Borage: Things you should know about starflower and seed oil

Starflower plants, benefits, and how to grow and care for borage
How to care and grow starflower herbs

If you have heard about borage oil, or borage seeds, then you should pay attention on this article on starflower. Do you know the reason why you should pay attention to the plant? It is because you cannot talk about borage oil without discussing the plant that produces it, which is the starflower plant. But beyond the seed oil, this wonderful plant will amaze you at what you can actually use it for.

The starflower plant (Borage)

Starflower, also known as borage is an annual herb which is cultivated across North African regions for medicinal and culinary uses. The herbal pant is however commercially cultivated for the popular borage seed oil. Borage seeds oil is the richest plant source of the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is used as dietary or food supplement. This plant is an easy growing herbal plant with deep blue-purple flowers. It has a scent and flavor that resemble that of cucumber.

Although starflower is considered a herbal plant, It is also cultivated for so many other reasons. One of such reasons is as a flowering plant that attracts pollinators, due to its sweet scents and nectar, to the garden. This way, so many other plants that require the service of those pollinators also benefits from the plant. The plant that benefits most from this method is the Sweet tomato plant, squash, and strawberries. In fact, starflower is considered as their trusted companion.

Borage seeds

Borage seeds are tiny black seeds that are produced after the plant has blossomed with it flowers. These seeds are tiny but highly in demand, marketwise, because of the high gamma-linolenic acid present in it. Some other fatty acids present include linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and several other.

Borage seed oil for skin health
Borage seeds after harvest

Where can you buy borage (starflower) seeds?

Borage seeds can be sourced from the local markets around you, especially if it is being grown in your area. If starflower is not grown in your area, no problem. You know, technology have made things so easy that we can virtually do everything online at the comfort of our home, without stressing ourselves to go outside. So in line with technology, you can actually place an order for borage seeds in some of the reliable e-commerce sites, that sells the seeds.

Can i grow borage seed in my garden?

Sure? Instead of wasting money on online order, why not try growing starflower in your garden? It will really be a good idea if you consider the economic values of the seeds, and oil. So, while you may place order for starflower seeds, make sure it is one that is viable and healthy. This will prevent the ugly result of not harvesting anything afterward.

How to grow starflower (borage seeds)

Since starflower possess such a strong economic value, your first instinct should be how to grow the plant in your garden, or balcony. Doing this require some considerations, especially with regards to environmental and climatic factors. Remember, borage is grown from the seeds. The stem has no ability to propagate new shoots once it is cut off. For this reason, your first step should be to get the starflower seeds from the market.

When to plant starflower

Understanding the seasons and time of planting the borage seeds is a great step towards a huge harvest. The best time to plant starflower in your garden is in the early spring. By this time, the threat of frost must have past. Alternatively, You can grow the starflower seeds in a pot three or four weeks before spring. When the frost is over and spring is setting in, you can then replant your borage seedlings on your garden.

Select your planting site

When it comes to soil conditions, starflower has no much challenges with the soil type. But for proper growth and massive yield, do not plant your seeds on a clay soil. Borage would prefer a sandy-loamy soil with adequate nutrients for it growth. The site should be located at a place where the plant can at least receive a minimum of 4hrs direct sunlight. You should watch out for taller trees that might throw shades on the farm. Those trees may be cut off, or pruned.

How do you space your seedlings?

According to studies, starflower seeds  that can be grown per soil land is a 100000 shrubs per hectare of land. So how do you space your plants? From studies, 30 cm distance between rows and 10 cm distance between shrubs on row has been defined as the best attendance. There is an interaction between seed performance and gamma-linolenic acid level which could be related to the date of cultivation and the consumption of nitrogen fertilize. So in addition to spacing your starflower plant, also do well to start your cultivation on time.

How to care for your starflower plant

Having sown your seeds, or seedling to the soil, your major work now begins from here. you would need to make sure some certain soil and environmental conditions are being met. some of this factors include light, water, fertilizer, paste control, and soil water drainage.

Light requirement of borage

As stated above, for your starflower plantation to make you smile with huge yield and lush flowers and stocky stems, ensure that your plants receive full direct sunlight, or at least a minimum of 4hr direct sunlight with light shade at other times. If the farm is not located where it can receive minimum sunlight requirement, abort the mission of growing your borage seeds there.

