borageBorago officinalis

Family: Boraginaceae

Part Used: seeds

Base oil: for massage oils, it is best to mix 20 percent of borage oil with a lighter carrier oil before adding the essential oils.

Borage is native to the Mediterranean region. The plant grows to a height of about 2 – 4 feet, has large pointed oval leaves, and star-shaped, sky-blue or purple flowers. The scent of the plant is similar to a cucumber.

Contains: The oil contains one of the highest amounts of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which is said to help slow down the skin’s aging process. It has also been reported to be helpful in reversing damage from multiple sclerosis. A lack of GLA in the body prevents nerve cell membranes from functioning properly. GLA is needed for conduction of electrical impulses throughout the nervous system

Practical Uses: PMT, multiple sclerosis, menopausal problems, heart disease, psoriasis and eczema, prematurely aged skin. Good for regenerating and stimulating the skin. Good for all skin types. The carrier/base oil is used to dilute essential oils in aromatherapy for massage oils and other formulations.

Therapeutic Properties: antidepressant, antidote, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, aperient, astringent, calmative, decongestant, demulcent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant (mild), febrifuge, galactagogue, hepatic, hypotensor, nervine, refrigerant, regenerator (skin), regulator (menstrual), sedative, stimulant (mild)(bowels), sudorific, tonic

Valued as a remedy for depression by the 16th century English herbalist John Gerard, borage grows wild in the woodland and grassy banks in the European countryside. In summer it displays star-shaped blue flowers, which is why Borage Seed oil is sometimes called Starflower oil. The seeds of these flowers yield a vegetable oil that is rich in skin-nourishing fatty acids and is often sold in capsules as a nutritional supplement. To provide extra nourishment to dry skin, make an enriched massage base by piercing one large capsule and squeezing the oil into 20 ml / 4 tsp basic carrier oil.

*Special Tip: Borage Seed is an excellent nighttime nourisher for the face. Pierce one large capsule (1000iu) of the oil and apply it to your face just before you go to bed, using tiny, circular movements with your fingers, and patting it gently with the fingertips around the edges of your eyes where your skin is particularly delicate.

Special Blends

Add these essential oils to 20 ml / 4 tsp basic carrier oil and the contents of 1 pierced large (1000iu) Borage Seed oil capsule.

To rejuvenate mature skin:

  • 4 drops Rose Otto, 2 drops Jasmine Absolute, 4 drops Frankincense

To rehydrate dry skin:

  • 6 drops Australian Sandalwood, 2 drops Geranium, 2 drops Palmarosa

*Source: Harding Jennie, The Essential Oils Handbook. Duncan Baird Publishers, 2008 is free to access and use.
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Making a Skin Mousse

Take a clean glass jar that is big enough to hold up to 20ml/4 tsp of the finished mousse. Add 15ml/3 flat tsp Aloe Vera gel, then 5ml/1 tsp jojoba carrier oil and stir the mixture with a small spoon. The oil and gel will start to combine and thicken. At this point, add another 2.5ml/ ½ tsp Aloe Vera gel and keep stirring. The mixture will suddenly go smooth and slack, taking on an opaque, pale cream colour. You will have approximately 20ml/4 tsp mousse in total – enough for around ten applications to the face.

You can use the mousse unfragranced, or you can add essential oils to the mousse blend and stir again. The mousse will last between four and six weeks at a cool room temperature and will leave your skin feeling calmed, restored and soft.

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Skin Oils and Lotions

The essential oils are prepared in much the same manner as they would be for a massage, except that the base oil should include the more nourishing oils such as jojoba, avocado or apricot kernel oil. The focus here is on treating the skin itself and dealing with particular problems. A gentle circular movement of the fingertips is often enough for the oils to be absorbed; it is important not to drag the skin, especially in the delicate areas of the neck and around the eyes.

Rose and neroli are good for dry or mature complexions; geranium, bergamot and lemon can help combat acne and greasy skin.

A few drops of essential oil can also be mixed into a bland cream or lotion, or added to a basic face mask, which might include oatmeal, honey, or clay together with the pulp of various fruits.

In some conditions, such as cold sores (herpes) and athlete’s foot, it is better to use an alcohol-based lotion instead of an oil or cream. This can be made by adding 6 drops of essential oil to 5 ml of isopropyl alcohol or vodka. This mixture can be further diluted in a litre of boiled and cooled water for treating open cuts or sores, such as those caused by chickenpox or genital herpes.

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