Borage - Courage for Life

When we started our research project „flower essences for the birth preparation“ as it was called first, I already knew one or two things about borage. Some years earlier I had published my first book about new essences (they were new in the 80ies) including this one:

Borage as a flower essence is called ‚heart balm‘. It is the proper remedy to face all forms of sadness and depression that come with a heavy heart or lead to it.


A person in the negative Borage condition feels dejected and depressed. Maybe he mourned the death of a loved one, maybe this event is still to come shortly - something darkens his mood. Grief and pain take his confidence and motivation, he feels unable to change the fate, but also unable to accept it. Discouraged and despondent, he is unable to get up and address the challenge.

It should not be forgotten that mourning and crying are completely natural and healthy human strategies to cope. On the contrary the inability to face loss and grief can cause serious symptoms. Only when the period of mourning begins to dominate the life and mourning becomes a character trait and can not be terminated on one’s own, mental disorders as well as physical ailments can appear.

The starting point of this description, of course, was what Richard Katz, probably the first producerr of a borage flower essence in The Flower Essence Quarterly, Issue Spring 1980, had passed briefly: "Borage (possesses the qualities) cheerful courage, confidence, ease in the face of danger and challenge. Borage is indexed in discouragement and loss of power of the heart."

Borage marked a small turning point in the occasionally somewhat puritanical flower world. And Richard Katz himself doubted whether one could establish an effective flower essence made from a garden plant at all. Knowing, however, that even Edward Bach prepared one of his essences of a garden flower (Cerato - Cerato willmottiana), why not give it a try. In the same issue of The Flower Essence Quarterly Katz writes: „Borage has a certain humor, which is based on a lightness of being and has nothing to do with nervous quip in the face of danger. The kind of courage that Borage provides is full of quiet confidence, which also radiates to the environment, and has nothing of doggedness. It is a rather cheerful courage one can develop internally.


The plant is native to Southwest Asia. In a cave in Syria, researchers discovered more than 100,000 years old traces of borage, indicating the flower’s appreciation since eternal times. In naturopathy, the plant is used in the treatment of inflammation, gout, herpes, cough, and emphysema, measles, edema, kidney and gallstones. Not to mention its reputation as an aphrodisiac. Traditionally a bouquet of borage should provide a great atmosphere in the bedroom.

Today we know not only mucus and tannins as substances that can be found in the plant, but also potassium, silica, vitamin C and other substances, even two active ingredients called gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA) and alpha-linolenic (ALS). The former is effective in the treatment of PMS, and the latter used for the treatment of Alzheimer‘s disease. GLA comes naturally present in breast milk. In homeopathy, borage is used as a means for depression and nervous heart complaints.

Wikipedia quotes the Roman scholar Gaius Plinius Secundus Maior , short Pliny the Elder (c. 23-79 AD). , with the words: „ I , Borage , always bring joy.“ The Greek physician Dioscorides , was considered the most important pharmacologist of his time (1st century), described borage as a means to bring relief to the heart. According to him borage soothes the melancholy and calms down mad people. Something similar can be found in the British botanist John Gerrard’s „The Herball, or Generall History of Plantes (1597)“: „ Much can be done from the plant , which enlightens the heart, expels the concerns and raises the spirit. The leaves of the borage, taken in wine make men and women glad and happy, dispel sadness, boredom and melancholy“ The German F. Losche writes in his „herb book“ (Kräuterbuch) 1903: „ The gracious Borage flowers may be used in food and drink to rejoice, because they strengthen the heart and brain and awaken the fearful, sad and melancholic to the joy and sense of jaunty and purify the blood.“

This intuitive use over thousands of years give us enough clues about what to expect from the essence. 30 years after the first production of a Borage essence its description by Richard Katz of the California FES (Flower Essence Society) reads: „The essence enhances not only physical strength, but also strengthens courage and character. Borage is known to lighten the mood. Borage is an excellent heart remedy, especially if you feel a certain heaviness around the heart that can possibly extend even to the entire body.


As a result of our experience with Borage in the exploration of floweressences for the pregnancy I published the following description:

Borage - Borago officinalis
Keywords: hope, courage for life, overcome sadness
Description: brings courage and confidence in life, where one tends to depression, feels powerless, sees no way out; brings relief from pain and perceived pain in the heart.

A particular difference to what Richard Katz writes about the California Borage is barely notable. Many texts of the borage producers, which has been spread around the whole world, tell us the same.

But what is the particular reference to pregnancy and birth?

It is the flower that one takes when it goes wrong, when the hopes and dreams crumble or  burst. The appropriate flower in times of pain and grief, losses and setbacks and challenges. An unfavorable diagnosis, illness and death of a loved one are among the indications of this essence. Here specifically: one learns not to be infertile; artificial insemination fails, you lose the unborn or born baby. These are all events that everybody wishes they may never happen. And yet they do.

Borage can not turn back the time, do not make undone what is done, it‘s not a miracle cure. Also, it can not take away pain and tears. All it can do is, give you the strength to get through the hard times. Mourning wants to be accepted and processed, otherwise it remains suppressed somewhere in the soul, and there it continues to smolder unnoticed by consciousness. The rest of your life will appear completely hopeless if you do not mourn. Borage helps to cry, to look for help or a retreat,  to accept the pain - and realize how strong one‘s heart can be if you give it a chance. This all takes time and it hurts. But it is the only way out of the trouble and it does not take forever. With all its kindness borage provides the certainty: one day it will be better!

Borage is recommended for any kind of depression. Sometimes one does not even know the reason as in the post-natal depression.


Borage shows us that there is always a way out!

It does not simply say „cheer up“, like so many well-meaning do. Borage literally lifts up. This changes the perspective, it lets you look at things differently and see some things that were previously hidden from view. The essence uses its energy to change one’s posture, one does not remain bent and keep the restriction of one’s airways, but helps to take a deep breath, thereby getting more energy and strength to try it again.

Relation to pregnancy and childbirth

  • helps with depressive states
  • if you feel heavy and depressed
  • when there is fear of the future
  • helps to meet challenges
  • as a consolation for infertility
  • as consolation for losing a loved one
  • as a consolation in miscarriage or stillbirth
  • for prevention and repression of mourning
  • respiratory distress, tensionl around the neck
  • postpartum depression
  • to support the healing process

Recommended combinations:

  • Borage + Pomegranate: when the female self-esteem is reduced, for example a breast cancer diagnosis
  • Borage + Sunflower: if you do not trust your own strength
  • Borage + Star of Bethlehem:  in cases of self-abandonment
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Hardly surprising that among the flower essences for the birth preparation and monitoring are some that are obtained with the help of the flowers of fruit-bearing
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