Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Borage Oil (Starflower)


Borage oil or Starflower oil is derived from the seeds of Borago officinalis plant. It is one of the richest source of GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid) – a long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, one of the omega 6 fatty acid and an essential fatty acid.

Gamma linolenic acid is responsible for the benefits of borage seed oil. Gamma linolenic acid is found in very few plants like black currant, hemp, borage and evening primrose.

GLA is present in 20-27% concentration of total fatty acid content of borage oil. Most borage oil supplements contain it as 24% standardized GLA.

Good Sources Of Gamma Linolenic Acid:

GLA is found in three most common substances – borage oil, evening primrose oil and black currant oil. The potency of each of these three seed oils depend on the concentration of gamma linolenic acid in the seed oil.

Borage oil is the best source as it contains 24% GLA of borage oil, followed by black currant oil 18% and evening primrose oil with 10% of gamma linolenic acid.

Next comes purity and safety. Black currant oil is not good over evening primrose as the former contains a gamma linolenic acid inhibitor that is why it should be last among the three oils.

Get in the practice of getting oils and other supplements from those stores and manufacturers that offer appropriate information the packet. There should be disclosure of the method of extraction of seed oil as well.

The Extraction Method Of Borage Seed Oils:

There are three popular methods of extraction of borage oil from seeds. The expressed method of extraction of borage oil is the best as there are little chances of unnatural products. Expressed oils don’t contain chemicals or don’t undergo refining process like refined vegetable oils.

Chemical Hexane To Extract Borage Oil:

 In this method, cracked seeds are submerged in Hexane. Then this is evaporated slowly and this method yields 90% oil. It is the most common method to get oil and it is used with evening primrose oil as the seeds are small and with little oil.

Super Critical Fluid Extraction (SCFE) Method For Borage Oil:

Super Critical Fluid Extraction method is a high tech method in which oil recovery is claimed to be 95%. The pregrinded seeds are put under intense pressure of 6000-10,000 psi in the presence of carbon dioxide gas. Under these conditions, Carbon dioxide gas turns into liquid and the pregrinded seeds are found submerged into liquid gas.

Expeller Processed Method To Get Borage Oil:

This is the oldest method and it employs simple mechanical method for extracting the borage seed oils. In India, we get most of oils by this method from seeds. Seed oils are saved from the damaging effects of light, heat, chemicals and high pressure. The only economic limitation is that the yield is comparatively lower.

Essential Fatty Acids And Dietary Recommendations:

All the lipids that we consume are digested to simpler molecules of fatty acids and triglycerides. Some types of fatty acid can be synthesized in our body and some fatty acids can’t be synthesized in our body. That is why the later class of fatty acids is called Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs and the former class as non-essential fatty acids.

There are two main classes of Essential fatty acids – Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. One recent survey reported that typical 80% of US population is deficient in EFAs and need supplements for that deficiency. However, this fact appears contrary to the fact that US citizens should not take more than 20-30% of their calories from fat. EFAs are the polyunsaturated fats or good fats as compared to saturated fats or bad fats.

Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are cod liver oil, fish oils, flax oil, flaxseed or leafy green vegetables. Some nuts also contain Omega-3’s (walnuts). Omega-6 fatty acids sources are corn oil, wheat germ oil, soy oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, blackcurrant oil plus many of the other grocery store bought cooking oils.

Essential fatty acids are often called by their chemical names. Omega-3 compounds are:

  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • alpha-linolenic acid
  • alpha-linoleic acid

Omega-6 compounds are:

  • linoleic acid
  • gamma-linoleic acid
  • gamma-linolenic acid
  • arachidonic acid

Flaxseed oil is world’s richest source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are converted to hormone like substances Prostaglandins that are important in regulation of several of physiological processes and disease related processes.

Some individuals who are deficient in Co-factor nutrients, vitamins and mineral nutrients and those who suffer form some diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and degenerative disorders and aging do need these supplements as well as Omega 6 fatty acids. Otherwise Omega 6 fatty acid like Linolenic acid found in flax seed oil could not be converted or used for production of Prostaglandins.

