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Can You Eat Borage Leaves Raw?

Are Borage Leaves Edible?

Borage is a plant with blue star-shaped flowers that is commonly grown for its medicinal properties.

However, many people also wonder if borage leaves are edible.

The short answer is yes, borage leaves are indeed edible.

What do borage leaves taste like?

Borage leaves have a unique taste that can be described as slightly sweet and cucumber-like with a hint of saltiness.

They have a delicate texture and are best eaten fresh.

How do you prepare and eat borage?

There are many ways to prepare and consume borage leaves.

Here are some ideas:

  • Add fresh borage leaves to salads or sandwiches for an extra crunch and flavor.
  • Blend fresh borage leaves with yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice to make a flavorful dip or spread.
  • Sauté borage leaves with olive oil and garlic for a tasty side dish.
  • Make tea by steeping dried or fresh borage leaves in hot water.

What can I do with borage besides eating the leaves?

Besides its culinary use, farmers often plant borage as a companion plant to attract beneficial insects and improve soil health.

Additionally, the flowers of the plant can be used for decorative purposes or to make syrup or lemonade.

What are the side effects of consuming borage?

While consuming small amounts of fresh or dried borage leaves is generally safe for most people, it’s important to note that the plant contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can be toxic in large quantities.

Pregnant women should avoid consuming large amounts of the plant, and individuals with liver damage should also refrain from consuming it.

Is there any part of the borage plant that is used medicinally?

Yes, in fact, all parts of the borage plant have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes.

The flowers and seeds contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties.

Borage oil is often marketed as a supplement for skin health due to its high GLA content.

In conclusion, while precautions should be taken when consuming large amounts of any herb or supplement, including borage, there’s no doubt about its versatility as both an edible food item and medicinal herb.

What Can I Do With Borage Leaves?

Borage leaves have a cucumber-like taste and are commonly used in salads, soups, and stews.

Here are some dishes you can make with borage leaves:

Fresh Salads

Borage leaves add a refreshing flavor to any salad.

You can use them raw or slightly steamed.

They pair well with other fresh greens like arugula, lettuce or spinach.

Soups and Stews

Borage is a popular ingredient in many traditional Mediterranean soups and stews.

It’s often added at the end of cooking to preserve the flavor and texture of the leaves.


Borage leaves can be used to make tea.

Steep a handful of fresh or dried borage leaves in boiling water for several minutes, strain and sip it hot or cold as per your preference.

It’s important to note that while borage has some reported health benefits, it should not be consumed excessively due to the potential side effects.

Always moderate your intake and consult your healthcare provider before using borage medicinally.

Too much usage can cause liver toxicity because of the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which naturally occur in this plant family such as Borg (Boraginaceae) .

What Are The Side Effects Of Borage?

Borage is a herb with a long history of medicinal use.

It has been used for various purposes, including treating respiratory infections, reducing inflammation, and easing skin conditions.

However, it’s important to be aware of some potential side effects before incorporating borage into your diet.

Liver toxicities

One of the main concerns associated with borage is its potential to cause liver toxicities when consumed in large amounts or for an extended period.

The plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can accumulate in the liver and cause damage over time.

To minimize your risk, it’s best to limit your intake of borage leaves and flowers.

GI Effects

Borage ingestion can cause some gastrointestinal effects such as stomach discomfort and abdominal pain.

These usually subside within a few hours but if they persist or worsen it’s important to seek medical care immediately.

Other Side Effects

Ingesting large amounts of borage may also cause symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and skin rashes.

It is essential that individuals who have liver conditions or pregnant women should avoid consuming borage without first seeking medical advice since pregnant women are more susceptible to PAs toxicity.

In conclusion, while borage has many health benefits, it’s important to be mindful of the potential side effects associated with consuming it.

If you’re considering incorporating borage into your diet, be sure to consume it in moderation and consult your doctor before doing so especially if you have any underlying medical condition.

How Do You Prepare And Eat Borage?

Preparing borage leaves

Borage leaves are typically consumed when they are young and tender.

You can pick the leaves before the plant flowers or allow them to grow a bit longer once the plant has flowered, but make sure they haven’t become tough and bitter.

