Borage Seed oil is extracted from Borago officinalis L. plant and is one of the healthiest oils with a lot of medicinal properties. What makes this oil exceptionally beneficial is the presence of omega-6 fatty acids in the form of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid is known for its ability to curb inflammation and boost the immune system.
Generally, other seed oils contain linolenic acid but the presence of GLA (approx. 15-22%) makes borage seed oil unique. Gamma-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid and considered useful in preventing the risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.
Borage seed oil gets converted into prostaglandins in our body. This hormone-like substance helps in boosting immune health by suppressing the levels of inflammatory markers. This inflammation-fighting ability makes borage seed oil excellent for people with joints pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as well. A study conducted by Reed G.W. et. al. (2014) examined the efficacy of borage seed oil among rheumatoid arthritis patients. It was found that borage seed oil was as effective as omega-3 rich fish oil in providing relief from the symptoms of RA and joints pain.
Gamma-linolenic acid is a blessing for healthy skin. It helps maintain the hydration, keep it moisturised and prevents acne. Borage seed oil is also popularly used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A study conducted by Foster RH in 2010 also concluded that borage oil may prove effective to heal less severe dermatitis. Similarly, another study published in the British Journal of Dermatology believed that it might also be used for atopic eczema.
Some other areas in which borage seed oil is in use is during gingivitis, adrenal gland issues, pre-menstrual syndrome, acne and rosacea.
To conclude, borage seed oil being rich in gamma-linolenic acid is excellent for our immune and skin health. It can be used in the form of essential oil or oral supplements to acquire its health benefits. Borage seed oil is safe to use, though some people might experience mild side effects like nausea, bloating, burping, headache and allergy. People with existing liver, heart disorders or on medications like blood thinners should consult their doctor before using borage seed oil. Some of the other oils which are rich in gamma-linolenic acid similar to borage seed oil are evening primrose oil and blackcurrant seed oil.
Tasset-Cuevas, I., Fernández-Bedmar, Z., Lozano-Baena, M. D., Campos-Sánchez, J., de Haro-Bailón, A., Muñoz-Serrano, A., & Alonso-Moraga, A. (2013). Protective effect of borage seed oil and gamma linolenic acid on DNA: in vivo and in vitro studies. PloS one, 8(2), e56986. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056986
Foster RH, Hardy G, Alany RG. Borage oil in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Nutrition. 2010;26(7-8):708-718. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2009.10.014
Henz BM, Jablonska S, van de Kerkhof PC, et al. Double-blind, multicentre analysis of the efficacy of borage oil in patients with atopic eczema. Br J Dermatol. 1999;140(4):685-688. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.02771.x
Reed, G. W., Leung, K., Rossetti, R. G., Vanbuskirk, S., Sharp, J. T., & Zurier, R. B. (2014). Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with marine and botanical oils: an 18-month, randomized, and double-blind trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2014, 857456. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/857456
Treatment of Bronchial Asthma With Borage and Echium Seed Oils (2017) https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00806442