Borage oil, borago officinalis
- Indications with possible efficacy:
Rheumatoid arthritis - oil
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy:
Eczema - oil
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity - oil
Cough - flowers and leaves
Depression - flowers and leaves
Diabetes - oil
Fever - flowers and leaves
Heart disease prevention - oil
Premenstrual syndrome - oil
Seborrheic dermatitis - oil
Stress - oil
- Risk of Drug Interactions: High
- Adverse Effects: Low
Parts of the plant used: oil extracted from seeds, leaves and flowers
Borage is an annual plant native to Europe that grows to a height of about 0.6m. Borage oil contains 18 to 26% gamma-linolenic acid which is an omega-6 fatty acid. Borage also contains known toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Directions for use
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Borage oil may reduce joint pain and swelling as well as morning stiffness.
Doses used: a minimum of 6 grams per day of borage oil (1.4 gram of gamma-linolenic acid) for a minimum of 6 months.
- Adverse effects
There are few adverse effects associated with usual doses of borage. Borage oil may cause diarrhea, flatulence, burping and bloating in some, while ingestion of the aerial parts may cause constipation. High doses of pyrrolizidine alkaloids may cause liver toxicity.
Do not take borage if you have liver problems.
Borage is not recommended for those taking oral anticoagulants, antiplatelets or anti-inflammatories. Before using borage, speak to your pharmacist to see whether it is compatible with the drugs you are presently taking.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Borage is not advised since there is no reliable information about its safety during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Passeportsanté.net. Bourrache. www.passeportsante.net
- Rotblatt M. et Ziment I. Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine, Hanley & Belfus, 2002
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
- Health Canada, Natural Products Database
- Barnes J. et Al. Herbal Medicines, 2nd Edition, Pharmaceutical Press, 2002
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.