Borago officinalis (55 days) Open-pollinated. Gloria Seigars suggests it as a great border for the vegetable garden where the dense plants smother weeds and attract bees. Bears many small flowers that open blue, turn purple and then pink and make colorful additions to salads. Enjoy the cooling properties of very young leaves on a hot day. Used in cough syrups or frozen in ice cubes to lend cucumber flavor to cold drinks. A nourishing tea for nursing mothers. Seeds a good source of GLAs. Bushy 2–3' annual likes sun, prefers moist well-drained soil, will self sow. Young plants are easy to move around. Survives light frosts. ~50 seeds/g. Especially attractive to pollinators.②
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See Herb Chart in the sidebar for uses and cultural information.
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica, and these become available in August or September.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.