Last update: Feb. 1, 2017
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
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Native plant from the Mediterranean region which is used as food. For medicinal uses the inflorescences, leaves, stems and the oil of its seeds have been used.
The leaves contain traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are known to be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic. The seed oil which is very rich in unsaturated fatty acids: gamma-linolenic (GLA), linoleic and oleic, is free of toxics alkaloids. Only products extracted from borage that are free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids should be consumed.
There is not enough evidence on the effectiveness of borage oil for topical treatment of eczema or arthritis (Cameron 2011, Bamford 2013).
Indication of borage by Commission E of the German Ministry of Health: none.
Mother’s diet supplementation with borage oil will increase GLA levels in breast milk (Thijs 2000). Preterm infants have been supplemented with borage oil as a source of GLA without side effects occurred (Demmelmair 2001, Fewtrell 2004).
A moderate and at short-term consumption of the oil is advised, since cases of severe intoxication have been reported. (Al-Khamees 2011).
Whenever used as food it is necessary be aware of it is a plant with a high content of nitrates with reported cases of methaemoglobinaemia in infants who were fed boiled mashed-borage, albeit this has not been described to occur through breastmilk (Martínez 2013).
Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
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