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Borage

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What other names is Borage known by?

Bee Plant, Beebread, Borage Flower, Borage Leaf, Borage Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Borago, Borago officinalis, Borraja, Bourrache, Bourrache Commune, Burage, Burrage, Common Borage, Common Bugloss, Cool Tankard, Feuille de Bourrache, Fleur de Bourrache, Huile de Bourrache, Huile de Graines de Bourrache, Langue de Bœuf, Ox's Tongue, Pain-des-Abeilles, Talewort, Starflower, Starflower Oil.

What is Borage?

Borage is a plant. Its flowers and leaves, as well as the oil from its seeds are used as medicine.

Borage seed oil is used for skin disorders including eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and neurodermatitis. It is also used for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), stress, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), alcoholism, pain and swelling (inflammation), and for preventing heart disease and stroke.

Borage flower and leaves are used for fever, cough, and depression.

Borage is also used for a hormone problem called adrenal insufficiency, for "blood purification," to increase urine flow, to prevent inflammation of the lungs, as a sedative, and to promote sweating. Borage is also used to increase breast milk production and to treat bronchitis and colds.

Borage is applied to the skin for infantile seborrheic dermatitis and is also used in a dressing to soften the skin.

In foods, borage is eaten in salads and soups.

In manufacturing, borage is used in skin care products.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Improving the function of the lungs in critically ill patients. There is some evidence that borage seed oil, when taken by mouth in combination with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), might reduce the number of days spent in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the length of time a breathing machine is needed by patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • Growth and development in premature infants. Infant formula supplemented with fatty acids from borage oil and fish oils seems to improve growth and development of the nervous system in infants born early, especially boys.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).There is some evidence that taking borage seed oil in combination with conventional painkilling or anti-inflammatory medications might help decrease symptoms of RA after six weeks of treatment. The improvement appears to last for up to 24 weeks. Improvement is measured as a decrease in the number and severity of tender and swollen joints.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Itchy, red skin (eczema). Taking borage seed oil by mouth does not seem to improve eczema in adults or children.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Asthma. Early research suggests that taking borage oil daily for 12 months does not improve asthma symptoms.
  • A dental condition called periodontitis. Early research suggests that taking borage oil daily for 12 weeks improves gum inflammation but does not reduce plaque in people with periodontitis.
  • Skin conditions in infants. There is some evidence that topical application of borage seed oil might be helpful for infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It seems to heal the condition within 1 to 3 weeks.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Diabetes.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Alcoholism.
  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Depression.
  • Dry skin.
  • Arthritis.
  • Pain relief.
  • Inflamed veins (phlebitis).
  • Menopausal disorders.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of borage for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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