What separates borage oil from the rest is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an important fatty acid the oil is replete with. This oil has wonderful anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic (anti-blood clot) effects and works especially well to treat skin ailments like eczema and the like. But wait, there’s more – and we will discuss how borage oil benefits you, here.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Borage Oil? How Is It Good?
- What Are The Benefits Of Borage Seed Oil?
- What Are The Side Effects Of Borage Seed Oil?
What Is Borage Oil? How Is It Good?
Also called borage seed oil, this oil is derived from the seeds of the borage plant (scientifically called Borago officinalis), which is an annual herb that is native to the Mediterranean region.
What makes it so good, as we discussed, is GLA – the oil contains 24% GLA. Ah well, there are several other ways borage seed oil can benefit you.
What Are The Benefits Of Borage Seed Oil?
Mostly borage oil benefits us by attributing to gamma-linolenic acid, an important fatty acid in the oil. The oil is known to fight inflammation (and related conditions like arthritis) and greatly improve skin health. It also aids weight loss and helps treat dry eyes.
1. Fights Inflammation
The gamma-linolenic acid must be given credit for this particularly beneficial quality of borage seed oil. GLA is an important omega-6 fatty acid that is converted into prostaglandins in your body – and these compounds regulate your immunity and fight inflammation. GLA also directly influences inflammatory cells and thereby suppresses inflammation.
One study from the University of Pennsylvania spoke of how borage oil can help treat rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps heal skin conditions like eczema (more of which we will discuss later), periodontitis, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. The anti-inflammatory effects of this oil have been supported by several other studies as well (1). Another study talks about how borage oil can be particularly helpful for rheumatoid arthritis (2).
The GLA in the oil also has anti-mutagenic properties and might help fight cancer as well.
2. Aids Weight Loss
GLA, being an important fatty acid, can often lead to an overall improvement in health – and this includes healthy weight loss as well. GLA also helps your body to hold on to protein and slows down the absorption of carbohydrates. The acid also transports the fat-soluble vitamins to the bloodstream. And since GLA is a good fat, it prevents overeating and cuts down fat cravings as well. Simply put, GLA helps reduce fat accumulation in the body.
And more interestingly, GLA leads to the accumulation of brown fat and cuts down white fat. Research has shown that leaner people tend to have more brown fat. Brown fat acts more like a muscle.
In fact, one American study talks about how GLA can help reduce weight gain in previously obese humans (3).
3. Helps Treat Acne And Related Disorders
The GLA in borage seed oil helps fight inflammation, and this can play an important role in treating acne. Herbal practitioners often suggest that the oil be taken orally or applied topically for this purpose.
These anti-inflammatory properties of the oil also help treat conditions like rosacea. The oil also reduces skin reddening associated with the condition.
One Korean study talks about how gamma-linolenic acid, along with omega-3 fatty acids, can aid the treatment of acne vulgaris (4). Some sources say that borage oil can also help in the treatment of keratosis pilaris, which is another skin condition that causes rough patches and acne-like bumps on the skin.
4. Improves Skin Health
In addition to treating acne and the like, borage oil also improves skin health in general. It restores moisture and helps treat dry skin.
Borage seed oil is specifically known for its ability to treat eczema and dermatitis. This can be attributed to its ability to correct deficiencies in skin lipids. The science is this – when the skin cannot produce enough of the protective oils, the result happens to be inflammation and skin flare-ups.
The oil can also help improve psoriasis. You simply have to apply some borage oil to the affected areas and leave it on overnight. Wash off with cold water in the morning.
Certain sources say borage oil can also reduce cellulite – though more research is required in this regard.
[ Read: Simple Tips To Get Healthy Skin ]
5. Treats Respiratory Allergies
Borage seed oil can improve the functioning of the lungs, more so in individuals with inflamed respiratory disorders, including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The oil aids the treatment of cough, cold, and flu.
6. Might Be Beneficial During Pregnancy
Though some sources cite the benefits of borage oil during pregnancy, there is research that states otherwise (7). We suggest you check with your doctor before taking borage oil during pregnancy.
Borage oil has also been used for treating cradle cap, which is a rash starting on a baby’s scalp that might later turn into eczema (not necessary, though) (8). However, there is limited research on this. Certain sources also say that borage oil might induce labor – but we don’t know how far this is true. Hence, please talk to your doctor before using the oil for this purpose.
7. Eases Menopause Symptoms
As per reports published by Cleveland Clinic, the anti-inflammatory properties of borage oil can reduce the symptoms related to menopause and premenstrual syndrome – such as mood swings, breast tenderness, and hot flashes. It also can help ease night sweats.
