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Borago officinalis L. Boraginaceae. Borage. officinalis indicates it was used in the 'offices' - the consulting clinics - of medieval monks. Distribution: Europe. Culpeper: “... comforts the heart, cheers the spirit, drives away sadness and melancholy, they are rather laxative than binding

Dr Henry Oakeley

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view Borago officinalis L. Boraginaceae. Borage. officinalis indicates it was used in the 'offices' - the consulting clinics - of medieval monks. Distribution: Europe. Culpeper: “... comforts the heart, cheers the spirit, drives away sadness and melancholy, they are rather laxative than binding
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Credit: Borago officinalis L. Boraginaceae. Borage. officinalis indicates it was used in the 'offices' - the consulting clinics - of medieval monks. Distribution: Europe. Culpeper: “... comforts the heart, cheers the spirit, drives away sadness and melancholy, they are rather laxative than binding. Credit: Dr Henry Oakeley. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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help swooning and heart qualms, breed special good blood help consumptions, madness and such as are much weakened by sickness” and the flowers 'strengthen the heart and brain, and are profitable in fevers.' It is (or was) added to Pimms, along with oranges and cucumber etc., but Culpeper was referring to it cheering the human spirit. Under Bugloss, Culpeper notes ‘Buglossum. Buglos, its vertues are the same as Borage’ with a margin note that ‘In Sussex (because they must be francified [=rendered into French]) called Languedebeef in plain English Oxtongue.’ Lindley, while noting its cucumber flavour and that it was added to cordials, doubted that it had any ‘exhilarating qualities’. He wrote that it ‘was once esteemed as a pectoral medicine [ie for chest complaints].’ It has been suspected of being hepatotoxic, containing pyrrolizidines, when ingested. It is genotoxic and carcinogenic. It should not be taken internally (UK Medicines Care Agency, 2002). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

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