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Written by Deborah on November 15, 2012 – -
by Dawn Jaquish
Borago officinalis, or bee bread is believed to have originated in Syria. Its nickname comes because bees adore this sweet treat and are attracted from miles away. The wonderful herb has made its way here and is now the highest known plant source of Gamma-linoleic acid or GLA.
This essential fatty acid may even calm those wonderful few days before our cycle. Crushed and applied to a bruise or swollen ankle, it may help with swelling. A fresh leaf in the mouth will lower the temperature, making it useful in lowering fever. The mucilage it contains calms cough and bronchitis. It can be made into an infusion and drank one capful at a time, or inhaled as moist vapor. What a great little package! So great that it was a necessity to be packed in 1631 when coming to New England from Europe.
Borage has been associated with courage and cheerfulness, to exhilarate and make the mind glad, and drive away all sadness. Recent research proves the stimulation of the adrenal gland, which would lend truth to these ideas.
When planted near legumes, spinach, brassicas and tomatoes it is a great companion that actually nourishes them. Borage confuses the mother moths of hornworms looking for somewhere to lay her eggs. Your tomatoes will be spared!
Being one of the only true blue edibles, it makes a great decoration for desserts. It can be frozen in ice cubes to wow those when lemonade is served. The beautiful flowers can be crystalized and used in puddings or cakes. Wouldn’t this little gem look beautiful on a wedding cake? The flowers are sweet with a crisp hint of cucumber. The leaves are also refreshing as a mild cucumber flavor. The young leaves are best fresh as the older they get, the rougher they become. The older leaves are still useful boiled and used in the same ways as spinach. Added to ravioli filling or chopped in stuffing. If you are looking for raw, young is best!
One more great way this wonderful herb can be used is in a fresh salad. Here is a recipe adapted from a 16th century French translation of a book originally written in Latin in 1474. It is sure to wow your taste buds!
Wash & dry well, sprinkle with salt, add oil then vinegar. Let stand 1 hr. enjoy!
You can eat for free and feel better for it! Getting back to the food and medicine Nature intended is going to take a bit of re-education, though. To learn more about wild edibles and how to use herbs for women’s health, visit our Women’s Wellness University! The new sessions for both our wild edible and herbal medicine for women’s courses will be starting up soon!
My name is Dawn Jaquish, an aspiring herbalist and a soaper with a love of making healing formulas to compliment any skin type. I love nature and being surrounded by it. The best place is somewhere to just listen to the breeze and hear the birds sing. Homeschooling is a priority that brings joy and much knowledge to all of us in my family. The greatest time is studying herbs and wild foods. The children express as much interest as I do. I’m not sure who learns more. This is an ever growing journey that brings me closer to the land that I love.