To prepare borage leaves, rinse them under cool water and pat them dry with a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel.

Remove any tough stems or damaged areas from the leaves.

Eating borage leaves raw

Borage leaves can be eaten raw in salads or as a garnish.

They have a cucumber-like flavor that pairs well with other cool, refreshing ingredients like mint, lemon, or yogurt.

You can chop the leaves into small pieces or leave them whole depending on your preference.

Borage is often used as an edible decoration on cakes or cocktails because of its bright blue star-shaped flowers.

Cooking borage leaves

Borage leaves can also be cooked like spinach or other leafy greens.

You can sauté them in olive oil with garlic and lemon juice, toss them into a stir-fry, or add them to soups and stews during the last few minutes of cooking.

When cooked, borage loses some of its bright green color but retains its fresh flavor.

It’s important not to overcook borage as it can become slimy.

Using borage seeds

In addition to its edible leaves and flowers, borage produces small black seeds that are often used in herbal medicine.

The seeds contain high amounts of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties.

The seeds can be eaten raw or roasted for a nutty flavor.

You can sprinkle them on top of salads, oatmeal, or yogurt for added nutrition.

However, it’s important to note that pregnant women should avoid consuming borage seeds as they could potentially cause premature labor.

Is Borage Toxic To Liver?

Borage leaves have a reputation for being a natural remedy for various ailments, but there are concerns about their potential effects on the liver.

Borage contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can be hepatotoxic in high doses.

PAs can damage the liver and cause hepatic veno-occlusive disease, which is potentially fatal.

What are pyrrolizidine alkaloids?

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are toxins found in some plants, including borage.

When consumed in high amounts, they can cause severe harm to the liver and other organs.

Can borage be safely consumed?

Yes, borage leaves can be safely consumed if eaten in moderation.

The concentration of PAs in borage varies depending on the time of harvesting, growing conditions, and preparation method.

To mitigate the risk of PA toxicity, it is recommended that you don’t consume excessive amounts of borage leaves or consume them regularly for an extended period without first consulting your doctor.

How do you prepare borage to reduce PA concentrations?

The PA concentration in borage can be reduced by soaking or boiling fresh leaves before consumption.

Soaking the freshly picked leaves overnight or boiling them for a few minutes can help break down and remove some of the PAs.


Borage leaves can be safely eaten if consumed in moderation and carefully prepared to reduce PA concentrations.

Consult with a doctor before consuming borage if you have a pre-existing condition that could cause complications when consuming this plant.

What Do Borage Leaves Taste Like?

Borage leaves have a unique earthy, cucumber-like taste that is both mild and refreshing.

The flavor of borage leaves is often described as slightly sweet, with hints of grassiness and a subtle bitterness.

Culinary Uses of Borage Leaves

The delicate flavor and texture of borage leaves make them a popular addition to salads or as a garnish for cold soups like gazpacho.

Borage can also be used in recipes that call for spinach or other dark leafy greens.

In Mediterranean cuisine, borage leaves are commonly used to flavor fish dishes, stews, and pasta sauces.

They can also be fried as fritters, battered and fried like zucchini flowers, or used to infuse oils and vinegars with their unique flavor.

Medicinal Properties of Borage Leaves

In addition to their culinary uses, borage leaves have been valued for their medicinal properties for centuries.

They contain high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that has been linked to reducing inflammation in the body.

Borage leaf tea has been traditionally used to treat respiratory infections like bronchitis and asthma.

The tea can also offer relief from chest pain caused by coughing due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Preparing and Eating Borage Leaves

Borages leaves are best eaten raw or lightly cooked to preserve their delicate flavor.

To prepare borage leaves, rinse them thoroughly under running water before patting them dry with paper towels.

You can add borage leaves whole or sliced thinly into pieces into your salad.

You can eat them alone or mixed with other herbs such as basil and parsley.


Borage leaves are an excellent source of nutrition that tastes delicious when eaten alone or mixed with other herbs in salads or cooked dishes.

With its unique blend of flavors like grassiness, sweetness, and hints of bitterness combined with its medicinal benefits such as being rich in GLAs it’s no wonder why farmers continue planting this crop!

