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Re: Re: Borage, anyone?


>>> Borage was sometimes called Bugloss by the old herbalists, but that name
properly belongs to Anchusa officinalis, Alkanet, and Echium vulgare,
Viper's
Bugloss.<<<

And what of Siberian Bugloss? (Brunnera macrophylla)

>>>steeped in wine, brought "absolute forgetfulness."...  to impart
courage...offered to Crusaders ...make men and women glad and
merry...anti-diarrheal remedy...<<<

Imagine those poor Crusaders riding into battle, happy, in control of their
bodily functions, but forgetting what they were doing there.

Kitty

----- Original Message -----
From: <Aplfgcnys@aol.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 5:06 PM
Subject: [CHAT] Re: Borage, anyone?


> Since Borage didn't seem to be anyone's specialty, I did a bit of Internet
> research.  The following is what I prepared for my club's newsletter.  If
> you're
> not all that interested in borage, don't bother, but if you are...
>
>   The Common Borage (Borago officinalis) is a hardy annual plant coming
> originally from Aleppo, but now naturalized in most parts of Europe.  It
has
> long
> been grown freely in kitchen gardens for its uses as a herb and for the
sake
> of
> its flowers which yield excellent honey.
>    Borage was sometimes called Bugloss by the old herbalists, but that
name
> properly belongs to Anchusa officinalis, Alkanet, and Echium vulgare,
Viper's
> Bugloss.
>    Some authorities consider that the Latin name Borago, from which our
> popular name is taken, is a corruption of corago, from cor, the heart, and
> ago, I
> bring, because of its cordial effect.  In all the countries bordering the
> Mediterranean, it is spelt with a double 'r,' so the word may be derived
from
> the
> Italian borra, French bourra, signifying hair or wool, in reference to the
> thick covering of short hairs which clothes the whole plant
>   The plant is rough, with white, stiff, prickly hairs.  The stems, about
1=
> feet high, are branched, hollow and succulent; the leaves alternate,
large,
> gray, oval and pointed, with stiff hairs on the upper surfaces.  The
flowers
> are
> bright blue and star-shaped, with prominent black anthers.  The fruit
> consists of four brownish-black nutlets.
>   The plant, a native to the Mediterranean area, was known to Greek and
Roman
> botanists.  According to Discorides and Pliny, Borage was the famous
Nepenthe
> of Homer, which, when drunk steeped in wine, brought "absolute
> forgetfulness." Valued for its ability to impart courage, borage flowers
were
> included in
> stirrup cups offered to Crusaders departing for the Holy Land. Celtic
warriors
> drank wine flavored with borage to give them courage in battle. Gerard
says
> "The leaves and floures of Borage put into wine make men and women glad
and
> merry
> and drive away all sadnesse, dulnesse and melancholy. John Evelyn, writing
at
> the close of the seventeenth century tells us "Sprigs of Borage are of
known
> virtue to revive the hypochrondiac and cheer the hard student."
>     In the early part of the nineteenth century, the young tops of Borage
> were sometimes boiled as a pot-herb, and the young leaves were considered
good
> in
> salads. It was an ingredient in cool tankards of wine or cider, and is
still
> used in claret cup.   The flowers, candied and made into a conserve, were
> deemed useful for persons weakened by long sickness, and for those subject
to
> swoonings.  The distilled water was considered valuable to cure
inflammation
> of
> the eyes.  The juice, in syrup, was thought to be good in fevers, and to
be a
> remedy for jaundice, itch and ringworm. Culpepper tells us that "the dried
> herb
> is never used, but the green, yet the ashes thereof boiled in mead or
honeyed
> water is valuable in inflammation and ulcers in the mouth or throat, and
as a
> gargle." Today, Borage Seed Oil is promoted on health-food sites as having
> "cosmetic and medicinal benefits."  Borage contains potassium and calcium,
> combined with mineral acids.  The fresh juice provides nitrate of potash.
>   Borage is much used in France for fevers and pulmonary complaints, and,
> externally, as a poultice for inflammatory swellings.   The flowers or
leaves
> are
> helpful for relieving the symptoms of bronchitis, and also act as an
> anti-diarrheal remedy.  Borage leaves can also be ground into a paste (add
hot
> water
> or tea, and maybe a little oatmeal for consistency) and make a cooling and
> soothing remedy for sprains, swelling, and skin inflammations and
irritations.
>   Although the leaves of Borage are edible, it's best to use small young
> leaves because as they get bigger the leaves get hairy and are not
comfortable
> to
> eat. Freeze flowers in ice cubes for adding to drinks; dry flowers to add
to
> pot pourri - they keep their steel blue colour very well. The flowers can
be
> crystallized for cake decoration or added to vinegar that turns blue
>   As for recipes, there are several available online, most of which read
like
> cucumbers in sour cream, just with shredded borage leaves added.  Since
they
> are supposed to have a cucumber flavor, this sounds like a
not-very-important
> use of the plant. Then there was
>
> Borage Soup
>  1/2 lb. young borage leaves & flowers
> 2 oz. short grain rice
> 2 oz. butter
> 1 1/2 pints chicken stock
> 6oz. double cream
>  Seasoning to taste
>
> Melt the butter in a saucepan.
> Add the rice and cook over a low heat for two minutes,.
> Add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
> Strip the borage leaves and flowers from the stalks and wash well.
> Leave aside some flowers for decoration and add the remainder to the
> saucepan.
> Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
> Season to taste.
> Allow to cool for a while, then liquidize in a blender Pour the soup
through
> a fine sieve into a serving tureen and allow to cool. Before serving stir
in
> the cream and decorate with the bright blue borage flowers. Serves 4.
>
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