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Borage (Borago
Borage Herb
officinalis), also known as "starflower", is an annual herb native to central and eastern Europe. It grows to a height of 60-100 cm, and is bristly-hairy all over the stems and leaves; the leaves are alternate, simple, and 5-15 cm long. The flowers are small, blue or pink, with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. It produces plenty of seeds and thus continues to grow and spread from where it is first sown or planted.

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. They taste like fresh cucumber and are used in salads and soups especially in Germany. One of the better known recipes with borage is the Green Sauce made in Frankfurt. Frankfurter Grne Sauce, as it is called in Germany, is made from seven herbs: parsley, chervil, chives, cress, sorrel, burnet and borage.

The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid thesinine, has a sweet
Borage Herb
honey-like taste and is often used to decorate desserts and dishes. If frozen into ice-cubes, the flowers become exotic drink coolers.

The oil that is extracted from the seeds (marketed as "starflower oil" or "borage oil") is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid.

It's also rich in oleic and palmitic acid, which confers an hypocholesterolemic effect. This oil, which is recently being commercialised, regulates metabolism and the hormonal system, and is considered a good remedy for PMS. Borage is also indicated to alleviate and heal colds, bronchitis, and respiratory infections in general for its anti-inflammatory and balsamic properties.

Other useful herb information: Vitex | Black Cohosh | Cramp Bark | Chamomile | Hawthorn Berries | Feverfew | St johns wort

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