10 Borage Oil Benefits You Need To Know Now

Did you know that in the early 19th century, the young borage tops were boiled as a pot-herb whereas its young leaves were used in salads? It was traditionally used to treat cold, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, and lung infection. But the borage oil benefits aren’t limited to these.

Recent studies have demonstrated a much greater potential that borage herb can do. Today, we will unveil the multiple benefits of borage oil, its therapeutic properties, chemical composition, and much more you haven’t heard before.

What is Borage Oil?

what is borage essential oil

Borage seed oil is extracted from the seeds of Borago officinalis through the cold-press method. The Borage plant (also called Starflower plant) belongs to the family Boraginaceae. The family is also called forget-me-not family. It comprises of 2000 species of shrubs, herbs, and trees.

This is a perennial plant, which grows up to 2 feet high and has large, oval, and hairy leaves. They smell and taste like cucumber. White, blue, or pink flowers characterize the borage plant (1, 2).

The plant is native to the Mediterranean region. But it is widely grown in Europe and North America as well.

Note: Borage is cultivated for its seed oil that is rich in Gamma-Linolenic acid. It is widely used in natural-based cosmetics and that’s the key reason for its demand.

Scientific Name of Borage Oil 

The botanical name of borage is Borago officinalis.

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History of Borage Oil

The name Borage is suspected to be from Arabic or Latin origin. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal and culinary herb. The leaves of the borage plant were used to make tea, soups, and as a flavoring ingredient in wines & salads.

The Ancient Greek naturalist, Pliny the Elder stated that Borage plant is a herb that would make a man merry and joyful. It is believed that when borage is added to wine, it causes forgetfulness. Throughout its history, the plant has been believed to bring joyfulness to those who use it.

In earlier days, people used Borage to banish sorrow and increase joy. The tea made from boiling borage flowers were given to lunatic persons to comfort their heart. However, borage seed oil was not used in food.

The recent popularity of Borage seed oil is because of its cosmetic benefit. The oil is rich in Gamma Linolenic acids and widely used in the preparation of fish oils.

Fact: United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand are the major producers of Borage seed oil.

Color, Consistency, and Smell of Borage Oil

  • The color of borage oil is pale to golden yellow.
  • The consistency of borage oil is medium.
  • The smell of borage oil is slightly nutty, pleasant, and sweet.

Properties of Borage Essential Oil

The therapeutic properties of Borage essential oil include:

  • Analgesic - Reduces pain sensation
  • Antibacterial - Prevents bacterial growth
  • Anticatarrhal - Effective against catarrh
  • Antidepressant - Alleviates depression
  • Antifungal - Prevents fungal growth
  • Anti-infectious - Prevents uptake of infection
  • Anti-inflammatory - Alleviates inflammation
  • Antimicrobial - Prevents microorganism growth
  • Antioxidant - Inhibits oxidation
  • Antirheumatic - Relieves rheumatic symptoms
  • Antiseptic – Kills the microbes and prevents their development
  • Antispasmodic - Prevents spasms, contractions, or convulsions
  • Antitoxic - Able to neutralize toxins
  • Antitussive - Relieves coughs
  • Antiviral - Prevents viral growth
  • Astringent - Contracts or tightens tissues
  • Balsamic - Soothes sore throats, coughs, etc.
  • Calmative - Sedative, calming agent
  • Carminative - Relieves flatulence and bloating
  • Cicatrizing - Promotes the formation of scar tissues, thus healing
  • Circulatory - Promotes the flow of blood and lymph
  • Cytophylactic - Promotes cell turnover, thus healing
  • Decongestant - Reduces congestion such as mucus
  • Deodorant - Masks or removes unpleasant odor
  • Depurative - Cleanser & detoxifier
  • Disinfectant - Helps fight the spread of germs
  • Diuretic - Promotes the removal of excess water from the body
  • Emmenagogue – Regularizes or induces menstruation
  • Emollient - Soothes and softens skin
  • Expectorant - Promotes the removal of mucus from the body
  • Galactagogue - Increases the flow of breast milk
  • Hepatic – Protects the liver cells
  • Hypotensive - Lowers blood pressure
  • Immunostimulant - Stimulates the action of the immune system
  • Mucolytic - Breaks down mucus
  • Nervine – Effective against nervous disorders
  • Pectoral - Good for the chest and respiratory system
  • Regenerative - Tends to regenerate
  • Restorative - Strengthens and revives the body’s systems
  • Spasmolytic - Eases muscle spasms
  • Stimulant - Increases the overall function of the body
  • Stomachic – Maintains a healthy stomach
  • Tonic - Invigorates, refreshes, restores the bodily functions
  • Vasodilatory - Promotes dilation of blood vessels
  • Vulnerary - Heals wounds and sores by external application

