Ever heard of the borage plant? Well, we hadn’t either until recently. Lately, it’s been making waves in health circles, however—gaining attention thanks to its functional medicine properties, skin-clearing benefits, and joint-soothing characteristics. Here’s what you need to know about this too-good-to-be-true sounding oil.
Pressed from the specs of the Borago officinalis plant—which is most commonly found throughout the United States and Europe—borage oil is rich in gamma-linoleic acid (a type of omega-6 essential fatty acid) that is thought to help reduce inflammation and gives the oil many of its perks.
Although you probably haven’t heard of it before—using the borage plant for medicinal purposes isn’t a new concept by a long chalk. Records show that is was used in Ancient Greece as a way to treat depression and relieve grief and sadness. However, it’s only in the last few decades that borage oil has shot to prominence in order to holistically treat a range of medical complaints.
Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is the hero, anti-inflammatory property of borage oil which is also found in evening primrose oil (and is the reason for the oil’s notoriety in treating endometriosis, PMS, digestive problems and hormone imbalances).
In terms of how it performs in the body, GLA helps to promote healthy brain function as well as reproductive health, skeletal health, and a well-functioning metabolism and digestive system. It’s also vital to the health of your skin and hair; which is why it’s often included as an ingredient in high-quality skin and hair care products.
When it comes to skin care, borage oil is a great option for the treatment of cystic acne, acne scars, eczema and for anti-aging benefits. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, the essential fatty acids in borage oil work to prevent dryness, premature aging, wrinkles, acne, and other skin issues.
Once again, thanks to its anti-inflammatory profile, borage oil has been shown to improve mobility and reduce symptoms among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have also found that there were no significant side effects associated with using borage oil as a treatment—which makes it a safe option for sufferers to try.
Due to the high GLA content of borage oil, it’s been hailed as effective at helping people maintain weight loss. According to one study, obese participants who had shed an average of 66 pounds, were given 500 mg borage oil supplements or a placebo as they worked to maintain their weight loss—and those taking the borage oil supplement had significantly greater success in keeping off the weight than the placebo group over the course of the following year.
Due to the GLA content of borage oil which gets converted by the body into prostaglandins, it’s thought to be an effective treatment at rebalancing hormones. It acts as a hormone regulator which is useful in treating menstrual issues, as well as hormonal acne.
As we mentioned, evening primrose oil is commonly associated with the treatment of menopausal symptoms, PMS and hormonal imbalances because of (once again for those at the back), its high GLA content. So, it makes total sense that borage oil would have a similar impact.
Borage oil is most commonly sold as capsules, but you can also find it sold as a liquid. If buying supplements, make sure you opt for a cold-pressed borage seed oil that comes from a reputable brand.
If using liquid borage oil for skin care, there’s no need to dilute it with other oils, however combining it with other acne-fighting oils like tea tree, lavender, geranium or rosemary can also create a skincare powerhouse.