borage flower meaning

Borage Flower Meaning: Symbolism You Need to Know

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Borage is a plant of many names, often referred to as bees brea, starflower, tailwort, and more. While the origins of the plant name are somewhat murky, the symbolism of this plant is quite clear.

This masculine plant is perfect as an ornamental species on your lawn, but it can also be gifted as a cut flower. Not only that, but it has some significant benefits as a culinary and medicinal plant, too.

What Does the Name Borage Mean?

Borage flowers technically mean “sweat.” Not the most pleasant way to think of borage plants, is it?

Borage plant belongs to the Boraginaceae family, which includes a variety of trees, shrubs, and herbs (including forget-me-nots). This family’s name is derived from Latin and Arabic words like borrego, which mean, quite literally, “the source of sweat.”

Although the etymology doesn’t quite make sense, the history of this plant is fascinating.

History of the Borage Plant

Borage’s first uses can be traced back to Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder, who claimed that borage was the original “Nepenthe” mentioned in Homer. Mythologically, borage was believed to cause forgetfulness when it was combined with wine.

Later, Franci Bacon professed that borage had the ability to address melancholy and to make people happy – especially when consumed with wine.

While we won’t speak to that attribute, it’s true that borage will make you happy simply by gazing upon it! It is also a useful companion plant for strawberries, legumes, and other crops. 

blue borage flower

What Does the Borage Flower Symbolize?

Many people that the borage flower symbolizes courage, as “borage” can be considered a corruption of the word “carago.”

Other people think that borage symbolizes infinite romantic longing, as it is frequently referenced in love songs of the German Romantics.

In a more mystical sense, borage was used in magic to bring peace and tranquility to a home. Many people believe, too, that eating borage flowers will boost your happiness in life. 

What Do the Blue Flowers of Borage Symbolize?

In the language of flowers, borage has often been associated with love and romance. The blue flowers were considered a symbol of a deep and lasting love that one would always remember.

According to some traditions, carrying borage in a bridal bouquet or gifting it to a loved one would bring happiness and a long-lasting bond.

What is the Cultural Significance of the Borage Flower?

In many cultures, it is believed that the borage plant can help eliminate melancholy. You can eat the leaves in a salad to make you happy, or steep a borage tea.

In the past, wine flavored with borage flowers was consumed by Roman and Celtic warriors to give them strength going into battle. It was also worn by medieval knights for the same reason. 

Borage as a Medicinal Herb

While it is highly valued for its ornamental beauty, borage has also been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. In fact, the plant’s leaves, flowers, and seeds contain compounds that have therapeutic properties.

Borage seeds are a rich source of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is an Omega-6 fatty acid that has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving skin health, and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.

Borage has long been used in herbal remedies to support emotional healing. The plant’s cooling and calming effects can help soothe a restless mind or ease anxiety, making it a valuable ally in times of stress.

Borage is also believed to have blood-purifying properties, making it a valuable herb for detoxifying the body and supporting overall health. Additionally, studies have shown that borage seed oil supplements may lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health, making it a promising natural remedy for those with cardiovascular disorders.

Borage in Cooking and Culinary Applications

Borage leaves and flowers can be used to make a refreshing herbal tea that has a mild cucumber-like flavor and a honey-like taste. In the summertime, try freezing borage flower heads in ice cubes for a beautiful and cooling addition to any beverage.

One more fun use for borage? Borage leaves can also be used to flavor pickled gherkins, and the plant’s rich deep-green color is a sign of high levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that supports eye health and overall immunity.

Borage for Pollinating Insects

part from its health benefits for humans, borage is also a valuable plant for attracting bees and other pollinating insects. Bees are the primary pollinators of most crops, and without them, we wouldn’t have a third of the food we eat.

Borage flowers produce nectar and pollen, which are an excellent food source for bees, making it a perfect addition to your garden if you’re serious about pollination.

Apart from bees, borage also attracts other pollinating insects, such as butterflies, moths, and beetles. These insects help pollinate plants that bees may not visit, such as certain species of fruit trees and vegetables.

Unlike honeybees, these insects may not build hives in your garden, but they play an essential role in maintaining biodiversity and preserving delicate ecosystems.

Borage is an annual herb that can be easily grown in pots or in your garden bed. It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade and requires well-drained soil. The plant grows up to three feet tall and produces blue star-shaped flowers from early summer to late fall.

Borage is also known to repel tomato hornworms, which are pests that feed on tomato plants.

What is the Symbolism of a Borage Tattoo?

Ink your skin with a borage tattoo, and you will be symbolizing your desire to be happy at all times. It can also show that you are strong and courageous, even in the face of adversity.  

Finally, borage can symbolism that you have creative and genuine talent. It’s often used as a tattoo by those who believe they have psychic powers, too.

When Should You Give Someone a Borage Flower?

Borage is traditionally used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is often used in soups and has a cucumber-like taste. The leaves can be used in salads, while the sweet, honey-flavored flowers are often used as garnishes for cocktails and desserts. Borage is also used to treat various respiratory, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular issues.

While borage isn’t traditionally included in a bouquet, if you want to give someone the gift of a live plant, this specimen is the perfect choice. It can help increase their happiness and overall well being, and as a result, it’s a wonderful gift to bring courage and joy to just about anybody!

Final Thoughts on the Borage Flower

The blue flowers of borage are rich in symbolism and significance, ranging from courage and love to healing and protection.

Whether you grow this plant in your garden or use it in your culinary or medicinal creations, take a moment to appreciate the deep-rooted history and traditions associated with its beautiful blue flowers.

See more: What not to plant with borage

*Photo by PantherMediaSeller/depositphotos

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