Chemical Compounds in Borage Oil

uses of borage essential oil

The primary compounds in borage seed oil extracted through cold-pressing method include:

Gamma-linolenic acid (26% - 38%), linoleic acid(35% - 38%), oleic acid (16%-20%), palmitic acid (10%-11%), stearic acid (3.5%-4.5%), eicosenoic acid (3.5%-5.5%), and erucic acid (1.5%-3.5%).

The oil is rich a rich source of antioxidants.

The chemical composition of the oil differs according to the source of cultivation, climatic conditions, and the method of extraction. (3, 4)

Health Benefits of Borage Oil

Though borage oil benefits are abundant, the most important that has been demonstrated by different studies include:

  • Treats skin disorders
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Treats allergic conditions
  • Good for the heart
  • Aids weight loss
  • Alleviates arthritic symptoms
  • Treats diabetes
  • Protects the liver
  • Eases menstrual problems
  • Helps overcome fatigue

1. Treats skin disorders

Borage essential oil can be used to treat various skin disorders. This is mainly due to its antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of the oil.

Borage seed oil is filled with good fats. The high fatty acid content is the big reason for its amazing skin benefits.

To use it on your skin, dilute 2 to 3 drops of borage oil in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Use this mixture to massage your face gently after exfoliation and leave it for 20 minutes.

Research has shown that topical application of borage oil provides skin repair benefits. The fatty acids present in the oil moisturizes your skin and prevents it from drying and damage. Further, it makes your skin soft and supple.

Gamma-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid are the compounds attributed to the amazing skin benefits of borage seed oil (5).

2. Lowers blood pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most common conditions people face these days. What’s even worse is that this health condition may go unnoticed for years and causes serious cardiovascular diseases.

But not many know that borage essential oil does a great deed in lowering elevated high blood pressure. Gamma-linolenic acid is the major compound attributed to this benefit of borage oil.

Also, note that essential oils only act as an aid. Exercise and healthy food habits are mandatory to keep your body healthy.

We do not recommend the oral intake of the oil without a doctor’s prescription. However, you can apply the diluted oil and massage your body with it. It helps to dilate the blood vessels and reduce fat retention in the blood vessels. (6, 7)

3. Treats allergic conditions

Allergies can occur due to many reasons. When your body is exposed to an allergen, your immune system goes awry and starts reacting. This causes inflammation, itchy skin, redness, irritation. Sometimes the allergic condition may lead to serious complications.

Borage essential oil is admired for its anti-inflammatory properties. The compound gamma-linolenic acid helps you to alleviate the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Dilute 2 - 3 drops of borage oil in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply the diluted oil on the affected region.

It prevents itching and controls the irritation. Studies show that short-term exposure to borage oil produces significant results in alleviating the symptoms of eczema. (8)

4. Good for the heart

Sedentary lifestyle, junk foods, unhealthy eating habits, and stress are the major causes of cardiovascular diseases.

Together, these increase your bad cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels. Obesity, fat accumulation, and increased blood pressure are the major risk factors of any heart disease.

Unlike in a healthy person, the metabolism of Linoleic acid to Gamma-linolenic acid decreases in a person with cardiovascular disease.

Scientists say that taking gamma-linolenic acid would improve the condition, balance the cholesterol levels in the body, lower blood pressure, and enhance metabolism.

Since borage seed oil is filled with antioxidants, it scavenges free radicals and reduces the oxidative damage that occurs in the body. (6, 7)

Note: We do not recommend oral intake of borage oil unless prescribed by a professional aromatherapist or a doctor.

5. Aids weight loss

Unhealthy eating habits increase bad cholesterol in the body. Have you seen people gaining weight suddenly after they have lost some pounds?

