Borago officinalis, Borage
Attractive star shaped blue flowers. Mid green, oval, bristly, slightly succulent leaves. Culinary; flowers can be used in drinks and salads. Young leaves used in salads and soups. Seeds are high in GLA.
• Hardiness: H4 (-5 to -10C)
• Type: Annual
• Height: 60cm
• Spread: 60cm
• Soil type: Sand, Chalk, Loam, Free Draining
• pH: Universal pH
• Habit: Upright
• Flowering colour: Blue
• Flowering time: Summer
• Uses: Culinary & Medicinal (Read Jekka's Guide To Culinary Herbs and Jekka's Guide to Medicinal Herbs for more information)
• Attracts pollinators: Yes (Read Jekka's Guide to Pollinators for more information)
• Container suitability: No
• UK native: No
• Caution: Can cause liver damage if eaten in excess. The leaves can cause contact dermatitis.
• Indoor Sowing: In early spring, into prepared plug trays or pots, cover with perlite.
• Outdoor Sowing: In early summer, when all threat of frost has gone, into a prepared sunny site. Thin seedlings to 60cm apart.
• Propagation: N/A
• Maintenance: (Read Jekka's Blogs on Early Spring, Late Spring and Autumn maintenance)
• Harvest: N/A
Borage has a long traditional use for treating fevers, catarrh, lung problems and as a tonic in nervous exhaustion and as a diuretic.
The seeds contain an oil rich in fatty acids and have been used to help with menopause, premenstrual symptoms and in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. This oil has not been found to contain any the ingredients thought to be harmful to the liver.
Caution: Recent studies have raised concerns that borage leaves contain chemicals which may cause serious liver damage. For this reason, home use is not recommended and some herbalists now avoid or restrict internal medicinal use of this herb.
Please note: The information provided here is for educational interest only and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat significant health problems. Any serious or long-term health concerns should always be discussed with a healthcare professional.
See our blog for more information about the National Institute of Medicinal Herbalists
Jekka's "How to Grow It" videos, includes Jekka's video on how to sow seeds for an informative step-by-step guide to seed sowing.
One of our three core roots is that we are Environmentally Conscious and for the past 30 years all the herbs grown at Jekka’s have been raised following sustainable, environmentally friendly and organic approaches resulting in a remarkable biodiversity at the herb farm.
Our herb seeds are also untreated and can be used to grow organic herb plants.