Gluten Free Regina explores the world of herbs and plants. Today’s plant is Borage. It grows like a weed in Saskatchewan but what the hell do you do with it? It kept popping up in the garden I started letting it grow and it made these beauties!!! Now they’re growing everywhere! So what do I do with them?
BORAGE, A PLANT PRACTICALLY MADE FOR WOMEN!!
The herb is known to be rich in gamma linolenic acid, the Omega-6 Fatty Acid that is as essential for overall health. The herb is believed to act as a restorative agent on the adrenal cortex. In other words, Borage Leaf extract will revive and renew adrenal glands after medical treatments of cortisone or steroids. This explains the ancient uses for Borage to uplift and strengthen the spirits, especially in times of grief. Today’s translation of this healing herbal extract is to help people deal with everyday stress and exhaustion. Borage leaves are used as a diuretic to support treatment of urinary tract conditions and weak hearts, and varicose veins. It is also used to soothe the body’s mucous membranes, suppress inflammation and help ease arthritis and rheumatism. Borage has antibacterial effects against Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers. It has been used to increase breast milk production and is one of the most popular herbs among women for treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as menopausal symptoms. Borage has proved to be an excellent alternative medicine to for fibrocystic breast. The healthy fats are also used to delay male baldness naturally, as well as other types of hair loss. It also improves skin’s water retention and provides nourishment to dry or damaged hair. As an anti-inflammatory, it is said to also help to relieve inflammatory conditions such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and other skin conditions. Some believe that Borage leaf herbal extract may be the perfect remedy for treating a hangover or preventing them. Borage is packed with healthy nutrients and a good herbal supplement for women, because it contains high levels of calcium and iron that so many women are deficient in. It is a well known herb for its soothing qualities and has been useful in the treatment of nervous conditions. Its natural sedative effects have been used to ease mood swings and depression often associated with menopause and menstrual cycles. Borage leaf also holds a good amount of potassium, manganese, copper, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which help to control heart rate and blood pressure. The manganese content is useful as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is another important co-factor for cellular metabolism. Additionally, it is a component of hemoglobin inside red blood cells, and determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the herb. B-complex vitamins, particularly niacin, help to lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Borage may be helpful in preventing prostate cancer cells in males and may increase the effectiveness of the drug tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer. Cancer studies show that gamma linolenic acid (GLA) can kill 40 different kinds of cancer cells in the laboratory tissue tests without harming healthy tissue. Researchers say the GLA can induce apoptotic death in tumorous cells, a process where the bad cells break into smaller pieces which other body cells destroy. Although these studies are relatively new, scientists believe that Borage shows great promise as an alternative cancer therapy. The research showed that it suppresses tumor growth and prevent cancer and the carcinogenic substances. The adrenal glands in the body work very hard, especially when the body is working hard all day to prepare for fight or flight situations and constantly releasing adrenalin into the body. Its natural sedative effects have been used to soften the nervous edge that some experience. The herbal extract of Borage leaf has an action on the endocrine system as well, and has been recommended for thyroid issues. It has been traditionally used for increasing lactation in women who are breastfeeding their babies, so it probably acts on the endocrine chain, on the hypothalamus and pituitary. Borage contains silicon, which can have a powerful rebuilding effect on the nervous system. Borage benefits in the transmission of the nerve impulses and also prevents nerve damage. The use of Borage is essential to improve peripheral neuropathy. The fatty acids in Borage contributes to healthy nerve development in such diseases as multiple sclerosis (MS) and cystic fibrosis, a recessive genetic disease affecting most critically the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestine. Like other adrenal nourishing herbs such as Licorice and Ginseng, Borage is could be a vital herbal remedy in today’s world. This herbal remedy is valued as it is said to effectively counteract the effects of steroids and other substances in the body. It is also believed to encourage the production adrenal production of steroid hormones and is used as a helpful herb when weaning a person off steroid therapy. Borage should be able to clear up any congestion, from your lungs to the back of your throat. Borage is considered a superlative demulcent that soothes mucous membranes, including those of the respiratory system, reducing the discomforts of sore throat, chronic bronchitis, hacking coughs and bronchial infections such as pleurisy and tuberculosis – and also those irritated tissues of the gastrointestinal system. There is some evidence that Borage, when taken in combination with eicosapentaenoic acid might reduce the number of days in intensive care (ICU) and length of time spent on a breathing machine for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Borage is a natural diuretic that has been used for kidney and bladder ailments. Fevers can be alleviated using Borage herbal remedy and herbal medicine makes extensive use of this herb in this respect as it possesses a calming and cooling effect on the body, which can rapidly decrease elevated body temperature. The general regulatory effects of Borage Leaf tincture include the control of arterial muscle tone, sodium excretion through the kidneys, blood platelet (stickiness), inflammatory response and immune function, just to name of few. Convalescing and recovering patients, in many parts of Europe, have been treated with Borage Leaf extracts, to regain strength and boost their chances of recovery from weakness or disease. Borage is considered one of the “good fats” that are thought to be instrumental in lowering blood pressure, and considered to be as necessary for your health as vitamins that are commonly lost through normal aging, dietary fat intake and other effects. The gamma linolenic acid (GLA) content in Borage helps in decreasing the level of body serums and therefore keeps the body away from heart diseases and high cholesterol problems. Borage is of great benefit preventing the atherosclerotic plaque that can be a major cause behind the cardiovascular disease. Some other benefits of taking Borage tincture is for improving blood circulation, preventing blood clotting, high blood pressure, or hypertension. Borage contains the essential fatty acids and minerals that help to maintain healthy skin and nails. Borage leaf tinctures benefits are numerous in the field of skin care for the aging, roughness and dryness of the skin. Regular use of Borage internally will improve skin health, not only scaly, dry skin, but acne, itchy scalp and the chronic inflammatory skin condition of rosacea. Borage can help in solving the inflammatory problems of skin inflammation, eczema, psoriasis and cutaneous inflammatory skin disorders. Externally, Borage has been used in eyewashes, gargles, mouthwashes and poultices, but contact with the leaves may cause dermatitis in sensitive persons.
