how toxic are borage leaves?

meandraJanuary 25, 2007

I have read that although borage leaves are good for a great deal of things, they also happen to be toxic to the liver in the long run. Is there a way of avoiding/getting rid of the harmful chemical in it? Would borage seeds have the same therapeutic effect as the leaves? Or do they work for different symptoms?

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The problem is that borage leaves contain the same type of alkaloids found in comfrey (which is known to be toxic to the liver), although total alkaloid content in borage leaves is described as low (according to a profile on

The potential for liver damage suggests that any borage use be in small quantities, and that it be avoided during pregnancy or nursing. What therapeutic effects exist seem to be limited and poorly documented, so maybe just admiring it in the garden is the safest course.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:05PM
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The leaves and flowers are the parts used medicinally and for culinary purposes.

Do not use borage while pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you suffer from epilepsy or schizophrenia. Touching the Borage plant can cause dermatitis in those with sensitive skin. Recommended for external use only. Avoid excessive or long-term use.

It's important to take note of which parts of any plant are used. If you don't see mention of any part in any remedies or discussion, then don't use them. You don't need to know why (although you might be curious!) - just don't use them.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 1:29AM
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eric_oh and daisyduckworth: thank you both for answering my question. Did you know that borage is actually touted as a galactogogue in many websites dealing with babies and motherhood? Sheesh! I happen to be breastfeeding at the moment, so maybe I should look into another plant--say, holy thistle? It's a shame that it doesn't promote milk production *and* lift up the spirits in the way borage is traditionally considered. I could use both at the moment.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 10:30AM
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They sell Borage Oil softgels in drugstores.

Maybe those would be safe to use.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:08AM
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meandra, borage flowers are considered to be the part of borage which is uplifting. They don't contain the PAs that the leaf does. I would still check with your doctor though if you are breastfeeding. Remember to stay away from sage if you are nursing, as that does dry up breast milk. Best wishes to you and your baby.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 7:27AM
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novice_2009(zone 6b)

Meandra, if it was me breastfeeding, (and it has been) I would avoid all herbs and anything unnecessary. If you are have trouble with milk production, make sure your baby is nursing quite often, as more demand produces more supply. Drink LOTS of water, and eat well. I know you know all this, sorry! But just remember, anything you put in your body ends up in your milk in some form or amount. Talk to a lactation consultant or midwife (very experienced one).
Best of luck to you and your baby, as breastmilk is the BEST thing for the baby, and you.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:29PM
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I am getting ready to make Borage bread for the first time.... should I? Or should I not? I never knew a recipe from a recipe book would contain something toxic???

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 10:47PM
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