This is one of the common problems people experience in their weight loss journey. This happens because you are eating something that your body hates. It is time to check what you have in your plate.

This phase can also be managed with the help of borage essential oil. Since borage is a rich source of omega fatty acids (or good fats), it helps to balance the cholesterol levels in your body. It helps in reducing fat accumulation. All you have to do is massage your body using the diluted oil. (9)

6. Alleviates arthritic symptoms

Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder, which occurs when your immune system goes awry. It usually causes tenderness, pain, and swelling in the joints.

Scientific studies show that Gamma-Linolenic acid is an effective treatment for arthritis, as it helps to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body.

Since Borage oil is a rich source of Gamma-Linolenic acid, it is considered as one of the most effective remedies for arthritis.

Though scientists recommend oral intake of borage oil via food, we do not recommend oral consumption of borage essential oil without a doctor’s advice. You can use the diluted oil topically to soothe joint pain and swelling. (10, 11)

7. Treats diabetes

According to scientific research, borage oil helps to restore a condition called diabetic neuropathy.

Neuropathy is a term used to describe any nerve damage. People suffering from diabetes for a long time, suffer from diabetic neuropathy, where there is some damage in the peripheral nervous system. (12)

Ayurveda says, “You are what you eat.”

However, the questions like “How you eat?” and “When you eat?” should be addressed with utmost honesty.

Eat only when you are hungry and literally make juice out of your food using your teeth.

Since borage oil is rich in Gamma linolenic acids and other fatty acids, it helps to restore nerve functions, aids weight loss and keeps your body healthy.

8. Protects the liver

A human body deals with loads of chemicals on a daily basis. Your liver is more like a chemical factory, which deals with different types of toxins. It metabolizes those chemicals and eliminates them from the body.

Unhealthy habits like alcoholism, stress eating, and loading your stomach with junkies create many problems in the liver. This may lead to inflamed, poor, and weak liver, which may even cause death. On the other hand, this causes accumulation and retention of fats in the liver cells.

The omega fatty acids in borage oil exhibit effective hepatoprotective effects. Researchers believe that the antioxidant property of borage oil plays an important role in protecting your liver from damage.

We do not recommend you to use the oil internally unless prescribed. You can massage your abdomen using diluted oil. (13)

9. Eases menstrual problems

Most women experience painful menstrual cycle every month. It is caused due to a variety of reasons. Using essential oil is not a long-term solution. However, it can ease the pain and remove discomforts. Healthy lifestyle management is crucial.

Borage oil is rich in antioxidants and its omega fatty acids help in balancing the body cholesterol levels. Thanks to its analgesic properties.

Dilute 2 - 3 drops of borage oil in 2 - 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage your lower back, move upwards, and then to the abdomen. Do this in small circular clockwise motions for relief.

10. Helps overcome fatigue

Human mind and body are interlinked. People suffer from lethargy and fatigue. Some people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. This is mainly due to physical health as well as mental health.

Borage essential oil helps in eliminating toxins from the body and helps you stay fresh.

When you massage your body using borage oil, it reduces water retention, improves blood circulation, and calms your mind. This eliminates extreme tiredness.

What Blends with Borage Oil?

Borage oil blends the best with:

How To Use Borage Oil?

how to use borage oil on skin

Make sure you purchase a therapeutic grade oil and check for its expiry date. It is crucial that you store the borage essential oil in an opaque container in a cool, dry place - away from sunlight.

  • Topical Application: Like any other essential oil, the borage seed oil is concentrated. You should use the oil in higher dilution. Perform a patch test using the diluted oil before moving forward for a massage. Observe how your body reacts to it for 48 hours after the patch test.
  • Aromatherapy: For aromatherapy benefits, you can diffuse the oil using a diffuser or a vaporizer. Make sure you do not congest your room with its aroma.
  •  Ingestion: We do not recommend using borage seed oil for internal consumption until prescribed by a doctor.

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Side Effects of Borage Oil

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using borage oil.
  • Keep the oil away from the reach of children.
  • People suffering from epilepsy should avoid using borage oil, as Gamma Linolenic acid might lower the seizure threshold.
  • People under any medication should avoid using oil, as borage oil is studied for various drug interactions.
  • Avoid prolonged usage of borage oil, as it may cause blood thinning.
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