In this article, we will be discussing the health benefits of borage seed oil. Borage seed oil is derived from the seeds of the borage plant, an annual herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. What highlights borage oil from the rest is the presence of a high percentage of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an important fatty acid. This oil possesses very effective anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties that fight inflammation associated with many diseases, aids weight loss, and also significantly improve skin and hair health (1).
Below are the 12 amazing health benefits of borage seed oil.
1. Fights Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory effects of borage seed oil should be credited to the presence of gamma-linolenic acid. It is an essential omega-6 fatty acid that gets converted into prostaglandins in your body. These compounds control your immunity and fight inflammation. GLA also directly impacts the inflammatory cells and as a result, lowers inflammation.
Many studies have supported the claims of anti-inflammatory effects of borage oil. One such study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania examined the effectiveness of borage oil in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The oil may also aid in curing heal skin conditions like eczema, multiple sclerosis, periodontitis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Borage oil also has anti-mutagenic properties due to GLA which might help fight cancer as well.
2. Aids Weight Loss
The important fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid, brings an overall improvement in health, including a healthy weight loss. The acid slows down the absorption of carbohydrates while also helping your body hold on to proteins. GLA also helps the fat-soluble vitamins reach the bloodstream. Being a good fat, GLA also cuts down cravings for fat and prevents overeating which results in lower fat accumulation in the body. An American study even talked about how GLA can help lower weight gain in obese humans.
Another interesting fact about GLA is that it promotes the accumulation of brown fat and cuts down white fat. Brown fat is more similar to a muscle and leaner people usually have more brown fat.
3. Helps Treat Acne And Related Disorders
The anti-inflammatory properties of borage seed oil can play a vital role in treating acne. Practitioners of herbal medicine often suggest that the oil can either be applied topically or be taken orally for this purpose.
Borage seed oil also reduces skin reddening associated with rosacea, which can be again credited to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Korean research found that gamma-linolenic acid along with omega-3 fatty acids can assist in curing acne vulgaris. Borage oil can also be helpful in treating keratosis pilaris, a skin condition that causes acne-like bumps and rough patches and on the skin.
4. Improves Skin Health
Borage oil is effective enough to improve overall skin health along with treating acne. It helps treat dry skin and brings back the moisture. The oil has the ability to correct deficiencies in skin lipids which makes it a remedy to treat eczema and dermatitis. These conditions are usually caused when the skin is not able to produce enough of the protective oils which results in inflammation and skin flare-ups.
Borage oil can also aid in treating psoriasis. Just apply some borage oil to the affected areas and leave it on overnight. The next day in the morning, rinse it off with cold water. Cellulite can also be reduced by using oil according to certain sources, but more research is required in this regard.
5. Treats Respiratory Allergies
Borage seed oil has shown significant abilities in improving the functioning of the lungs, especially among patients with inflamed respiratory disorders, including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The oil is quite helpful in treating cold, cough and flu.
Borage seed oil is also often used to cure bronchitis. Few studies have found that borage oil can also be useful in the treatment of other allergic diseases, including asthma.
6. Might Be Beneficial During Pregnancy
There are some sources that cite the benefits of borage oil during pregnancy, but there are also studies that state otherwise. Sources also have shown that borage oil might induce labor. But not enough experts have studied this effect yet. Therefore it is safer to consult with your doctor before taking borage oil during pregnancy.
Borage oil has also been used to treat cradle caps, a rash starting on a baby’s scalp that may or may not turn into eczema in the future. Again the research on this is limited, so it is advised to ask your doctor before using the oil for this purpose.
7. Eases Menopause Symptoms
Cleveland Clinic has published reports which claimed that the anti-inflammatory properties of borage oil can reduce the symptoms related to menopause and premenstrual syndrome – such as breast tenderness, hot flashes, and mood swings. The oil also eases night sweats. However, their isn’t enough data to back this, and more research is warranted.
8. Helps Cure Hangover
Hangover symptoms arise due to inflammation caused by inflammatory prostaglandins. We have already read that borage seed oil inhibits the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and increases that of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins due to gamma-linolenic acid. Hence, using borage oil can significantly cure hangover symptoms the next day.
A study found that hangovers in 88% of the participants were cured by the one supplement containing borage oil as one of the important ingredients.
9. Boosts Hair Health
Borage oil is one of the popular choices for treating a condition known as folliculitis. In this condition, due to infection, the hair follicles get damaged and inflamed, which usually leads to severe hair fall. Applying anti-inflammatory borage oil and massaging it deep into the scalp can help cure this condition.
The presence of omega-6 fatty acids in borage oil also positively influence hair growth. Moreover, the oil might also help reduce dandruff.
10. Might Promote Breast Growth
Another benefit that the GLA in borage seed oil provides is its ability to convert testosterone into estrogen. This might induce breast enlargement. The oil also consists of phytoestrogens that might increase milk production.
However, this information is not backed by credible sources or data. Therefore more research is required to substantiate this. We advise that you consult a doctor before using borage seed oil for this purpose.
11. Can Help Fight Depression
Borage seed oil has also been used in the treatment of mood disorders like depression, OCD, and panic disorders. The higher percentage of GLA present in the oil helps to soothe the nervous system. Commonly the borage flower is steeped in hot water to make a tea that is able to fight depression.
But it is necessary to take caution while ingesting any herb for treating nervous system issues. There is a study that links borage oil consumption with a case of epilepsy. Hence, it is safe if you consult your doctor before using borage.
Some sources also say that borage oil helps treat adrenal fatigue as well, but again the data is limited in this regard. More research is warranted.
12. Can Treat Ovarian Cysts
The presence of rich amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in borage oil help reduces the testosterone levels in women. This property along with its anti-inflammatory effects can help relieve painful periods. The oil may also help cure the polycystic ovarian syndrome.
So these are the amazing benefits you stand to gain by using borage seed oil. But since most of the claims do not have enough research backing them, it is necessary for you to consult a doctor before using it. Borage seed oil also has shown some minor side effects such as bloating, indigestion, nausea, headache, and major ones such as bleeding disorders, liver disease, and issues to children and during pregnancy.
However borage oil has shown a great deal of promise in alleviating inflammation throughout your body. Therefore, including it in your daily routine will surely make your life better.
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