Starflower oil also referred to as borage oil or borage seed oil is derived from the seeds of the borage plant (Borago officinalis). The oil’s name comes from the borage plant’s purple star-shaped flowers.
The borage plant, sometimes called starflower, is a wildflower and medicinal herb that grows natively in temperate regions around the world, primarily in Mediterranean countries like Spain and Greece as well as in the rest of Europe, South America and North Africa.
The plant produces attractive blue to purple star-shaped flowers on fuzzy stems. Borage plants are normally raised commercially for producing borage seed oil, which is known for its medicinal and culinary uses.
The active substances the plant contains are said to have perspiratory, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, sedative, anodyne, anti-fever, laxative and metabolism regulation properties.
Borage juice is proven to be of great help when dealing with anxiety, insomnia, depression, unpleasant premenstrual symptoms and cardiac neurosis. Moreover, you can use the remedy to stabilize the performance of nervous system and improve metabolism.
In order to get the juice, you should use the top leaves of the plant. Wash them and scald with boiling water. Afterwards, grind the leaves and squeeze the paste through dense cloth to get the juice.
You should mix equal quantities of the juice and cold boiled water or whey. Boil the mixture on a small fire for 3 minutes. Take 3 tablespoons of the mixture 3-4 times a day before meal.
Borage leaves and blossoms are commonly used in food. You can add them to spring salad. Moreover, the herb can be used to flavor vinegar and various drinks – vine, punch and etc.
Vitamin salad containing borage leaves is particularly advisable for nervous people to reduce nervous excitement, as well as, to prevent inflammation of the kidney and intestines.
Borage fruits (nutlets) which bear the seeds are used industrially to produce oil. Used for a variety of medicinal purposes, the borage seed oil is also a little-known secret for keeping your skin healthy and young. It can be applied topically or taken internally for similar results.
Starflower oil is reputed as the ultimate skin hydrator and moisturizer, and it is often employed for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. The oil restores moisture and smoothness to dry, damaged skin.
Starflower (borage) oil is very rich in vitamins like vitamin E and C, both powerful antioxidants that protect skin against premature ageing from sun, environmental and free radical damage. This means it can help to reduce the onset of skin aging if used as part of an overall anti-aging skincare routine.
The fact that starflower oil is good for the skin is because the oil is the richest known source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that helps protect and moisturize the skin.
Of the three oils that are good sources of GLA — borage, evening primrose and black currant seed — borage has the highest concentration at 24%.
The body uses gamma linolenic acid (GLA) to make the hormone-like substance prostaglandin. GLA is important in restoring and maintaining good skin health. Prostaglandin is found to have anti-inflammatory properties. It also protects the skin from damage and regulates water loss. Taking borage oil as a dietary supplement or applying it directly to the skin can improve skin structure and appearance.
This therefore leads scientists and researchers to believe that starflower oil can help to restore the moisture barrier of the skin, whether it has been damaged by environmental factors, or if dryness is caused by genetics or a skin disorder.
In one clinical trial, patients were treated with a topical cream containing starflower oil for a period of two weeks. The results of the trial indicated that the borage seed oil is effective at restoring smoothness and moisture to skin.
Research had also proven that when combined with anti-inflammatory pain killers, borage seed oil can significantly reduce the symptoms of (rheumatoid) arthritis. According to recent findings, 6 weeks of consistent borage seed oil intake can reduce tenderness and swelling of joints.
Borage seed oil can improve heart health by lowering blood cholesterol levels and minimizing the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. It also plays a part in reducing high blood pressure associated with stress.
Borage seed oil can also help to increase the strength of nails. If your nails are brittle and grow at a very slow pace, this oil will help you tremendously. Rubbing this oil mixture onto your nails on daily basis or at least 3 to 4 times a week will feed your skin and the nails.
Borage seed oil has been shown to be able to improve the function of the lungs in critically ill patients. There is some evidence that borage seed oil, when taken in combination with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), might reduce the number of days spent in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the length of time a breathing machine is needed by patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Borage seed oil is used as vitamin F to reduce unpleasant premenstrual symptoms, as well as, to treat rheumatism and various chronic skin diseases. Borage seed oil makes excellent hair massage oil when it is mixed with coconut or olive oil.
Borage seed oil side effects
Kansas State University warns that borage leaves contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which may be toxic to the liver and carcinogenic. Small amounts are sometimes detected in the oil, but some brands claim to be PA-free.
Risks also exist for pregnant women and for men with prostate cancer or who are at risk of developing the disease.
Though the gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, in borage seed oil helps to reduce inflammation throughout your body and is commonly used for such purposes, but, taking more than 3,000 mg of the oil in a day can have the opposite effect and provoke inflammation.
There is some concern that borage seed oil might prolong bleeding time and increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. If you have a bleeding disorder, use borage with caution. Borage seed oil might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking borage at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
What is the proper way to use borage seed oil?
Taking up to 12 grams of borage seed oil a day is generally considered safe. Very high quantities can cause upset stomach. Don’t take borage oil or borage-containing products without consulting a doctor first.
Whichever brand of borage seed oil you choose, make sure that it is cold-pressed, as some manufacturers use hexane as a solvent to extract the oil from the seeds.
Make sure that your borage seed oil is fresh, and kept tightly sealed because GLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid and prone to oxidative damage.
A dosage of borage seed oil between 1.4 to 2.8 grams is recommended to treat arthritis. A daily dosage of 360 milligrams is sufficient for treating eczema. Diabetic patients taking a dosage of 480 milligrams on a daily basis show good results.
Patients with a high degree of triglycerides suffer from hardening of arteries and dangers of heart problems and strokes. A daily dosage of approximately 2000 milligrams of borage seed oil has been found to yield highly effective results in lowering triglyceride levels in the body of patients
Take this product by mouth as directed. Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This herbal product should not be used for long periods unless directed by your physician. If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
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