The Indian Borage
The Indian Borage is a herb with beautiful sculpted leaves. It is commonly grown as a potted plant and trusted by households for its many therapeutic properties. The leaves of the plant works wonders as a remedy for cough, sore throat and asthma. The leaves are also pounded and applied on insects bites. In the kitchen, its leaves are used in small quantities and added to mutton and fish curries to mask the strong smell. Commonly called in Tamil as 'Karpuravalli' or Omavalli'.
- The succulent leaves are an excellent expectorant. They can be washed and simply be chewed or a brew prepared by boiling the leaves in water. A few drops of honey can also be added to this brew before drinking it.
- Rubbing the leaves on the sides will release a pungent fragrance that will clear blocked noses.
- The pulp of the pound leaves can be applied on burns, sores, insect bites and stings, and skin conditions like eczema to relieve itching and skin irritation.
- The seeds of this herb contain many health benefiting essential oils such as gamma-linolenic acid. This omega-6 fatty acid is known to be very effective in treating arthritis, dermatitis and pre-menstrual cramps.
- Apart from curing digestive problems like indigestion, flatulence and stomach cramps, the herb improves appetite
- The herb can effectively treat kidney problems especially kidney stones.
- The essential oils extracted from the leaves are used in shampoos
- In some parts of Indonesia, the herb is used in a soup and given to new mothers to help increase milk production. Apart from this, the seeds and leaves are used in traditional medicines for the same reason.
The leaves of the borage herb are used in many culinary preparations. The strong flavour and aroma of the leaves are used for flavouring meats and fish, helping to diguise their strong smell. However, it should be used sparingly so as not to overpower the flavour of the meat/fish.
- The leaves, added with coconut, lentils, red chillies, coriander leaves and curry leaves, make tasty chutney
- Used as seasoning for fish and mutton curries