Soil requirement

Make sure your soil is well fortified with adequate nutrients, and organic matters. Another thing to consider is the drainage system in place. Starflower doesn’t do well in an area with water lodge. Water lodge can cause the roots and stems of your starflower plant to rot away and cause a heavy financial lost to you. The soil should be moderately moist and well drained. If it is dry, it is not a major problem as borage can tolerate a dry soil land.

Soil pH

Starflower can tolerate a wide range of soil pH. But it prefers an acidic pH. You should measure the pH of the soil before growing your starflower on it. If it is neutral, the plant can definitely do better.

Water requirement

While the plant prefer a moderately moist soil, it is important your water your farm every four days at the early sprouting of your plant seedlings till they become well mature and established on the farm. t this time, you can allow your plants to grow on dry soil. The reason why you should water your soil is to keep it evenly moist and soft for seeds to sprout and start growing.

Temperature and humidity

Starflower is a strong plant that is able to withstand an extreme temperature at both ends of the spectrum. This is a good trait as it will help the plant to shoulder every temperature changes. As for humidity, borage has no special need of it.


If the soil in which you are growing your starflower plant is a very poor one, your borage will benefits immensely from periodical application of organic and inorganic manure. If however, the soil is rich in soil nutrients, you may only need to apply light compost manure or fertilizer.


You need not worry yourself about this. Starflower self pollinate ad even attracts bees to the garden to pollinate other plants. So here, you have nothing to worry about.


You may require to prune your farmland once in a while, especially to remove early flowers. This will allow the plant to have universal flowering time. It will also prevent the early attraction of pastes and diseases to your farm, and allow the plant to bloom for a longer period. Pruning also allow the plant to develop fresh stem that will later produce late seeds.


Your starflower will mature in about eight weeks after planting. At this time, you can harvest the leaves and flowers for consumption or other use. The leaves and flowers are edible and can be cooked as vegetable, add to your juice to give it cucumber taste and aroma, or as a salad. Harvesting the leaves will also help elongate the bloom time and seed production. So you have longer time to harvest and sell the leaves and flowers.

Remember that the starflower contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can cause stomach upset or even serious illness when eaten in larger amount. So the best way to consume the vegetable is by adding a slight amount of it in your food.

Health benefits of starflower and borage seed oil

Borage oil is noted for the presence of gamma-linolenic acid, which exhibit several health benefits. The leaf tea and flower tincture of starflower is also noted for its great influence on our health. We shall delve into deeper discussion on this topic.

Starflower treats stress and anxiety

When it comes to gaining a relieve from the day’s workloads, starflower leaf tea or tincture has an excellent effect. The tea has a calming effect on your muscles and mind. If you’re depressed, take a cup of borage leaf brewed tea to relax your muscles, enjoy a good sleep and suspend anxiety.

Starflower as a detoxifier

Starflower leaves are natural diuretics that increases the frequency with which you pass out urine. This way, borage leaves help in flushing out excess uric acids and crystals of heavy metals that must have accumulated over the years in your kidney. By dissolving and  flushing away these solid substances, starflower leaf tea helps your body get rid of kidney stones, gouts, and kidney toxicity.

Borage oil for hair growth

Do you know that starflower seed oil can help you maintain strong elongated hair? Sure! Borage oil is known as a good remedy for treating folliculitis, a disease condition in which the hair follicles is damaged and inflamed due to infection. This disease condition can lead to massive hair fall. To apply borage oil to the affected skin area, massage the scalp thoroughly with the starflower seed oil. Through it anti-inflammatory action, the oil will stop the inflammation of your follicles and prevent further hair fall.

Borage oil may also be applied on the skin of a patient with alopecia to revive the growth of hair on the bald area of head, or skin. It also increases hair density and makes it lush and glow. The linoleic acid present in the oil is a natural anti-dandruff, which will benefit your hair immensely.

Starflower oil improves you skin

Borage oil is an essential ingredients in skin treatment commercial oil, and cosmetic products. It is involved in the reversal of the disruption of skin barrier functions, which is caused by epidermal hyperproliferation, thereby resulting in the drying of the skin and showing high trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). According a study conducted on gamma linolenic acid, it was shown that the oil is efficacious for treating TEWL and epidermal hyperproliferation.

So, if you’re battling with dry skin, what are you waiting for? The good thing is that aside gamma linolenic acid, there are other essential fatty acids present in the borage oil, such as Omega-6 acids, oleic acid, and palmitic acid. These fatty acids are very good for your skin health. However, do not apply borage oil directly on your skin except as directed by your dermatologist. The reason is because the oil also contains a toxic substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These compounds can cause serious skin irritation when applied in excess. It is usually best to apply the oil through carrier oil that will dilute the serious side effects. Such carrier oil like watermelon seed oil, coconut oil, or perilla seed oil will neutralize the side effect of the active substance.

Starflower promotes anti-aging process

Both starflower leaves and flowers, and borage oil promote the rejuvenation of your skin and delay the aging process. These is probably due to the presence of strong antioxidants in both the leaves and flowers, and the seed oil. Processed borage oil can be eaten without carriers, as the toxic substance would be removed through the refining process.

You can apply the commercially available borage oil on your skin, as well as apply it orally to improve your cellular functions and stimulate the delay of aging processes. The starflower leaf tea is also taken for this purpose, just like the flowers.

Borage oil promotes heart health

The refined borage oil promotes your cardiovascular health. This is because borage oil contains many essential fatty acids that promote the removal of bad cholesterol, while promoting the production of high density lipoproteins in your blood stream, thereby removing the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The starflower leaf tea can greatly lower your blood pressure through it antioxidant activities.

Borage oil promotes bone health

The anti-inflammatory activity of borage oil have been utilized in the treatment of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. A study also showed that the oil promotes the production of bone parameters. This is a good news! There are too many patients who are suffering osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and several other bone related diseases, which borage oil has shown to be potent for treating them.

Starflower oil promotes breast enlargement

Borage oil has been used in traditional medicine as breast growth enhancer. The gamma linolenic acid present in the oil exhibit estrogen-like activities, which suppresses the production of testosterone and increase the production of female hormones. This usually increase the size of the breast f the person involved.

The oil also promotes female fertility through the suppression of prolactin, and promotion of fertility hormones in women. When ingested through primrose oil, gamma linolenic acid is converted to prostaglandins, which promotes the secretion of cervical mucus in women who are trying to conceive.

Prevents early menopause

The estrogen-like activity of gamma linolenic acid promotes the delay of symptoms of menopause in elderly women. It is also on note that gamma linolenic acid supplementation suppresses the frequency of hot flashes, eases sleep disruption, vaginal dryness and irritability.

Possible side effects of borage oil

Although borage oil is such a high economic valued oil, with both nutritional and medicinal properties, caution must be applied when making use of it. Just as it is not advisable to eat too much of the leaves, it is also very important to state here that you should not drink or apply topically, crude oil extract of starflower seeds. Doing so may have severe consequences.

Borage oil may cause miscarriage

Although there are no much studies on this aspect of the oil, there are several suggestions that a pregnant woman should not make use of the oil, as it may cause the loss of her pregnancy. This may be because of the antinutritional alkaloid compounds present in the plant leaves and oil.

May affect your liver

The antinutritional factor present inn the oil may have toxic effect on your liver. Hence, when using the oil, apply caution.

Borage oil may cause skin irritability

Just like your liver, borage oil may cause skin irritability especially the crude extracted oil. So always be cautious when applying the oil on your skin. Stop using the oil immediately you notice a side effect, and consult your doctor.

 Should not be given to children

It may be fatal to feed children the borage oil, or leaf tea. So, for safety, do not even consider giving the oil or any borage supplement to your children without your doctor’s approval.


This article is for academic consumption, and therefore should not replace your doctor’s services. whereas the author may encourage you to start growing the plant for its economic value, he does not encourage you to make use of it as medicinal remedies without consulting your doctor.


Kawamura A, Ooyama K, Kojima K, Kachi H, Abe T, Amano K, Aoyama T. Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis. J Oleo Sci. 2011;60(12):597-607. doi: 10.5650/jos.60.597. PMID: 22123240.

Wauquier F, Barquissau V, Léotoing L, Davicco MJ, Lebecque P, Mercier S, Philippe C, Miot-Noirault E, Chardigny JM, Morio B, Wittrant Y, Coxam V. Borage and fish oils lifelong supplementation decreases inflammation and improves bone health in a murine model of senile osteoporosis. Bone. 2012 Feb;50(2):553-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2011.05.030. Epub 2011 Jun 6. PMID: 21664309.



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