Borage (Borago)

Published July 12, 1991.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Boraginis flos, borage flower.
Boraginis herba, borage herb.

Composition of Drug

Borage flower consists of the flowers of Borago officinalis L. [Fam. Boraginaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

Borage herb consists of the fresh or dried, above-ground parts of B. officinalis L., as well as preparations thereof.


Preparations of borage flower and herb are used for blood purification and diuresis, as a preventative for inflammation of the lungs and peritoneum, for arthritis of the joints, as an expectorant, antiinflammatory agent, for pain relief, cardiac tonic, sedative, diaphoretic, for increase of circulatory capacity and for phlebitis, and for menopausal disorders.

The effectiveness for the claimed applications is not documented.


Borage contains variable amounts of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). Organotoxic, particularly hepatotoxic, effects are known for these alkaloids. Animal experiments showed carcinogenic effects for PA, with a mechanism of action genotoxicity.


Considering the risks and the undocumented effectiveness for the claimed uses, a therapeutic application of borage flower and herb cannot be justified.