Ingredients: Borage leaf, Structured Water, 20% Alcohol.
Non-Alcohol: Borage Leaf, Structured Water, Organic Vegetable Glycerin.
Contraindications: The plant (but not the oil) contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may cause toxicity in the liver, and Borage should never be taken in large doses (many times the recommended amount) or for a long period of time. If you are taking any blood thinning medications, speak with your doctor before using Borage.
Disclaimer: The information presented herein by New Way Herbs is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
15 Borage Recipes and Serving Ideas
Beverages and Drinks with Borage
To flavour a glass of tomato juice or cocktail add 1 tablespoon minced young borage leaves. Add borage flowers when serving alcoholic drinks and fruit drinks. Especially good with a claret cup. Add borage leaves and flowers to hot or iced tea or lemonade. Borage Wine Cup Makes about 2 liter 125ml brandy 30ml castor sugar 750ml bottle dry white wine 125ml orange juice 250ml crushed ice 750ml bottle pink champagne 250ml lemonade 250ml ginger ale 250ml chopped fresh borage leaves Borage flowers to garnish (optional)
- Blend brandy, sugar, wine, juice and ice until combined.
- Combine champagne, lemonade, ginger ale, borage and wine mixture in large bowl just before serving.
- Decorate with borage flowers.
Borage Ice Blocks
Half fill ice block trays with cold water and freeze solid. Remove from freezer and tip out the half blocks. Put a borage flower into each division, replace the half blocks and top them up with water. The flower is then trapped between the water and the ice. When the tray is returned to the freezer the borage flower will be set in the middle of the ice block. Otherwise the flowers tend to float to the top.
¼ cup lemon juice 2-3 tablespoons sugar 3-4 medium-sized borage leaves 2 cups water
- Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for approximately 30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass, and garnish with borage flowers.
Strawberry and Borage Cocktail
4-5 borage leaves 250ml dry vermouth 450ml orange juice 450ml soda water 450ml ginger ale 1 lemon thinly sliced 1 punnet small strawberries
- Lightly crush borage with mortar and pestle.
- Place in a large punch bowl and add all other ingredients, except strawberries; chill.
- Clean and prepare strawberries and float in a punch bowl just before serving.
Desserts with Borage
To Candy Borage Flowers
Pick the borage flowers, each with a small stem, when they are quite dry. Paint each one with lightly beaten egg white, using a water colour paintbrush. Dust them lightly with castor sugar and set to dry on waxed paper in a warm place like an airing cupboard or in a very cool oven.
Tropical Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup
Make a mixture of fruit e.g. Passion fruit, kiwi fruit, pineapple, selection of berries, paw paw, melon, water melon. Combine fruit in a large bowl. Add lime syrup, toss gently to combine, cover, refrigerate for several hours, even overnight.
125 ml lime juice 125 ml sugar 60 ml chopped fresh borage leaves
- Combine juice and sugar in small saucepan, stir over heat without boiling, until sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer, uncovered without stirring for 5 minutes, cool.
- Stir in borage.
Preserves with Borage
Add flowers to herbal vinegar as a dye and for a slight cucumber flavour.
A great spread with cream cheese and crackers. 6 cups borage leaves and flowers parts soaked in a 4 cups of cold water overnight, drain 4 cups of borage infused water 4 ½ cups sugar 1 tablespoon lemon 1 pack commercial pectin a pinch of salt and red pepper
- Cook according to commercial pectin direction.
Salads with Borage
Red, White and Blue Salad
1 medium cucumber 3 medium vine ripened tomatoes ¾ cup sour cream 1/4 teaspoon course black pepper 1 teaspoon white sugar 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 1 teaspoon chopped dill leaves 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel 1/4 teaspoon finely grated red onion salt to taste borage flowers togarnish
- Combine all the ingredients except for the tomatoes and flowers.
- Slice tomatoes and arrange them, overlapping, around the edge of a serving platter.
- Mound the cucumber mixture in the center of the platter, just covering the inner edge of the tomatoes.
