Borage is a herb that can be used in the kitchen and provide many wellness benefits. But where did borage come from and how exactly do you use it?
This in-depth guide shares everything you need to know about borage including its long history, key nutrients, medicinal benefits, and some tasty ways to enjoy its flavor.
A Brief History of Borage
Also called starflower, borage is native to the Mediterranean region where its beautiful blue flower earned it recognition as an ornamental plant. However, borage also has a lengthy history as both a food and herbal medicine.
Archaeological evidence traces borage cultivation and use to Ancient Rome and Liguria, Italy. Over time, it spread across Europe, western Asia, and now North America.
The leaves, flowers and seed oil have been prized for flavor as well as natural remedies.
Active Compounds in Borage & Why It’s Healthy
Modern science confirms many traditional beliefs around borage’s therapeutic value. Rich in beneficial plant compounds, borage provides antioxidants like kaempferol as well as potent anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
Specifically, borage contains the highest known source of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) among plants.
GLA helps modulate inflammation which underlies conditions like arthritis, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders and more.
Antioxidant compounds give borage free radical protection against aging and chronic disease. Minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium nourish bones, muscles, nerves and cellular metabolism.
Benefits of Borage Based on Research
With regular use, compounds in borage may support:
- Healthy inflammatory response
- Cardiovascular and circulatory health
- Joint mobility and arthritis symptom relief
- Skin hydration and elasticity
- Menstrual comfort and menopause symptom relief
- Mental wellbeing and mood stability
Clinical studies demonstrate safety and efficacy for up 12-24 weeks of supplementation with limited side effects. However, more research is still needed on some proposed benefits.
Always check with your doctor before using borage medicinally especially if pregnant, nursing or taking any medications.
Delicious Ways You Can Eat & Drink Borage
Beyond supplements, borage makes a tasty culinary herb for savory dishes as well as teas, cocktails and more! Here’s how to enjoy borage:
- Garnish soups, salads, grain bowls with young leaves and flowers
- Infuse vodka, wine, vinegar, honey with fresh borage
- Float frozen flowers in punches, lemonades, cocktails
- Stuff blossoms with cheese for appetizers
- Brew tea from fresh or dried leaves
- Bake into quick breads like muffins, scones
- Add leaves to herb butters and herb salts
- Candy borage blossoms with sugar coating
With antioxidant nutrients and subtle cucumber flavor, borage deserves a spot in every home chef’s arsenal!
Using borage creatively in the kitchen makes it easy to reap wellness benefits from this versatile herb.