Borago officinalis
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Other names: bugloss, burage, common bugloss, cool tankar, miner's candle, talewort
Habitat: Borage is an annual plant that grows wild in the Mediterranean countries.
An annual coming from Europe and north Africa, borage is naturalized in many parts of North America.
Known for the beautiful star-shaped bright blue flowers.

It was chosen as an ingredient of Wonderup because: Contains phytoestrogens associated with its traditional use to increase breast milk in lactating mothers and to regulate hormones.

This balancing action has a direct influence on the development of the breast, which has estrogen receptors that naturally attract the female hormones naturally secreted by the body thanks to the effect of phytoestrogens.

However there is absolutely no danger of an 'estrogen overdose'! Phytoestrogens only stimulate the hormonal production insofar as this is lacking or reduced - and they are totally safe and with no side effects, unlike synthetic hormones. In fact, phytoestrogens are *not* proper hormones themselves (ever heard of plants with hormones?!), but only natural regulators of hormonal production. By stimulating the production of good estrogen, their effects on the development of the breast are well visible already in the first weeks of use.

Other characteristics and properties:
This herb contains essential minerals such as calcium and potassium, palmitic acid and tannins, and is particularly rich in Omega-6 essential fatty acids (especially gamma-linolenic acid), needed for proper cardiovascular function and healthy skin and nails.

Borage oil has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, coronary dysfunction, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

Borage is:

* galactogogue - increases breast milk in lactating mothers

* the oil helps regulate hormones and lowers blood pressure

* seeds high in gammalinolenic acid - good for skin complaints & PMS

* adrenal booster (Adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of the kidneys that secrete several important hormones into the blood) - Borage acts as a restorative agent on the adrenal cortex, which means that it will revive and renew the adrenal glands after a medical treatment with cortisone or steroids. There is a growing need for remedies that will aid this gland with the stress it is exposed to, both externally and internally. Borage may be used as a tonic for the adrenals over a period of time. It is used to balance adrenal and other glandular functioning.

* nervine - replenishes nervous system energy

* tonic - good for reducing fever and restoring vitality after a long illness.

* blood purifier - thanks to its content in minerals

* strengthens the heart and supports cardiovascular function

* diuretic - affects liver and detoxification systems due to its ability to increase the secretion of urine, and excretion of waste through the urine

* expectorant - affects immune system and reactivity due to its ability to facilitate the removal of the secretions of the broncho-pulmonary mucous membrane and cause expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract

* cooling & saline herb that sooths & heals irritated or damaged tissue - used to treat mouth & throat infections (gargle & mouthwash) and dry skin (poultice or liniment)

* mild sedative and calmative for the nervous system - used against anxiety and stress

* antidepressant - affects nervous system and nerve function due to its ability to prevent, cure or alleviate mental depression. Early herbalists often prescribed borage to relieve depression.

* anti-inflammatory - useful with pulmonary disorders such as pleurisy and for peritonitis. It contains a compound which helps relieve inflammatory conditions such as eczema when applied topically.

* diaphoretic - affects liver and detoxification systems due to its ability to increase perspiration (produces sweat), and promote toxin release through the skin. Also used to assist immune system and reactivity due to its ability to break a fever. It is a good remedy for colds and flu and especially during convalescence. Borage tea is said to be good for reducing high fevers when taken hot. Its diaphoretic action is also credited with some antidotal effect against several poisons, especially of snake and insect.

* aperient - affects digestive system and nutrition due to its ability to cause evacuation of the bowels without irritation and griping. A mild laxative.

* demulcent - affects immune system and reactivity due to its ability to soothe and protect, or soften the tissue it is applied to.

Culinary Uses: Borage is an herb with a cucumber-like flavor. The fresh leaves are used in salads to replace cucumbers (adventurous chefs have been known to add blanched leaves to salads as a substitute for spinach), in soups, where it adds a hearty flavor, and to enhance the flavor of iced tea and fruit drinks. Flowers are used in pastries and retain their color after baking. As a tea, it has a lovely, soothing cucumber like flavor with a calming effect. Perfect for the end of the day. Borage does not dry well for culinary use.
The flowers can be also candied or frozen into ice cubes to add a festive touch to punches or iced drinks. Or simply sprinkle them in fresh. The Romans were the first to use borage in this way, usually sprinkling them into a goblet of wine. It was believed to drive away sadness.
Even Charles Dickens is reputed to have been particularly fond of borage punch - a rather potent concoction of sherry, brandy, apple cider, lemon, sugar and borage flowers.
In Latin America, the leaves are used in a tisane to help lung problems. Chinese chefs have been known to use the leaves much as others use grape leaves: stuffed and rolled. Germans add the leaves to stews and court bullions. And in England, the gin based drink, Pimm's No.1, has borage as one of its important ingredients.

History and curiosities:
From the earliest of times, borage is credited with inducing calm and fortitude and was once thought to bring courage to the heart. It was usually steeped in wine or brandy and given to travelers before a long journey, or to soldiers before battle.

Borage tea was given to competitors in tournaments of medieval times as a moral booster. "I, borage bring always courage", was a popular rhyme of the day.

The Welsh name for Borage "llawenlys" translates as "herb of gladness". The Celtic word "borrach" means "courage".

Added to wine, the Celts believed borage helped bring courage to face enemies in battle and was used to instill courage in warriors.

Ancient Greeks used the plant to treat hangovers.

The herb also encourages cheerfulness (probably also because of all that wine it was mixed with!). Pliny called borage "Euphrosinium" because it "maketh a man merry and joyfull. "It was traditionally used to decorate houses for weddings.

Today it is still used as an essence in ritual bath, taken as infusion, or burnt in incense to fortify one's courage and allow one to take heart and find joy in difficult circumstances. This herb imparts courage to those who carry it, or drink tea or ale in which it has been steeped.

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