Borage Oil- Benefits, Uses & Side Effects
There are many benefits to borage oil including its ability to lower inflammation, soothe pain, lower stress, reduce blood sugar, protect heart health, improve female healthy symptoms, benefits skin disorders, aid weight loss, prevent chronic disease, calm hyperactivity and aid respiratory distress. There are a number of side effects to borage oil that should be considered, such as an increased risk of bleeding disorders, gastrointestinal distress, the potential risk for prostate cancer, seizures, and possible complications with pregnancy. Before using borage oil, either topically or internally, speak to your doctor about your particular health conditions.
Borage oil is made from a wildflower of the same name, although it is often called “starflower”. Scientifically known as Borago officinalis, this flower is native to the Mediterranean region, although its products are now available in many different parts of the world. This flower is praised for its seeds, which are composed of roughly 25% borage oil. This oil is the richest known source of gamma-linolenic acid (also known as GLA), an extremely beneficial fatty acid, in addition to significant amounts of stearic acid, eicosenoic acid, palmitic acid, nervonic acid, erucic acid and other antioxidants. As one of the most nutrient-dense oils on the market, it is highly sought after for its medicinal applications, and new research is ongoing for potential uses for this uniquely powerful oil.
Borage Oil Benefits and Uses
Many people choose to use borage oil if they are struggling with stress, skin inflammation, painful menstruation, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, high toxicity, ADHD, flu, cough, congestion, chronic pain, anxiety and oxidative stress, as well as those with a high risk of cancer.
Antioxidant Capacity: When you talk about monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, what many people don’t realize is that they can have antioxidant effects on the body, helping to relieve inflammation and oxidative stress, thus lowering the risk of chronic disease, and even helping to fend off cancerous tumor growth.
Respiratory Problems: The mucilage found in borage oil is able to quickly and effectively eliminate respiratory issues, including infections and congestion. It can cut through the phlegm and mucus, while also attacking the underlying infection and soothing sore throats and respiratory tracts.
Analgesic: Pain relief is commonly associated with the use of borage oil, particularly for breast pain, chronic pain, and soreness associated with injuries or surgeries. By stimulating the release of certain hormones, and impacting the pain receptors in the body, this oil can ease tension and relieve even chronic pain conditions. Omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in high levels in borage oil, are able to control prostaglandin production, which regulates inflammation throughout the body. Gamma-linolenic acid is also directly linked to lubricating the joints, making it an ideal remedy for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Blood Pressure: With a huge range of fatty acids and the highest known level of gamma-linolenic acid, this oil is extremely good for heart health. It is an anticoagulant and a hypotensive substance, while also balancing cholesterol levels. In combination, this oil protects against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Acne: When you apply this oil topically to the skin on your face, chest or neck that is affected by acne, it can quickly moisturize that skin, flush out toxins, and return sebum production to normal levels. In addition to inflammation, this can quickly heal and soothe the symptoms of acne, while also reducing the appearance of scars and blemishes from this condition.
Obesity: Not commonly known as a popular weight loss supplement, borage oil can stimulate the metabolism and decrease appetite. This oil also improves your cholesterol profile, leading to less fat deposition and more energy to be active and burn off calories.
Hair: Traditionally, borage oil was used on the hair to improve frizzy or dry hair, while also rubbed into the scalp in order to moisturize the skin and prevent dry skin/dandruff. It can also eliminate oxidative stress in the scalp and boost hair growth, even if a person is beginning to go bald.
Menstruation: This oil is very popular with women who experience painful periods by stimulating the adrenal glands. This will affect hormone balance, helping to relieve breast tenderness, painful cramps, mood swings and other typical PMS symptoms.
Diabetes: For those who deal with diabetes on a daily basis, using borage oil can help regulate blood sugar and insulin resistance, preventing the dangerous spikes and drops in glucose that diabetic patients fear.
ADHD: Studies have linked decreases in hyperactive disorder and chronic anxiety to the use of borage oil, as it can have a soothing effect on the nervous system. This can improve focus and concentration, and lower levels of stress hormones in the body, which can lower your oxidative stress.
Anxiety and Stress: The hormonal effects of borage oil are known to eliminate anxiety and symptoms of depression, and boost mood in a measurable way. Some people choose to use this oil in aromatherapy practices, and while this isn’t the most common use, it is definitely an effective to keep your emotions and worries under control all day.
Eczema: Inflammatory conditions on the skin can be difficult to eliminate, particularly if they flare up without warning. Research has proven that regular application of borage oil to eczema, psoriasis and rosacea-affected areas can have a rapid and soothing effect.
Hangovers: One of the most important uses of borage oil is for people who may have had a bit too much to drink. Borage oil can improve metabolism, speed up the detoxification of the body, coat the stomach, and boost energy levels, helping to overcome even the worst hangovers.
Side Effects of Borage Oil
There are some notable side effects of borage oil, including excess bleeding, low blood sugar, stomach problems, cancer risk, nervous system issues and potential complications with pregnancy.
- Diabetes – While this oil can be excellent for people with diabetes, as it can help to regulate blood sugar, this can be dangerous for people on medications for lowering blood sugar. This can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels, including lightheadedness, weakness, cognitive confusion, fatigue, and fainting.
- Bleeding – The anticoagulant nature of this oil can exacerbate bleeding disorders, so if you suffer from such a condition, or are planning on having surgery in the near future, speak to your doctor before using this oil as a natural remedy.
- Gastrointestinal Issues – When consumed, even in small amounts, this oil can cause gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea, bloating, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea. This is not common, but if it occurs, discontinue use of this oil immediately.
- Prostate Health – Studies have shown that high levels of gamma-linolenic acid can occasionally cause increased prostate cell growth, which may increase the risk of tumor growth and prostate cancer. If you have an enlarged prostate, talk to your doctor before using borage oil.
- Seizures – There have been reports of concentrated GLA causing seizures, so if you suffer from a seizure-related condition, such as epilepsy, use of this oil can be dangerous and should be avoided.
- Pregnancy – Although research in this area is somewhat limited, the general opinion says that the menstrual effects of this oil could stimulate premature labor, so this is a particularly risky oil for women in their first two trimesters, as it can increase your risk of miscarriage and pose a threat to the fetus.