However, we need more research in this aspect (9).
8. Helps Cure Hangover
It is important to know that hangover symptoms occur due to inflammation caused by inflammatory prostaglandins – and like we already saw, the GLA in borage seed oil inhibits the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and increases that of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Hence, the hangover symptoms are significantly cured the next day.
In fact, one supplement containing borage oil as one of the important ingredients was found to cure hangovers in 88% of the participants in a study (10).
9. Boosts Hair Health
Borage oil is popular for treating a condition known as folliculitis – where the hair follicles get damaged and inflamed as a result of infection. This can often lead to severe hair fall. Massaging borage oil into the scalp can help, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Also, the omega-6 fatty acids in borage oil positively influence hair growth. And not only that, the oil might also help cure dandruff.
[ Read: Effective Tips For Healthy Hair ]
10. Might Promote Breast Growth
The GLA in borage seed oil is known to convert testosterone into estrogen – and this might promote breast enlargement. The oil is also said to contain phytoestrogens that might increase milk supply.
However, this information has been gathered from certain sources whose reliability is under question. Also, we need more research to substantiate this. Please consult your doctor before using borage seed oil for this purpose.
11. Can Help Fight Depression
Borage is often brewed as tea to fight depression (the flowers are steeped in hot water, and the liquid is consumed). The oil is also associated with the treatment of other mood disorders like OCD and panic disorders. Borage oil, as discussed, contains a higher percentage of GLA, and this soothes the nervous system.
But do take care with the ingestion of herbs for treating nervous system issues – as one study links the intake of borage oil with a case of epilepsy (11). Hence, consult your doctor.
Though research is limited, some sources say that borage oil helps treat adrenal fatigue as well.
12. Treats Dry Eyes
Anecdotal evidence has shown that borage oil can help treat dry eyes. You can use half a teaspoon of borage oil every day for this purpose.
Some studies have proven that the GLA in borage seed oil can help treat the symptoms of dry eyes.
[ Read: Home Remedies For Dry Eyes ]
13. Can Treat Ovarian Cysts
With high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, borage oil can help reduce testosterone levels in women. The oil is particularly effective for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (12).
You have seen the benefits. But borage seed oil has some side effects that you need to keep in mind.
What Are The Side Effects Of Borage Seed Oil?
- Issues For Children
The oil, when taken through products containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), can be fatal to kids. So, stay safe and avoid its use.
- Bleeding Disorders
Borage oil might prolong bleeding time and increase the risk of bleeding as well. Hence, use with caution if you have a bleeding disorder.
- Liver Disease
Products of borage containing PAs can affect the liver.
- Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Some sources talk about the benefits of borage oil during pregnancy. However, avoid its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It might increase the risk of liver disease and cancer and even cause birth defects in the newborn. Consult your doctor to know more about the purported benefits.
Though a little controversial in some aspects, borage seed oil is sure to make your life better. Include it in your diet and stick to the dosage, and you should be able to enjoy its benefits.
Tell us how this post has helped you. Do leave a comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How to prepare borage infused oil?
Quite simple. You need borage leaves (or seeds or flowers) and an oil of your choice (the longer the shelf life, the better).
In a dehydrator, dehydrate the leaves. It can take anywhere between 6 to 16 hours. Now, fill a glass jar with the borage leaves. Add the oil until they are covered. Remove the air bubbles – you can use a chopstick for this. Store the glass jar in a dark place for about six weeks. You can then strain the oil and decant into another clean, lidded jar.
Is borage oil the same as evening primrose oil?
No, the two are different. While borage oil is derived from the seed of the starflower plant, evening primrose oil is derived from the yellow wildflower plant.
How to identify borage flower?
Borage flower is usually brilliantly blue and has star-shaped black anthers. The borage leaves are broadly ovate and stalked and are between 4 to 10 centimeters in length.
Can we take borage oil supplements?
Yes. They too carry similar benefits and might be convenient to take. You can check one popular supplement brand here. And for use on the skin, you might want to use borage lotion, which you can purchase here.
What is the dosage of borage oil?
The dosage is 500 milligrams to 3 grams, once daily.
- “Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Evening primrose oil and borage oil…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Gamma-linolenate reduces weight gain…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- ”Extraction of antioxidants from borage…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Omega 3 and 6 oils for primary…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Eczema”. University of Maryland Medical Center.
- “Eczema”. NCBI.
- “Status epilepticus…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Consumer satisfaction and efficacy…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Status epilepticus associated…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “How to treat ovarian cysts”. Dr. Mercola.
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