Borage enlivens vegetable gardens with its small blue flowers and hairy stems. This beautiful plant is also beneficial for the skin and to relieve various pains.
Discover its virtues and how to cultivate it in the garden!
Borage: Borago officinalis
Borage is an annual herbaceous plant that is part of the Boraginaceae family. It is composed of erect stems, punctuated by oval, veined, green and hairy leaves. They are topped by blue flowers with five star-shaped petals. The purple stamens form a cone at the heart of the petals.
There is also a variety with white flowers: Borago ‘Alba’. This plant grows spontaneously in temperate climates. In the garden, it is often placed at the edge of the vegetable garden, especially for its anti-slug effects!
Therapeutic benefits of borage
Borage is the ally of the skin. It improves flexibility, delays aging, prepares for the sun, moisturizes, helps to heal, limits wrinkles, stretch marks and dermatoses. Borage also eases pain from rheumatism or menstruation. This beneficial plant, promotes digestion, invigorates and calms coughs.
How to consume borage?
Borage oil is obtained from the seeds. You can consume it in one-month courses, based on one tablespoon of oil per day. This will improve the quality of the skin and reduce the pain of rheumatism. You can also apply it directly to your skin to promote its elasticity, by massaging it lightly with your hands.
It is also possible to pick leaves and flowers directly to make herbal tea. Then put 20g of dry plant in 1L of water. Bring to the boil, then let steep for 15 minutes. The infusion will be useful against coughs, skin irritations. It will have tonic, laxative and expectorant properties.
Growing borage in the garden
Borage appreciates the sun! Place it in a rich, deep, cool but drained substrate. This annual is sown every year between March and October. To take advantage of it throughout the beautiful season, the ideal is to stagger the seedlings because it flowers quickly. Once you've removed the weeds and raked, broadcast your seeds. Cover with a thin layer of soil and water in fine rain. Keep the soil slightly moist until emergence. Once the seedlings count 3-4 leaves, thin out, leaving 40cm apart. You can also sow in a container and place your plants in a container as soon as they have 3-4 leaves.
Like most annuals, borage hardly needs any care. Don't hesitate to pinch it when it reaches 10cm high. This will allow the plant to branch out a bit and slow down the rise in seeds. Watering is only necessary for 3 weeks after planting, unless there is rainfall.
How to harvest borage?
This easy-going plant takes about two months to flower after sowing. If you haven't staggered the seedlings, don't panic, chances are it will reseed itself. You can then harvest as and when needed. Usually, the harvest lasts from June until frost. When picking, you can also collect the seeds for your seedlings for next year! The leaves and flowers will be put to dry for your infusions.
A virtuous plant
Borage not only takes care of us but also of the planet! It is one of the honey flowers that attract pollinating insects and therefore ensure the reproduction of species. In the vegetable garden, it would keep slugs away and give the strawberries more flavor. The one that is definitely all good has the ability to enrich the soil with potassium and calcium. Finally, borage plays the role of compost activator, it promotes the composting process.