Borage oil is a natural product that is used in many ways from cooking to medical uses. It is made from the Borage plant, which is actually an herb, and can be found growing wild in the Mediterranean area of the world. It is also found in Great Britain, Europe and in North America.
The borage plant is also called star flower, tailwort, bugloss or beebread. It grows to about one and a half feet tall and has been harvested for its leaves and stems, as well as the seeds. The ancient Romans used to brew the leaves for a medicinal tea. These days it is the seeds that it is mostly grown for, as they are what are used to make borage oil.
Why is borage oil so valuable?
Borage oil is one of the best known sources of the essential fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid or GLA. It is also called Omega-6. It has 24 percent of this valuable substance, which is even higher than evening primrose oil or black currant seed oil. Because of this, it is made into nutritional supplements and sold in health stores and other retail outlets.
GLA is something that many people in western societies are deficient in due to aging, fat consumption, glucose intolerance, and other factors. It is also useful in helping people with premenstrual syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes and scleroderma due to these individuals having a metabolic block that prevents their body from making GLA. It is also used in other medicinal ways, such as to treat arthritis, atopic eczema and some forms of respiratory problems. It works for these because of its anti-inflammatory factors.
In research testing of its use in people with rheumatoid arthritis patients were given between 1.4 and 2.8 grams of borage oil a day for eight weeks in a double blind set of trials. The results were considered successful since it worked to help the people who received it in the tests. It was also shown that .5 ml of the oil could be used daily as a topical treatment for seborrhea and that the condition would become stable within three weeks of usage.
Another good thing for medical patients is that there is no common interaction between borage and other medicines at the time of this writing.
Borage oil testing shows it is good for skin in many ways
Experiments have been done that show the many benefits of borage oil for the skin. In one test, 20 people with dry and scaly skin were given borage based cream to use for two weeks. The oil was able to restore the moisture content in their skin and help to make it more smooth and soft.
Another test of this oil and skin conditions involved 48 babies who had a severe case of cradle cap, which is a form of infant seborrhoic dermatitis, in which the babies had dry, crusty and scaly skin on their heads, eyelids, face, breasts, groin areas and under their armpits. This oil was used on the affected areas twice a day and their problems were cured in two weeks.
This shows how effective borage oil is in helping with various skin conditions, as when the treatment was stopped, the babies got the cradle cap again within a week. It was thought that these babies weren’t able to produce their own sufficient levels of GLA to prevent the dry and scaly skin conditions and the oil supplied it until their systems matured.
Other values to borage oil
The GLA produced by borage oil is also a precursor for prostaglandins, which are used in many of the functions in our bodies such as hormone production, maintaining blood pressure, and regulating the body’s autonomic or smooth muscle reflexes. GLA also helps to get rid of plaque in the arteries of the blood system so helps to relieve hardening of the arteries, which also helps to prevent heart problems. It can also help get rid of the symptoms of hot flashes, which are common when a woman is going through menopause.
Other conditions that this oil is thought to possibly help is multiple sclerosis due to its ability to reduce inflammation, which is evident in the disease. Some testing with animals has shown it may also help get rid of stress or lower blood pressure.
Undocumented ways borage oil is useful
Borage oil is also said to help in ways that haven’t been proven in testing. These include helping get rid of hangovers, helping prevent aging, help treat lupus, PMS, gout, infertility and get rid of wrinkles.
What About Side Effects of borage oil?
This oil does, however, have some minor side effects that are possible with its usage. These may involve symptoms such as nausea, bloating, headache and possible seizures. Pregnant women should not take or use this oil and neither should anyone who has hemophilia or is taking warfarin because this oil has blood thinning properties.
Borage oil is also thought to inhibit lymphocyte functions, so people who have any sort of immune deficiency disorder should also not use it.
All in all, borage oil is a very valuable and useful product with many fantastic uses.