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Starflower Oil Health Benefits?

Updated on October 27, 2012
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Starflower is also commonly known as Borage and originates from Syria. It is naturalized in the Mediterranean countries as well as North Africa and South America.

The Borage flower is recognised by its bristly stems and leaves and striking blue triangular pointed petals. The five petals of the flower resemble a star – hence the name ‘starflower’. Blue is the most dominant colour but flowers can appear in pink and white.

Traditionally starflower has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It continues to be used in many European countries to supplement stews, soups and pasta dishes as well as an alternative to cucumber in salad. The popular drink 'Pimms No1' used to be garnished with starflower before being replaced by Mint.

In addition to the culinary benefits of this plant, it has also been used for medicinal purposes. The starflower seed containing between 17%-28% of gamma linoleic acid (GLA), (NNFCC factsheet).

GLA is also found in lower quantities in evening primrose oil, black currant oil and spirulina.

Starflower is used in naturopathic medicine to regulate the hormonal and metabolic system. It is widely used today in capsule form as a supplement for many ailments and conditions.

The GLA that is found in starflower oil is an Omega-6 fatty acid Most Omega-6 fatty acids are known for their inflammatory purposes; however GLA is believed to reduce inflammation. There is some debate whether or not GLA is more beneficial at reducing inflammation than Omega-3 fatty acids. GLA when taken as a supplement is converted into a substance called DGLA (umm-edu) and is reported to fight infection.

The University of Maryland Medical Center have reported some of the uses of GLA although state that much of the evidence is preliminary and further studies are needed in most areas.


Uses:

  • Diabetic neuropathy – nerve pain may be reduced and probably more beneficial if blood sugars are stable.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – may reduce swelling and pain in joints (1-3 months to benefit).
  • ADHD – some clinical studies show there may be a link between children with ADHD and lower levels of essential acids, further research required.
  • Eczema – may reduce the symptoms in eczema and other skin conditions.
  • High Blood Pressure – may reduce blood pressure
  • Menopausal and PMS symptoms – starflower is widely used to relieve these symptoms although there appears to be no strong clinical evidence many women believe the supplement to work.
  • Mastalgia – cyclic breast pain - may reduce mild to moderate but not severe
  • Osteoporosis – Women over 65 in one study was reported to have lost less bone density over 3 years and in some there was an increase.


How to take?

Generally starflower oil is bought in capsule form in sealed containers


How much to take?

Usually 1000mg a day


When NOT to take:

Seizure disorder – may increase seizures

Pregnancy – no evidence to ensure safety of foetus

Requiring anaesthesia – not recommended, to stop 2 weeks before

Blood thinners – if taken medication to thin blood – not recommended

Antibiotics – may reduce the effect of certain antibiotics

Chemotherapy

Immuno- suppressants

Phenothiazines

As with any supplement or medication it is always wise to seek the advice of your health care adviser before commencing.This is especially important if you are already taking medication for a condition or if you have a medical condition.


Disclaimer

Note: The guide is not meant to be fully comprehensive and is meant for information only. The author makes no guarantee, either expressed or implied, regarding the efficacy or use for any reason of the information contained within this article.

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