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Borage flower
Borage flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Borago
Species: B. officinalis
Binomial name
Borago officinalis

Borage (Borago officinalis L.), also known as "starflower" (گل گاوزبان in Persian) is an annual herb originating in Syria, but naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as most of Europe, North Africa, and Iran. It grows to a height of 60-100 cm (2-3 feet), and is bristly-hairy all over the stems and leaves; the leaves are alternate, simple, and 5-15 cm (2-6 in) long. The flowers are small, blue or pink, with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. It has an indeterminate growth habit allowing it to produce many seeds which may lead to it spreading prolifically beyond where it is first sown or planted. In milder climates, borage will bloom continuously for most of the year.

Borage plant

The leaves have been found to contain small amounts (10 ppm of dried herb) of the liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids: intermedine, lycopsamine, amabiline and supinine. They taste like fresh cucumber and are used in salads and soups especially in Germany. One of the better known recipes with borage is the Green Sauce made in Frankfurt. Frankfurter Grüne Sauce, as it is called in Germany, is made from seven herbs: parsley, chervil, chives, cress, sorrel, burnet and borage. Borage is also an ingredient in the traditional recipe for a Pimm's Cup. In the Spanish regions of Aragón and Navarra, it's also commonly eaten. One of the simplest recipes uses winter grown borage (because these have grown slowly and taste better) and before flowers appear (although not mandatory) usually cooking it in boiling water with a pair of potatoes. Once plated, the vegetables are seasoned with a little olive oil and salt, before being enjoyed.

The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid thesinine, has a sweet honey-like taste and is often used to decorate desserts and dishes.

Tea made from the dried flowers is a traditional calming drink in Iran. It has a rich purple color that turns bright pink by adding a few drops of lemon juice.[citation needed]

Interest in borage remains high because it is the highest known plant based source of gamma-linolenic acid (18:3, cis 6,9,12-octadecatrienoic acid). The seed oil is often marketed as "starflower oil" or "borage oil."

Borage is also rich in oleic and palmitic acid, conferring a hypocholesterolemic effect. This oil, which has recently been commercialised, may regulate metabolism and the hormonal system, and is considered by many naturopathic practitioners to be a good remedy for PMS and menopause symptoms such as the hot flash. Borage is also sometimes indicated to alleviate and heal colds, bronchitis, and respiratory infections in general for its anti-inflammatory and balsamic properties. The flowers can be prepared in infusion to take advantage of its medicinal properties.

Detail of flower

As a companion plant

Borage is not only a pretty, flowering, edible herb, but it also improves the flavor of tomato vines when grown within a few feet of them.[citation needed]

See also

External links

be:Агурочнік be-x-old:Агурочнік bg:Пореч ca:Borratja cs:Brutnák lékařský de:Borretsch eo:Borago fa:گل گاوزبان gl:Borraxe it:Borago officinalis lt:Vaistinė agurklė hu:Borágó nl:Bernagie scn:Borrago officinalis sk:Borák lekársky sl:Boraga fi:Rohtopurasruoho sv:Gurkört