Borage toxicity


Is borage a toxic plant?

Borage oil with free certificate of alkaloids is not toxic; although borage has toxic components, so that, taken in excess or in prolonged use, can cause damage.

Therefore, the plant is not registered in pharmacopoeia and is on the list of herbs not approved by the German Commission E Monographs. Neither is in the GRAS list of safe herbs in the US.; and appears in the negative list for registration as a dietary supplement in Argentina, except for its oil.

Externally, the beautiful stems can cause skin irritation.

What are the toxic components of borage?

The toxic principles of borage are potassium nitrate and pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

The alkaloids are found in small amounts in the stem and leaves of the plant (lycopsamine, supinine, supinine-viridiflorate, intermedine); in seeds (thesinine and amabiline) and flowers (thesinine).

It is described that borage external use has less toxic potential, for example, using the plant leaves in cataplasms (with demulcent action).

boraBotanical illustration of borage

Cautions on using borage

– Borage remedies are contraindicated for pregnant and while breastfeeding.

– Due to the alkaloids can cause liver damage, it is NOT recommended for people who are on treatments or diseases that affect somehow the liver.

The precautionary principle has led specialists to obtain benefits from other plant sources such as evening primrose oil (primrose) and black currant oil.

– For the same reason, it should not be given in prolonged treatment.

– People who take borage oil supplements should use certified products that do not contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

More information on borage.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

10 March, 2022

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