Borago officinalis Linn. Boragineae. Borage. Cool-Tankard. Talewort.
Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. This plant has been distributed throughout the whole of southern and middle Europe even in the humblest gardens and is now cultivated likewise in India, North America and Chile. Its leaves and flowers were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for cool tankards. The Greeks called it euphrosynon, for, when put in a cup of wine, it made those who drank it merry. It has been used in England since the days of Parkinson. In Queen Elizabeth's time, both the leaves and flowers were eaten in salads. It is at present cultivated for use in cooling drinks and is used by some as a- substitute for spinach. The leaves contain so much nitre that when dry they bum like match paper. The leaves also serve as a garnish and are likewise pickled. In India, it is cultivated by Europeans for use in country beer to give it a pleasant flavor. Borage is enumerated by Peter Martyr as among the plants cultivated at Isabela Island by the companions of Columbus. It appears in the catalogs of our American seedsmen and is mentioned by almost all of the earlier writers of gardening. The flowering parts of borage are noted or figured by nearly all of the ancient herbalists.