In times when our energy needs a little push, borage is wonderful for uplifting the spirits, among many other great properties. An annual that grows in any soil 60-90cm high, preferring a sunny location. It is easy to grow from seed directly in the garden in spring or autumn and will grow in all types of soil. Borage self-seeds and can become quite invasive so may need controlling.
The young leaves and pretty blue flowers can be added to salads and have a similar taste to cucumber. The whole plant is covered by fine hairs that can irritate sensitive skin so wear gloves if need be. It is dearly loved by honey bees and has a long flowering season so will attract them to your garden.
Fresh or dried Borage leaves and flowers can be used in teas, but the leaves are fleshy and need to be dried relatively quickly or else they become discolored. Remove leaves individually and dry on a rack in hot weather. Store the leaves as soon as they are dry as they easily absorb moisture from the atmosphere if it rains.
Parts used: leaves and flowers
Actions: leaves are an adrenal restorative, tonic, demulcent, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge, and promote milk secretion.
Borage makes an uplifting tea that can help in times of stress, exhaustion, convalescence and mild depression. It can also help restore the adrenal glands which become fatigued by chronic stress.
Borage tea is demulcent and cansoothe inflammation of the breathing passages in bronchitis and coughs. It is a good herb for bringing down a fever, and can be added to cold remedies. Its diuretic effect stimulates the kidneys and the leaves are rich in calcium and potassium. Sluggish kidneys can be a cause of mild depression and lethargy.
Externally it is refreshing and
reduces skin inflammation.
To prepare an infusion pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried Borage leaves and steep for 10-15 minutes. As a tincture take up to 4ml, 3 times a day. Due to the presence of certain alkaloids, it is recommended not to drink Borage for longer than two weeks at a time.