English Borage Cows Tongue Plant

Unani ► Gaozabaan (Onosma bracteatum Wall. has also been equated with Gaozabaan).

Action ► Fresh herb (compounded with water)—refreshing, restorative and nervine tonic. Leaves and flowers—diuretic, febrifuge, expectorant, demulcent, emollient; promote the activity of kidneys; alleviate pulmonary affections.

The drug strengthens adrenal glands and is given for stress, mental exhau-sion and depression; provides support to stomach and intestines in cases of infection and toxicity. Used as a tonic to counteract the lingering effects of steroid therapy. Seeds relieve irritable bowel syndrome and regulate menstruation.

The leaves contain lycopsamine and supindine viridiflorate as the predominant unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Due to low concentration of these alkaloids Borage is not toxic.

The drug contains potassium and calcium, combined with mineral acids. The fresh juice affords 30%, the dried herb 3% of nitrate of potash. The stems and leaves supply much saline mucilage. These saline qualities are mainly responsible for the wholesome invigorating properties of Borage.

Borage imparts pleasant flavour and cooling effect to beverages. In India, squashes and syrups, sold during summer, contain Borage extract.

Borage contains ascorbic acid (38 mg/100 g). Flowers contain cholin, glucose, fructose, amino acids, tannin (about 3%). Seeds contain protein (20.9%) and an oil (38.3%). The seed oil is one of the important sources of gamma-linoleic acid and linoleic acid. Borage oil, combined with Evening Primrose oil, is used in hypercholes-terolaemia.

Borage seed oil is used for rheumatoid arthritis, atopic eczema, infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis, neurodermati-tis, also for PMS and for preventing heart disease and stroke. Only UPA (unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids) free oil is given internally.

Listed by German Commission E among unapproved herbs.

It has been suggested that borage not be used with drugs known to lower the seizure threshold such as tricyclic an-tidepressants and phenothiazines due to GLA content (only borage seed oil contains significant amounts of GLA). (Francis Brinker.)

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