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Borage is an annual that is a native of Europe but has been widely naturalized in other areas. The stem and leaves are covered with coarse, prickly hairs. The bright blue flowers are star-shaped. The fresh plant has a salty flavor and a cucumber-like odor. Borage is used in companion planting. It is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries.
It is also said to be a good companion plant to tomatoes because it confuses the mother moths of tomato hornworms or manduca looking for a place to lay their eggs. Claims that it improves tomato growth and makes them taste better remain unsubstantiated.
Borage leaves and flowers were added to wine and lemon juice to make the popular beverages “claret cup” and “cool tankard.” Borage leaves also have been used for rheumatism, colds, and bronchitis, as well as to increase lactation in women. Infusions of the leaves were used to induce sweating and diuresis.
Borage leaves also have been used for rheumatism, colds, and bronchitis, as well as to increase lactation in women. Infusions of the leaves were used to induce sweating and diuresis.
Modern use of Borage primarily comes from the use of the seeds to make Borage seed oil, which contains a high content of the essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid.