25th Jul 2012

What You Should Know About Borage Seed Oil and GLA

flax-seed-oil1-300x199.jpgBorage, more commonly known as ‘starflower, has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. The plant is thought to originate from Syria, but today  borage can be found all over Europe and well as the United States. Most of the time is grows like a weed around properties, with many gardeners thinking it is a nuisance. However, traditionally it was cultivated as a medicinal plant and for its flowers, which are edible. Beekeepers love borage, as it attracts the insects and increases their yield of honey. It is for this reason that borage has the nickname ‘bee’s bread’ among beekeepers.

When the seeds of the borage plant are pressed into oil, studies have shown that the plant and its oil has many beneficial properties. It can be used both internally and in topical applications. Borage seed oil contains the highest concentration of natural gamma linolenic acid, which is known as GLA, a valuable unsaturated fatty acid. The content in borage is higher than in any other plant.

What Is GLA?

GLA is a vital Omega-6 fatty acid that our bodies cannot produce unless it’s from other essential fatty acids. However, GLA is found in food sources like blackcurrant and egg yolks. Our bodies need essential fatty acids to aid brain function, to regulate metabolism, and for the healthy growth of bones, hair, and skin.

Cold pressed (unrefined) borage seed oil is used in cosmetics and food. The extract is a wonderful supplement many people are taking due to its high GLA content. It has a higher content than that of evening primrose, which is often referred to as gamma linolenic acid.

Who Would Benefit for Borage Seed Oil Extract?

Studies have shown the high levels of gamma linolenic acid in borage seed oil extract is a worthwhile supplement, as it has shown to reduce inflammation. This research has also demonstrated that it can successfully reduce pain and swelling. Taken in supplement form, GLA is recommended for joint stiffness often associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

People with skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne, and rosacea can benefit from taking borage seed oilsupplements both topically and internally. It also helps slow down the signs of aging, especially on prematurely aged skin.

What New Studies Have Shown:

Borage seed oil has shown to be extremely beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Menstrual cycles
  • Breast inflammation
  • Cramps
  • Osteoporosis: calcium deposits and absorption, bone strength and growth
  • Menopausal symptoms, as it helps with hot flashes
  • Weight loss, as  it helps regulate metabolism
  • Respiratory conditions, sore throat, cough, as it is an expectorant, mucilage
  • Nerve disorders for those with Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis: it assists nerve function
  • Dry-eye conditions
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Ulcers because it has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lupus because of the anti-inflammatory properties contained in GLA
  • Impotence because it promotes blood flow
  • Reduction of abnormal blood clotting because it promotes blood flow
  • Alzheimer’s because it assists with nerve impulses

Borage seed oil is such a rich source of gamma linolenic acid and has so many beneficial health properties that many people are taking it as a good all-round dietary aid and supplement that keeps their bodies in top condition as well as help with their weight control.

Can I Use Borage Seed Oil in Cooking?

Borage seed oil can be used in food preparations by simply mixing the uncooked oil into the food you’ve prepared just before serving it up. The oil must not be heated, as the heating process changes its beneficial values and so loses its full potency.

What About Cosmetically?

Borage seed oil is a wonderful oil to use topically. All you need to do is rub a little of the oil on your skin everyday to improve its condition and to help treat various skin conditions like acne and eczema. You can also add it to any cosmetic preparations you make yourself or just use a drop of the oil, although some people mix the oil at a percentage of 50/50 with another carrier oil like almond oil.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Anyone taking any prescribed medication should check with their doctors before they take or use borage seed oil, as it might interact with their medication and therefore cause side effects.

Pregnant women should also avoid taking borage seed oil as a supplement during pregnancy and when nursing, as not enough research has been carried out and therefore the potential risks are unknown.

Borage seed oil should never be taken in high doses and should not be taken over a long period of time without first consulting a doctor. Occasionally people who have supplemented borage seed oil in their diets have experienced loose stool and minor stomach upsets.