- Chill well, and place the borage flowers decoratively on the salad just before serving. Serves 4 to 6
Mixed Herb Salad (La Salade de Plusieurs Herbes)
Adapted from a 16th century French translation of a book originally written in Latin in 1474. 2 heads lettuce 1 handful young, tender borage leaves 1 handful chopped fresh mint leaves 1 handful fresh lemon-balm leaves 1 handful tender fennel shoots and flowers 1 handful fresh chervil leaves 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 tablespoon oregano or marjoram flowers and leaves salt 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- Wash the lettuce and herbs well, dry them and place them in a large dish.
- Sprinkle with salt, add the oil and finally the vinegar.
- Let the salad stand a while before serving.
- Eat the salad heartily, crunching and chewing well. To serve 6
Borage and Cucumbers
3 large cucumbers 200ml sour cream 2 tablespoons rice vinegar ½ teaspoon celery seed 1/4 cup chopped green onion 1 teaspoon sugar salt and pepper to taste ¼ cup fresh, young borage leaves (chopped finely)
- Slice the cucumbers thinly. Salt lightly and set aside in a colander for 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Mix the remaining ingredients, add the cucumbers to the mixture, and toss lightly.
- Garnish with borage blossoms.
- Chill for one hour before serving.
Sauces with Borage
Serve with fish salads, fried seafood and green salads 1 cucumber 2 shallots 5 ml soy sauce salt and pepper 10 ml lemon juice 5 ml orange or lemon rind 5 ml made mustard a dash of cayenne 20 ml chopped borage leaves 125 ml mayonnaise
- Grate the cucumber and shallots. Add all other ingredients and blend in electric blender.Makes ± 375 ml
Frankfurter Gruene Sauce (Frankfurter Green Sauce)
3 cups mixed herbs (parsley, chives, chervil, borage, dill, spinach greens, watercress, tarragon, basil, pimpernel) 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt 2 small onions, coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons cream 2 tablespoons mayonnaise ¾ cup low-fat cottage cheese (pressed through a fine sieve in order to smooth curds) ground white pepper small pinch of sugar 1 to 2 eggs, hardboiled and coarsely chopped
- Choose all or merely a selection of the herbs and greens mentioned in the list of ingredients (using the tarragon more sparingly than the others). Wash them thoroughly and drain on paper towels.
- Coarsely chop the greens; loosely packed, they should amount to about 3 cups altogether.
- Take 2 cups of the greens, combine with the sour cream or yogurt and the onions, and puree in the blender or processor; add a few tablespoons of cream if it doesn’t seem to be fluid enough.
- The rest of the greens should just be finely chopped and stirred in a mixing bowl with the puree in order to give the sauce a little bite.
- Stir in as much mayonnaise and low-fat cottage cheese as it takes to produce a smooth, creamy sauce.
Season with salt, pepper, and a little sugar. The hardboiled eggs can either be mixed in with the sauce or strewn over it as a garnish. Makes 2 to 3 cups
Soups with Borage
Add one tablespoon young freshly chopped leaves to every 4 cups beet, cabbage, green pea or spinach soup
Acquacotta di Verdure – Cooked Water with Greens
Acquacotta literally means cooked water. It is generally served as a one coarse meal and in the past was eaten by shepherds and stockmen. There are as many versions as there are cooks. A loaf of day-old Italian bread 1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed 500 g ripe tomatoes, chopped (and peeled, if you like) 500 g spinach washed and coarsely chopped 500 g vegetables such as peas, beans, bell peppers or whatever else is in season Bouquet garni of minced borage, marjoram, thyme, parsley 125 ml extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a fairly large pot ¾ full of water and add the vegetables and herbs. Season with a little salt and cook for about 40 minutes.
- When the vegetables have finished cooking, cut the bread into thick slices. Dip each in the pot, let it drain, and put it in a bowl.
- Spoon some vegetables and a bit of the vegetable broth over the slices, drizzle some olive oil over them, and serve them with freshly ground pepper.
Vegetables with Borage
Borage flowers makes an attractive edible garnish and may be added to any green or fruit salad to taste. Young finely chopped borage leaves may be added to any green salad, but do not add too much because of their hairy texture. Especially good with beans, green peas and spinach.
Borage Leaves as a Vegetable
Wash young borage leaves and remove stalks. Chop finely and cook in a little butter in a covered saucepan over a very low heat. Season to taste. The dampness of the washed leaves should be enough to keep them from sticking to the bottom; they should soon be tender and their hairy texture disappears when cooked. Try to combine the borage leaves with cabbage or spinach using about one-third borage leaves to two-thirds cabbage or spinach and cook in the same way. It is makes a great ‘marog’. Borage Fritters 250 ml flour 8 ml baking powder salt 125 ml milk 1 beaten egg 125 ml – 250 ml cooked, chopped borage leaves 15 ml grated onion oil or butter to fry
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a basin.
- Make a well in the centre and stir in combined milk and egg to make a stiff batter.
- Add chopped, cooked borage leaves and grated onion.
- Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the mixture in tablespoons, turning to brown both sides.
- Drain on brown paper and eat hot with mashed potatoes and grilled tomatoes.
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