Borage is a leafy green herb commonly found in Mediterranean and cooler climates. Borage oil is an extract made from the seeds of the Borago officinalis plant. The oil from its seeds has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.

Borage oil is known for its high gamma linoleic acid (GLA) content. When borage oil is consumed, much of the gamma-linoleic acid in borage oil is converted to dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid. These substances are classified as omega-6 fatty acids and is helpful in reducing inflammation.

Forms of Borage Oil

  • Oil extracted from the seeds of Borago officinalis 
  • Nutritional supplements (capsule or tablet) which can be taken as oral supplement.

All forms of borage oil contain gamma linoleic acid, which is considered the primary active ingredient. It also works best on skin and hair when applied topically.

Borage oil benefits

Linolenic acid

Borage oil has a high gamma linoleic acid or linolenic acid content. Gamma linoleic acid is a type of fatty acid that your body converts to prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), and is also found in other seeds and nuts, as well as vegetable oils.

This substance acts like a hormone in your body, helping reduce inflammation tied to skin diseases and cardiovascular issues. Borage oil has gained a lot of attention because it’s said to have the highest gamma linoleic acid content compared with other essential oils.


Studies concluded that essential oils like Borage oil may be able to replace nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for some people, which would avoid some of the side effects associated with consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Borage oil shows promising results in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder marked by inflammation in the lining of the joints. Several studies indicate that borage oil may ease tenderness and swelling in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Skin Health

Studies suggests using borage oil topically, and other gamma linoleic acid containing essential oils, found borage oil has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can be beneficial for people with atopic dermatitis. Some researchers believe borage oil is effective in skin conditions like eczema.

Clinical research suggests more promising results with topical application of borage oil as compared with oral supplementation when used in treatment of skin diseases.


Growth in Premature Infants

There is some evidence that infant formula supplemented with borage oil might help the growth and development of premature infants. A study showed that preterm infants given formula that included borage oil along with fish oils showed greater improvement than those given standard formula.

Lung Function in acute respiratory distress syndrome Patients

Borage oil might reduce the number of days that patients with (or at risk for) acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) might spend in intensive care. A study shows that those who were on Gamma linoleic acid diet showed greater improvements and shorter ICU stays than patients fed a standard diet.

Meonpause and Pre-menstrual symptoms

Borage oil has anti-inflammatory properties and may be able to reduce discomfort related to menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as breast tenderness, mood swings and hot flashes.

Breast Pain

The most common type of breast pain is cyclic mastalgia, where both breasts become tender or painful, and possibly swollen or lumpy, before menstrual cycle. These symptoms tend to improve after the menstrual cycle ends. Borage oil contain concentrated forms of Gamma linoleic acid, which has shown to help reduce breast pain.

Adrenal gland problems

Gamma linoleic acid in borage oil can help support your body’s adrenal gland activity. Adrenal gland produces different types of hormones, for example adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. When your adrenal gland produces too much of it, you’ll probably feel constantly stressed and anxious. Because borage oil can help support proper adrenal gland activity, it may also help manage chronic stress and anxiety.

Heart conditions

Borage oil is known to reduce cardiac remodeling after myocardial infarction (MI) and thus prevent cardiac failure. The involved mechanism seems to be the reduction of the inflammatory responses of lymphocytes and macrophages, curtailment of fibrosis to infarcted tissue, and prevention of ventricular distension.



Diabetic nephropathy is a type of kidney disease that affects many people with diabetes. Studies have found that gamma linoleic acid may also help treat diabetic neuropathy. This is a type of nerve damage that causes tingling and discomfort in the extremities and often affects people with diabetes.


Since borage oil is extremely high in gamma linoleic acid, taking it as a supplement in capsule form could help treat gingivitis in conjunction with increased brushing and flossing.