Borage as a Plant Teacher

Updated: Oct 9, 2021



Borago officinalis

Borage denotes the latin term Borrago (Arabian origin meaning 'father of sweat' or 'father of toughness'.

Common Names

Starflower : referring to its appearance

Cool Tankard : meaning a cool, tall, beer mug

Herb of Gladness

Burra: Latin for wool

Barrach: Celtic for man of courage




Borage is a herbal medicine used since ancient times. You may be familiar with the folk-lore saying “I, Borage bring always courage,” which speaks to its application for a run down character, in need of great courage to face the stress & responsibilities they carry. 
“It comforts the heart, cheers melancholy and revives the fainting spirit” (Salmon’s Household Companion, 1710). In ancient times, Borage was drunk as an ale to ‘revive the hypochondriac and cheer the hard student’ (Evelyn’s Acetaria). It is mentioned as one of the four cordial flowers in Salmon’s Household Companion of 1710, giving the cup a refreshing & peculiar flavour which cannot be imitated. Nowadays, it is frequently used in British herbalism, and not so much in the Southern Hemisphere herbalism. Did we forget about our starflower? The properties of borage are still somewhat unknown, so a lot of the following information is gathered from modern day traditional herbalists and their use of the plant medicine as a natural healer.

Distribution & Physiology

Borage is an annual herb (meaning it drops seed and respawns each year), with delicious honey bearing flowers. It likes ordinary soil, that is not too wet or clay ridden. And will grow to 1.5 feet tall, sprawling a square metre. It is closely related to comfrey, with roots as a Mediterranean European herb now cultivated in North America.

Boraginaceae : Borage family : forget me not family

Borage can be identified by its rough & hairy skin, with flat teardrop shaped burrs that stick to your clothes. The black anthers stick out from the middle of the flower. The flowers curl like a scorpion tail, a Bi-sexual. With 2000 species in this family, the Boraginaceae are generally us