Borage seed oil is derived from the seeds of the borago officinalis aka starflower. The herb is native to Spain but has spread to the Mediterranean region. It can also be grown locally in several parts of the world, as the leaves are edible. Borage seed oil is similar to blackcurrant seed oil and evening primrose oil and has one of the highest amounts of gamma-linolenic acid or GLA of seed oils.
Borage seed oil also contains fatty acids such as palmitic acid stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, eicosenoic acid, erucic acid, and nervonic acid. All these qualities make it an ideal oil to use but there are some warnings associated with borage oil use, which I have detailed at the bottom of this post.
Borage seed oil can be taken internally in supplement form (read warning at bottom of post before trying this) or topically as most natural oils are used. It is beneficial for people with dry scalp, dandruff and thinning issues. It is also great for treating a condition known as folliculitis, inflammation of the hair follicles.
Best use is as scalp massage oil. However, heating borage oil breaks down the fatty acids and degrades the quality. Apply it directly to the scalp at room temperature or slightly cold and massage scalp thoroughly then leave in overnight. Shampoo and condition as normal afterwards.
Warning: The leaves of the borage flower have been found to contain small amounts of toxins, which can lead to liver damage. Always purchase borage oil certified free of unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Due to the issues associated with taking it internally, I would recommend sticking to topical use. Consuming the supplements has been documented to cause loose stool and stomach pain. Stick with using it externally and you’re good. If you still prefer supplement form as well, evening primrose oil and black currant oil are possible replacements (the two oils will be covered in the next few posts).
- Despite its dangers, the borage leaves is used in salads or as a garnish while the blue coloured flower is used to beautify desserts in some parts of Europe.
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