Borage (Borago officinalis)

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Borage (Borago officinalis)

Borage has traditionally been associated with good spirits and well-being. Pliny has been quoted as saying, 'A Borage brew would eliminate a person's sadness and make the person glad to be alive'. Such was the belief in the spirit-rousing powers of Borage, it was given to crusaders before going on long journeys and to gladiators prior to blood-curdling skirmishes. In Wales Borage is known as llanwenlys, which means 'herb of gladness'.

Growing Tips

Borage is remarkably easy to grow. In fact, the hard part is keeping it under control in your garden; it self seeds very easily. To plant borage, just find a sunny spot in the garden and cluster the plants, since they tend to get leggy.


Borage's cucumber flavor makes it a logical addition to any green salad, but be sure to cut the leaves up small enough to negate the hairiness. Add the cut up leaves to cream and cottage cheese and put into herb sandwiches with a little salt and pepper. Borage flowers floated on refreshing drinks such as fruit punch or a Pimm's, looks attractive and the flavour is complementary. A popular dessert and cake decoration is made by dipping Borage flowers into beaten egg whites, dusting with sugar and allowing to dry. Leaves are used raw, stems are steamed and sautéed, much as spinach is. Stems can be used as you would celery. The star shaped flowers of borage are great as a garnish or tossed in a salad. The leaves and stems enhance poultry, fish, cheese, most vegetables, salads, pickles and salad dressings. The candied flowers are used to decorate candies and cakes. Flavours blend well with dill, mint and garlic. Because the stems and leaves are fuzzy, many chefs use them for flavouring and remove them from the dish before serving.

Herb Attributes

HarvestHarvest Borage in the late morning after the dew has evaporated from the leaves and flowers, but before the day becomes too warm.
PositionSun to Part Sun