(Borago officinalis; 250 mg/ml)
• used as an adrenal tonic for nervous exhaustion, depression, and fatigue
In Western herbalism, Borage is classified as a nervine, that class of herbs that tonifies, calms and heals the nervous system. Borage is an especially effective tonic for the adrenal glands. Roman soldiers ate borage before going into battle, as it was believed to give one courage. In fact, a common catchphrase from antiquity was “I, Borage, bring always courage”. The dried leaves and flowers are very high in potassium.
Regarding borage's adrenal restorative properties, noted medical herbalist David Hoffmann explains that, “Borage acts as a restorative agent on the adrenal cortex, which means that it will revive and renew the adrenal glands after a medical treatment with cortisone or steroids. There is a growing need for remedies that will aid this gland with the stress it is exposed to, both internally and externally. Borage may be used as a tonic to the adrenals over a period of time. It may be used during fevers and especially during convalescence”.
Esteemed herbalist Matthew Wood includes borage as one of his ten “indispensable herbs”. He names specifically “The Indispensable Nerve Rebuilder” and explains that, “It is always necessary, in some cases, to sedate and calm a deeply vexed and worn out nervous system. The best remedy for this is borage, though it has been nearly forgotten in North America. It can be used in combination with burdock to rebuild the adrenals.”
“Borage is still liberally used in British herbalism, but not much in North America,” Wood continues. “Borage is a deep-acting nervine suited to cases where there is thorough exhaustion and low spirits. Often the person is just run to death by responsibilities or, alternately, runs themselves down with self-criticism and impossible standards. Rosari Kingston, herbalist (MNIMH), of County Cork, Ireland, says borage is indicated in ‘menopausal women who are overworked and totally exhausted. Teachers are a good example…' In addition to acting on the nerves, borage has an action on the endocrine system,” Wood points out. “Mrs. Leyel cited it as a remedy for adrenal exhaustion. It probably works higher up the endocrine cascade. It has been traditionally used to increase lactaction, so it probably acts on the top of the endocrine chain, on the hypothalamus and pituitary.”
Wood cites as specific indications on the mental-emotional sphere, “Personality downcast, heavy-hearted, weighed down, depressed; nervousness, insomnia, fainting, dizziness, melancholy; overwork, nervousness, exhaustion, especially in menopausal women”. He also adds the specific indications of post-partum nervous exhaustion, exhaustion of menopause, and menopausal hot flashes.