Borage Seed Oil

Borage oil is an extract made from the seeds of the Borago officinalis plant.

Borage oil is prized for its high gamma linoleic acid (GLA) content. It’s thought that this fatty acid can help reduce inflammation tied to many diseases.

Read on to learn more about the oil’s potential benefits, as well as drawbacks and limitations. Discuss these with your doctor before using it to treat any condition.



Borage Oil Benefits

Linolenic acid

As mentioned, borage oil has a high GLA or linolenic acid content. GLA is a type of fatty acid that your body converts to prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), and is also found in other seeds and nuts, as well as vegetable oils.

This substance acts like a hormone in your body, helping reduce inflammation tied to skin diseases and cardiovascular issues. Borage oil has garnered a lot of attention because it’s said to have the highest GLA content compared with other seed oils.

Though more research needs to be done, there are studies on borage oil for its GLA content that have backed up some of the anecdotal evidence.


A 2014 study comparing borage oil, fish oil, and the combination of both, found that taking 1.8 grams borage oil and/or 2.1 grams of fish oil per day helped reduce rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms in 74 participants who were observed for 18 months.

The study concluded that these oils may be able to replace nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for some people, which would avoid some of the side effects of continuously taking NSAIDs.

The study also noted that people may be able to reduce the amount of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs they’re taking, as well.

Skin barrier

Research on borage oil’s effects on eczema are mixed.

A review of studies using borage oil topically, and other GLA-containing plant oils, found borage oil has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can be beneficial for people with atopic dermatitis.

In a separate 2013 review of the effect of borage oil taken by mouth, researchers concluded that borage oil showed no more benefits for people with eczema than placebos, based on an analysis of 19 related studies.

Thus, clinical research is showing more promise with topical borage oil for skin diseases compared with oral versions.

Other uses

  • adrenal gland problems
  • arthritis
  • gingivitis
  • heart conditions
  • menopause
  • pre-menstrual symptoms


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