My beautiful blue borage is blooming and I’m in awe. I first heard about borage last year when I came across seeds in a shop. I was intrigued by the promise of the plant attracting pollinators to the garden. I fell in love with the unique beautiful blue borage flowers which give this plant it’s other name – starflower.
Borago officinalis is an annual herb. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East. It easily and quickly grows from seed sending down a big taproot. For this reason it doesn’t do well as a transplant. It is notorious for self-seeding. Good companion plants include strawberries, tomatoes, and squash. The gorgeous blue starflowers are edible, either fresh in salad or candied for garnish. The coarse and hairy leaves are cucumber flavoured. I’ve combined the leaves with lemon slices in water for a refreshing summer drink…garnished with fresh flowers of course. Lemon verbena and lemon balm are other leaves that I like to combine borage leaves and flowers with to flavour water.
Borage is is said to gladden the heart, give courage, and dis-spell melancholy. Traditionally, a tincture made with borage leaves helps heal inflammed skin from bites or cuts when applied directly. Commercially, borage seed oil, which has a high amount of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid, is used as an anti-inflammatory agent for conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is used in many skin care products. However, borage is known to be hepatotoxic.