Borage oil is a light, sweet, pale yellow oil that is pressed from the seed of the borage plant, botanically known as Borago officinalis. The plant has pretty, delicate, star-shaped, blue flowers and is grown primarily in the USA and China. Because of its foliage, it is also known as "star flower" oil. This oil penetrates the skin well, but does leave a slight oily feeling.
Although it is very pricey, it is also very prized, both in the skin care and the culinary fields. It is so highly valued because it has the highest, natural concentration of essential fatty acids found in any plant source. It contains a whopping concentration of gamma linolenic acid, GLA, which is an Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 fatty acids are important because they cannot be produced by our bodies, so they have to be obtained from our food. Since essential fatty acids are necessary for proper brain function, the regulation of our metabolism, and for the growth and the health of our bones, hair, and the skin, this oil is beneficial internally and topically. In deed, because of its essential fatty acid content, it has the potential for a great many uses.
This oil is used in aromatherapy, as well as skin care. It has been widely studied for its ability to calm and reduce inflammation, and it has been successfully used to alleviate the pain, swelling, and joint stiffness that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been used, with positive results, for many different skin disorders, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea, and prematurely matured skin.
In fact, it may just prove to be invaluable in the prevention and/or treatment of many different ailments and conditions, and studies have begun to prove this. The condition list is quite long, and ranges from breast inflammation and cramping that accompanies menstruation, to respiratory conditions, to dry eye and elevated eye pressure, to nerve disorders which are associated with diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The conditions being treated are varied, affecting the entire body, and all of the body systems. Borage seed oil is even being studied as an effective treatment for Alzheimer's, assisting with the nerve impulses of the brain.
In food preparations, borage oil just needs to be mixed into the meal prior to serving. It must be used cold to take full advantage of its health benefits, and, in fact, should never be heated. Anyone that is on medication should seek counsel before using borage seed oil, because potential interactions could occur. Additionally, the safe use of this oil during pregnancy and lactation has not been established, so to be safe, it should be avoided until more is known. This oil (or any other for that matter), should not be used in high doses or over a long period of time without discussion with your health care provider. It may cause loose stools and/or minor abdominal complaints.
For cosmetic applications, it can either be applied directly to the skin, or it can be added to skin care formulas after the heat phase. Because of its high cost, Borage seed oil is generally blended into another carrier oil(s), often at a 10% rate. This provides the benefits of the oil, without breaking the bank.
One of the few downsides of this oil, is that the essential fatty acids which make it a great, healing oil, also cause it to be prone to rancidity, since essential fatty acids deteriorate quickly. Therefore, the shelf life tends to max out at approximately six months, but actually, can be as soon as four months. To further protect it, it should be stored in the refrigerator, and kept away from both natural and artificial light.
After spending the weekend making soap, Monday's post will be another great "Make it Yourself" day! Just what will you be making? I could say it's a surprise, or I could just tell you like it is and say that I haven't decided yet! Lol. Whatever it is, it will easy to accomplish and useful, so check in on Monday and see what it is! Conversely, if you have a project request, just let me know and I will do my best to present it!
More exotic oil notes will be coming your way, with the Teaching Tuesday post! Camelina, Emu, and Evening Primrose Oil will all be coming up next week!