Borage the Starflower

Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual herb found in the flowering plant family Boraginaceae. Although borage grows in gardens in most of Europe and the UK, it grows right out of the dirt and straw in my Montana garden (yarden). An added bonus is that she comes back each year by self-seeding.

The first time I saw this little love, I pulled it. There weren’t any blossoms on the plant yet, so I only spotted the fuzzy leaves. I noticed they were taking over in one of my small gardens, ironically I was growing echinacea and other medicinal herbs in that space. Several months later, I realized what it was, and that I had made an error. Borage is a fuzzy companion to many of the other medicinal herbs that grow in my garden, echinacea included.

Borage is a lovely addition to a vegetable garden as well. Tomatoes, legumes, spinach, brassicas and strawberries can all benefit from this protective buddy. The blossoms of borage make a yummy, cucumber flavored, salad garnish. If you know about a Pimm’s Cup, maybe you’ve had a borage blossom in your cocktail. Sometimes you’ll find these starflowers frozen right into an ice cube.

One of my all time favorite benefits of this plant is how she can increase a nursing mama’s milk supply. Besides being a galactagogue borage has many other herbal actions.

Herbal Actions

Treating acute conditions, such as fever, is borage’s specialty. This herb isn’t intended for long term use. Researching additional remedies is a good idea when you begin your healing journey. A tincture of borage can be a great refrigerant & diaphoretic. I always find it fascinating that plants are smart enough to listen to your body, and figure out how to help it in the best way possible.

Borage is an aperient (mild laxative) and can support the body with other hyperactive gastrointestinal woes, like colic, cramps and diarrhea. She is a pectoral, or respiratory aid. She can be used to prevent inflammation of the lungs and help remedy coughs, even those stemming from asthma or bronchitis.

Taking this herb can bring an increase of urine flow, purifying and supporting your urinary tract, kidney and bladder. And, it is good for your heart, both your mental and physical heart.

Borage is known to lend itself to courage. One of my Green Path herb teachers/mentors shares her dream of borage and how she bottled that courage during a time when she needed it most.

According to WebMD – borage flowers are used for fever, cough and depression. Borage can also be used for adrenal insufficiency and balancing hormones.

What do we use borage for in our family?

To be honest, I’ve namely used the pink or blue blossoms as a garnish. (I’ve never met a white blossom, in person.) I pass the plant in numerous parts of my yard, and if the bees have plenty to choose from, I’ll eat a blossom. I’ve added a tincture to my collection, but we haven’t needed many tinctures lately. *knock on wood*

One thing I’m certain of is I’ll never pull those fuzzy leaves out of my garden again.

Watch to Learn.

Some of us are more visual than others. I like to make sure you have options for each plant we share.


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