), choline, mucilage, potassium and calcium salts, tannins, saponins. Fatty acids including omega-6-fatty acids (gamma-linoleic acid)
Medicinal actions: Leaf: Diuretic, demulcent, emollient, refrigerant, adrenal restorative, galactagogue, expectorant. Oil: inflammatory modulating, anti-atheroslcerotic, anti-platelet, hypolipidemic.
Medicinal use: Borage acts as a diuretic and is restorative to the adrenal cortex. It will renew and revive the adrenal glands after a medical treatment with cortisone or steroids. It can also be used as a tonic for the adrenals over a period of time. It may be used during fevers and especially during convalescence. It has a reputation as an anti-inflammatory herb and can be used to stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers. The oil can be used to treat atopic dermatitis, dysmenorrhea, PMS, cyclic mastalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, hypercoagulative states, dyslipidemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetic neuropathy.
Pharmacy: 2 tsp dried herb/cup; 1 cup BID. Tincture: (1:5, 60%), 1-10 ml BID. Juice pulp from fresh leaves, 10 ml BID. Seed oil: 500 mg capsule: 1-4 capsules daily.
Contraindications: Avoid high doses over long term.
Toxicity: Borage leaf does contain small amounts (2-10 ppm in commercial leaf samples) of pyrrolizidine alklaoids and should therefore be used with caution in any person with known or suspected liver disease and in children.
Interactions: Theoretically the leaf should not be combined with hepatotoxic drugs. The oil is a platelet inhibitor, and may theoretically potentiate anticoagulants.