Borage oil

Borage oil benefits and uses

Borage seed oil is thought to hold promise for the following uses:

  • inflammation
  • acne
  • breast pain
  • cardiovascular disease
  • eczema
  • menopause
  • rosacea
  • arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

There is some anecdotal information — but no scientific research — about using borage oil for other conditions, including:

Linolenic acid

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

This substance acts like a hormone in your body, helping reduce inflammation tied to skin conditions and cardiovascular concerns. Borage oil has gained 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, studiesTrusted Source on borage oil for its GLA content have backed up some of the anecdotal evidence.


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

The study authors conclude 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. They also suggest that people with RA may be able to reduce the amount of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs they’re taking.

However, the researchers do note one limitation of their research: By the end of the study, about 45% of participants had dropped out. The remaining participants were mostly male and African American.

The researchers suggest that this result reflects the lack of access to healthcare faced by People of Color in the United States, because people who can’t purchase health insurance or get access to conventional medicine may be more likely to remain in a study that provides a form of treatment.

Skin barrier

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

2018 review of studies using borage oil topically and other GLA-containing plant oils found that 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 it showed no more benefits for people with eczema than placebos, based on an analysis of 19 related studies.

This indicates that clinical research shows more promise with topical borage oil for skin conditions, compared with oral versions.

Other possible uses

Other possible uses of borage oil may be for:

  • adrenal gland problems
  • arthritis
  • gingivitis
  • heart conditions
  • menopause
  • PMS symptoms

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