Why Do Farmers Plant Borage?

Borage is a popular plant among farmers and gardeners.

It is an annual herb with bright blue flowers that are attractive to bees and other pollinators.

But why exactly do farmers plant borage?

Here are some reasons:

As a companion plant

One of the primary reasons why farmers plant borage is as a companion plant.

Borage attracts pollinators, such as bees, which help to improve the yields of nearby plants.

Additionally, borage has been shown to repel certain pests such as tomato hornworms, making it an effective natural pest control method.

As a cover crop

Another reason why farmers plant borage is as a cover crop.

Borage grows quickly and thickly, making it effective at suppressing weeds and improving soil health.

When planted as a cover crop, borage can help to eliminate the need for chemical herbicides.

To improve soil health

Borage has deep roots that penetrate into the soil, helping to improve soil health by breaking up hardpan and increasing soil fertility.

Its high nitrogen content also makes it an excellent green manure crop.

For culinary and medicinal purposes

While farmers primarily grow borage for its benefits to other plants and soil, they can also harvest its leaves and flowers for culinary and medicinal purposes.

The bright blue flowers make an attractive garnish or ingredient in salads, while the leaves can be used in soups or eaten raw in small quantities.

Additionally, borage has long been used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory issues, inflammation, and more.

Overall, farmers have many reasons to plant borage in their fields or gardens.

Its benefits extend beyond just its own growth cycle, making it a valuable addition to any farming system.

Is Borage the Same as Comfrey?

Borage and comfrey may look alike, but they are two different plants.

Though they both have medicinal properties, their leaves and flowers differ in appearance.


The leaves of borage are hairy and have a darker green color compared to comfrey.

They also have tiny white hairs that make them rough to touch.

On the other hand, comfrey leaves are smooth and slightly furry compared to borage.

The leaves of comfrey also have a broader shape than borage leaves.

When it comes to the flower, borage flowers are bright blue with five petals arranged radially around a yellow center, while comfrey flowers are bell-shaped and come in shades of purple or pink.

Medicinal Properties

Borage and comfrey both have medicinal properties that can alleviate various health conditions.

However, they are used differently in traditional medicine.

Borage is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

It also contains essential fatty acids that promote skin health.

Comfrey is famous for its wound-healing properties due to its high allantoin content.

It is often used topically as a poultice or salve to heal bruises and sprains quickly.

Culinary Uses

Borage has culinary uses that add a unique flavor to salads, soups, and stews.

The flowers can be used as an edible garnish or candied for desserts like cakes and cupcakes.

Comfrey is not recommended for consumption as it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that can damage the liver when ingested in large amounts.

Instead, it is widely used as animal feed or compost fertilizer.


In conclusion, borage and comfrey may look alike, but they differ in various aspects such as appearance, medicinal properties, and culinary uses.

When harvesting these plants for their respective purposes, make sure to distinguish them from one another correctly.

What Part of Borage is Medicinal?

Borage is a popular herb that’s widely known for both its culinary and medicinal properties.

While the entire plant of borage can be consumed, including its leaves, flowers, and stems, some parts are more potent than others in terms of their medicinal benefits.

Borage leaves

The leaves of borage are rich in nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to help lower blood pressure levels.

Borage leaves have been used traditionally to treat various ailments including respiratory infections, digestive problems, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and hormonal imbalances.

Borage flowers

The vibrant blue flowers of borage are not only aesthetically pleasing but also have several health benefits.

The flowers contain mucilage which has a soothing effect on the respiratory system when taken in the form of tea or infusion.

The flowers also have diaphoretic properties which promote sweating and help reduce fevers.

Borage seeds

Borage seeds contain high levels of GLA making them a valuable source of omega-6 fatty acids.

These seeds have been used traditionally to treat conditions like arthritis, asthma, menopause symptoms, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

While all parts of borage plant are edible and offer various health benefits when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet or taken as supplements in recommended doses.

It’s essential to seek advice from your healthcare provider before adding any new herbs or supplements to your routine diet especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

How Do You Harvest Borage For Medicinal Use?

Knowing when to harvest borage

Borage is an annual herb that grows best in the summer months.

The best time to harvest borage leaves for medicinal use is just before the plant flowers.

At this stage, the leaves have the highest concentration of beneficial compounds.

Harvesting borage

To harvest borage leaves, look for mature plants with large green leaves.

Use clean and sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaves from the stem.

Alternatively, you can pinch off individual leaves by hand.

Be sure to avoid damaging other parts of the plant when harvesting.

Drying and storing borage

After harvesting, rinse the leaves thoroughly with cool water to remove any dirt or debris.

Then, pat them dry gently with a clean towel.

To dry the leaves, spread them out on a clean and dry surface in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

Turn them occasionally until they are completely dry and crispy.

Once dry, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Using dried borage leaves

Dried borage leaves can be used for medicinal purposes by infusing them in hot water to create tea or adding them to soups and stews as flavour enhancers.

It’s important to note that while consuming moderate amounts of fresh borage is safe for most people, excessive consumption or use of extracts may lead to liver toxicity, so it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before using it medicinally.

Does Borage Raise Blood Pressure?

Borage is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

It is known for its many health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving heart health.

However, some people have been concerned about the potential effects of borage on blood pressure.

The Controversy

Some studies suggest that borage can raise blood pressure, while others claim that it has no effect on blood pressure levels.

The controversy stems from the fact that borage contains substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which are naturally occurring toxins found in many plants.

The Role of PAs

Ingesting high amounts of PAs can be toxic to the liver and may cause damage over time.

However, the amount of PAs in borage leaves is not considered toxic as long as they are consumed in moderation.


If you have concerns about your blood pressure or any other medical condition, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing new foods into your diet.

As with any herb or plant-based supplement, it’s important to use caution and moderation when consuming borage leaves.

Overall, if you consume borage leaves in moderate amounts as part of a balanced diet, there is no evidence that it will raise your blood pressure to harmful levels.

Besides their medicinal properties, farmers also grow borage for various purposes such as attracting pollinators like bees and insects to their crops.

Borage flowers are edible and can be used for decoration or added to salads for a pop of color.

To conclude, while borage may contain substances that could potentially affect blood pressure levels if ingested in large quantities; the moderate consumption of this herb poses no significant risks.

What Do Farmers Do With Borage?

Farmers plant borage for a variety of reasons.

This herbaceous plant has many uses that can benefit both farmers and the environment.

Borage as a cover crop

One of the most common uses of borage is as a cover crop.

Its dense foliage can help prevent soil erosion, while its deep roots help to break up compacted soil.

Additionally, borage fixes nitrogen in the soil, which can help to improve soil fertility.

Borage in animal feed

Borage leaves and flowers are often used as a supplement in animal feed.

The plant contains high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that is beneficial for animal health.

Borage as a companion plant

Borage also makes an excellent companion plant for a variety of crops, including tomatoes, squash, and strawberries.

Its bright blue flowers attract bees and other pollinators, which can increase crop yields.

Borage for medicinal use

In addition to its agricultural uses, borage has also been used medicinally for centuries.

The leaves and flowers are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Borage oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the plant, is often used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Overall, farmers have found many uses for borage beyond just its ornamental value.

This versatile herb has proven to be both practical and beneficial in a variety of agricultural settings.

Borage Potato Salad

Today I’m sharing our secret family potato borage salad recipe. My mom’s potato borage salad recipe is hands-down the best salad I, or anyone else who’s tried it, has ever eaten!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Borage Potato Salad
Servings: 5
Calories: 330kcal


  • 800 grams potatoes waxy variety
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 12 tablespoons cream
  • 400 ml broth strong
  • 2 pcs onions
  • 1 tbsp mustard medium hot
  • 4 tbsp dill vinegar
  • some salt
  • some pepper white, broken
  • some sugar
  • some borage leaves


  • Potatoes should be cooked in salted water, drained, and allowed to cool fully. Peel after which cut into tiny cubes.
  • Borage stems are very fine. Shallots should be peeled and coarsely chopped.
  • Stir in the remaining sauce components and a spicy flavor.
  • Once again fully combine the potatoes, eggplant, shallots, and sauce. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar.



Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 715mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 711IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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