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Borage, St John’s Wort, Lemon Balm and Valerian

Borage - Research
Borage seed oil contains 20-26% GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).9  Various diseases have been linked to a deficiency in GLA. Therefore, it is thought that GLA supplementation may help some of these ailments. Preliminary research suggests that borage oil may be useful for soothing allergic inflammation of the skin and other skin irritations, as well as muscle problems.10  
Traditionally used for fevers, coughs, and depression, borage oil has also been used to induce sweating, as an expectorant, and as an anti-inflammatory agent.4  In addition to being used for colds, rheumatism, and bronchitis, borage can be utilized as a culinary plant. Borage leaves can be cooked like spinach, or eaten in pickles and salads. Flowers can be used as an edible decoration for salads 8  or mixed with the leaves in wines and lemon juice to flavor beverages.6 


4  Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines. 2nd edition. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2002.
6  DerMarderosian A, Beutler JA. The Review of Natural Products. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons; 2002.
7  Hill M., Barclay G. Southern Herb Growing. Fredericksburg, TX: Shearer Publishing; 1997.
8  Hafid E, Blade SF, Hoyano Y. Borage Culture on the Black Soil Zone of Alberta, Canada. In: Janick J, Whipkey A, editors. Trends in New Corps and New Uses. Alexandria, VA: ASHS Press; 2002. Available at: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/v5-497.html. Accessed February 7, 2005.
9  Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Tyler’s Herbs of Choice: the Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Haworth Herbal Press; 2000.
10  Henz BM, Jablonska S, Van de Kerkhof PCM, Stingl G, et al. Double-blind, multicentre analysis of the efficacy of borage oil in patients with atopic eczema. British Journal of Dermatology. 1999;140:685-688.

Health Issues

Maca (Lepidum meyenii, Brassicaceae), a root vegetable grown in the Andean region of Peru, is widely used for its nutritional and therapeutic properties. Maca is said to improve male and female reproductive activity in diverse ways, from increasing arousal and reducing symptoms of menopause to boosting sperm quality,


The Food & Pandemics Report, produced by plant-based advocacy group ProVeg International, identifies the eating and farming of animals as “the single most risky human behaviour in relation to pandemics”, and calls for urgent changes to the global food system in order to prevent future outbreaks. The report has drawn support from inside the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).


An international team of researchers from Brazil, the United States and Sweden has found that polyphenols found in berries of the açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea)