Associated deities: warrior gods, Euphrosyne
Magical virtues: courage, strength, warrior magic, joy, gladness, expansion
LORE: Its common name may come from the Latin corago (cor meaning ‘heart’and ago meaning ‘I bring’). Borage has been a valuable medicinal herb since ancient times, and as a remedy for depression it has been extolled by herbalists through the centuries.
Borage is used in charms, spells, rituals and potions to stimulate courage and strength. Carry some flowers in a small pouch close to your heart when you need these. Use dried borage flowers and leaves in preparations of Jupiter, evoking expansive feelings of joy and enthusiasm.
All parts of the plant have a delicate flavour reminiscent of cucumber. The bright blue flowers may be picked and eaten fresh in salads or candied for cake decoration. Add fresh flowers to a glass of Pimms or freeze them in ice cubes to be added to cocktails, lemonade and summer drinks. Gather the young leaves when the plant is coming into flower, add to poultry, fish and cheese dishes, most vegetables, used fresh in salads, or added to pickles and salad dressings. When steeped in water, borage leaves and flowers add a cool cucumber flavour – just add lemon to make a refreshing summer drink.
Borage is a cooling, cleansing herb with skin softening and anti-inflammatory properties. Use steam-wilted borage leaves in a face mask for dry skin.
An infusion of the flowers and leaves in wine can be used to stimulate the adrenals and increase the ability to cope during times of stress. It can be used for fevers and during convalescence. Borage tea has been used for many years as an antidepressant.
A poultice of the leaves can be used to soothe bruises and inflammations, insect bites, rashes and inflamed skin.
Borage herb should not be taken by people with liver conditions. Pregnant women and epileptics should not take borage seed oil (starflower oil). Do not use internally if you are on blood thinning medication (including aspirin), or are taking blood thinning herbs such as danshen, devil’s claw, eleuthero, garlic, ginkgo, horse chestnut, panax ginseng, papain, red clover, or saw palmetto.
Extract from © Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Concise Herbal, Llewellyn, 2023