That is why the ideal essential fatty acids supplement should be a mix of Omega 3 fatty acids and gamma linolenic acid (which is an Omega 6 fatty acid). Gamma linolenic acid can bypass the conversion process to Prostaglandins in an easier way. So a mix of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids is far superior, ideal and more effective. Borage oil is the richest source of gamma linolenic acid. Borage seed oil has 20-27% of Gamma linolenic acid.

Names, Dosage And Biochemical Composition Of Borage Herb And Borage Seed Oil

Borage oil has gamma linolenic acid in its biochemical composition. Gamma linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid – Omega 6 fatty acid. Borage oil is derived from the seeds of Borago officinalis plant.

Know about its various names, dosage and biochemical composition.

Latin Name:

Borago officinalis.



Synonyms Of Borage Herb:


Lapush, Shaja mjekesore.


Ham ham, Him him, Lisan al thaur.




Lauh leih geuih, Bo li ju, Liu li ju.


Borac, Borazina.


Borage, Komkommerkruid.


Bee bread, Bugloss, Burrage, Star flower, Bee plant, Common bugloss, Ox tongue.




Bourrache officinale.


Borretsch, Gurkenkraut.


Vorago, Borantsa.


Borago, Borvirag.




Boriji, Ruridisa.




Ogurechnaya trava, Ogurechnik aptechnyj.


Agumbai (Borago indica).

Dosage Of Borage Oil:

  1. Infusion: Infusion is prepared by adding 1 oz. of leaves in 1 pint of boiling water.
  2. Fluid extract: 1/2 to 1 drachm
  3. Borage seed oil is available in capsules and liquid. It is marketed commonly as 24% of GLA of borage oil. It dosage ranges from 240 mg to 2400 mg per day in divided dosage according to ailment.

General Precautions While Consuming Borage Oil:

  1. Liquid borage oil should be taken after calculating the dosage of GLA in that. It can be done by knowing the concentration of GLA in the borage oil preparation.
  2. Exposure to heat and light may breakdown GLA in borage oil. That is why its supplements should be stored in refrigerators or away from direct sun light.
  3. Due to above mentioned reason, borage oil is packed in opaque and brown bottles.
  4. Borage oil is natural as it is extracted without chemicals or refining process when it is prepared from old Expeller method.

Biochemical Constituents Of Borage Oil And Borage Herb:

  1. Potassium, Calcium and mineral acids.
  2. Fresh juice has 30% and dried herb has 3% of nitrate of potash.
  3. Borage leaves contain an essential oil (below 0.1%) dominated by 2,6 nonadienal which is main component of cucumber aroma (Cucumber aldehyde).
  4. Mucilage is up to 12%. Glucose, galactose and arabinose are found in mucilage. The boiled and cooked saline mucilage from stems and leaves deposit nitrate and common salt. These salts are considered behind the invigorating properties of borage juice or infusion. Borage emits sparks and a slight explosive sound when it is burnt due to perhaps nitrate of potash.
  5. Saponins.
  6. Among non-volatile components are alkaloids.
  7. Hepatotoxic or Liver Toxic Alkaloids – Pyrrolizidine: Very small amount (10 ppm of dried herb) of liver toxic alkaloids are found – Intemedine, Lycopsamine, Amabiline, Supinine.
  8. Flower contains another nontoxic pyrrolizidine – thesinine.
  9. Borage oil or Starflower oil is derived from its seeds and it is one of the richest source of Gamma Linolenic acid. Oleic and  Palmitic acid are suggested to confer hypocholesterolemic or cholesterol lowering effect.
  10. Tannin, Vitamin C, Malic acid, Acetic acid, Lactic acid, Choline.

Medicinal Parts Of Borage Herb:

  1. Mostly borage leaves are used. It is best to collect borage leaves during the flowering period.
  2. Borage flowers.
  3. Borage seed oil is a new addition.
As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

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