Borage Oil Side Effects

Borage officinalis, typically called borage oil or star flower, is a blooming herb native to Europe and the Mediterranean. The herb is understood for its medical and cooking benefits. If you are thinking about taking borage oil supplements, it is important to examine the possible threats of side effects in addition to the favorable health benefits. All medicinal herbs have the capacity for manifesting unfavorable reactions and should be used with care.

Potential Side Effects

All herbs have the capacity for unfavorable side effects and drug interactions, consisting of borage oil. A few mild borage oil side effects individuals may experience are digestive disruptions such as queasiness, headaches and gastrointestinal upset; however, in some people more serious side effects may occur.


Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) states that borage seeds include the possibly hazardous alkaloids amabilene and pyrrolizidine, which are thought about to be poisonous to the liver. Those who consume alcohol, or have liver or kidney disease are encouraged not to take borage due to the risk of liver damage. Nevertheless, some commercial supplements are made as alkaloid-free. The hazardous alkaloids are extracted from the seeds prior to the oil is pressed into pills, according to If you decide to take borage seed oil, it is advised to take only qualified alkaloid-free oil supplements.

Borage Oil Side Effects

Pregnancy and Borage Seed Oil

MSKCC suggests that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must not take borage oil due to its potential teratogenic result in unborn fetuses and its ability to induce premature labor. Borage oil is sometimes used by health professionals to ripen the cervix in preparation for labor; nevertheless, this method needs to just be used completely term pregnancies under the care and recommendations of a qualified physician.

Skin Rash / Allergic Reaction

Just like any herbal supplement, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to borage seed oil. Allergic reaction signs may include itching, hives, a rash, tingling, or swelling in the mouth or throat, facial or hand swelling, problem breathing and chest tightness. An allergic reaction to borage oil should be considered a medical emergency situation.


Cleveland Clinic mentions that there has been some confusion between borage and foxglove, leading to accidental poisoning. While borage is typically thought about safe, foxglove consists of a toxic property referred to as digitalis glycoside which can cause serious side effects or death.

Drug Interactions

Borage oil might communicate with other medications. According to WebMD, if you take medications for any of the following medical reasons you should speak with a doctor about the possible dangers of drug interactions prior to taking borage oil:

  • Blood clots: Borage seed oil slows blood clotting and ought to not be used with other drugs that do the same. This consists of Plavix, Coumadin, ibuprofen, aspirin, and Heparin.
  • Seizures or epilepsy: Anti-seizure medications such as phenobarbital, Tegretol, or Dilantin increase the breakdown of borage seed oil in the liver, leading to harmful side effects.
  • Inflammatory conditions: Borage oil is believed to have an anti-inflammatory result. As a result, it needs to not be used in combination with NSAID medicines that reduce inflammation such as Advil, Motrin, Naproxen, and aspirin. Although more research is needed, it’s thought by some that taking NSAIDS with borage oil may reduce its effectiveness.
  • Anesthesia: Borage oil may communicate with anesthesia medications used during surgery.
    Heart and immune conditions: Healthline states that borage oil might disrupt heart function and may change immune responses.

High-Quality Sources of Borage Oil

When acquiring commercially packaged borage oil, always search for certified alkaloid-free packaging marked by 3rd party quality assurance. Other things to look for in high-quality oils:

  • Qualified organic packaging
  • Marked with a ‘Fresh By’ date
  • Packaged in light and heat resistant materials

Borage Dosage and Safety

Borage oil dosages have been mostly studied for only rheumatoid arthritis however there are some additional recommended guidelines. The Cleveland Clinic recommends a dosage of 1 – 2 grams everyday to treat eczema and as much as three grams daily to treat rheumatoid arthritis. However, MSKCC states that hazardous pyrrolidizine alkaloids can happen in as little as one everyday gram of borage oil, so it’s vital to acquire just alkaloid-free oil.

The specific dosage for restorative benefit will depend upon the condition your doctor wants to treat, generally from one to 4 grams. Constantly seek advice from your medical practitioner about healing dosages prior to starting borage oil supplements.



Updated: September 15, 2016 — 3:52 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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