Borago (cucumber herb): useful properties and contraindications, planting and care, photo

Borago (cucumber herb): useful properties and contraindications, planting and care, photo

Garden plants

Cucumber herb, or borage, or borage, or borago (Latin Borago) - a genus of flowering plants of the Borage family, which includes five species. As a cultivated plant, only the herbaceous annual borage (Latin Borago officinalis) is grown, which grows as a weed in Siberia, Asia Minor and Europe.
Borago is also known for a long time as a plant that produces light honey and pollen. Borage greens were used in the old days as a blue dye for woolen fabrics. The plant was named the cucumber herb because of its aroma, which strongly resembles the smell of fresh cucumbers.

Planting and caring for cucumber grass

  • Landing: sowing seeds in the ground - before winter or early spring.
  • Bloom: in June-July.
  • Lighting: bright sunlight.
  • The soil: fertile, loose, moist, neutral.
  • Watering: only during dry periods.
  • Top dressing: when grown on poor soils 2-3 times per season, it is advisable to add complex mineral fertilizer in liquid form to the soil.
  • Reproduction: seed.
  • Diseases: leaf spots.
  • Pests: whitefly.
  • Properties: the plant has medicinal properties.

Read more about growing cucumber grass below.

Botanical description

Herb borage officinalis is an annual stiff-haired plant from 60 to 100 cm in height with a taproot, a thick straight or ascending ribbed shaft, hollow inside and branching in the upper part. The lower stem and basal leaves of a plant with a rounded top have an oval or elliptical shape, and the upper stem leaves are oblong-ovate, broad-linear and stalk-enveloping. Borage leaves, like stems, are covered with whitish subulate hairs. The dark blue flowers of the cucumber grass are located on long pedicels, densely covered with protruding bristles, and are collected in curls that form a corymbose panicle. Borage fruits are oblong-ovate, tuberous and wrinkled nuts up to 5 mm long. Seeds ripening in nuts remain viable for up to three years and easily spill out onto the ground when ripe.

Growing borage in the garden

Planting cucumber grass

It is not difficult to grow borage: it grows quickly, has an enviable frost resistance and reproduces so easily by self-seeding that it can be very difficult to remove it from the site. Planting borago and caring for this unpretentious plant does not contain any subtleties.

In the photo: Growing cucumber grass or borage

Borage seeds are sown before winter or early spring, but if you do not need medicinal raw materials, but only tender greens, you can sow borage all summer every two weeks.

Cucumber grass grows best on fertile, loose, well-moistened neutral soils, which are freed from weeds before sowing and fertilized with organic matter for digging at the rate of 5-6 kg per m².

Borage seeds are planted to a depth of 1-2 cm during sowing, and the rows are placed at a distance of 40-45 cm from each other. When shoots appear, they are thinned out in 15-20 cm increments.

Borago care

Borage care consists of watering the site in dry season, weeding and loosening the soil in the aisles. If you are growing cucumber for decorative purposes, remove wilted flowers and faded shoots to extend the flowering period. When growing borage on scarce soils you can apply a universal mineral fertilizer in the form of a solution to the soil. The growing season for cucumber herb is 70 to 80 days.

Collection and storage

Herbs, flowers and borage seeds are used for medicinal purposes. Leaves can be harvested during flowering: they are cut into thin strips, laid out in a single layer on cloth or paper and dried in the shade in the air or in a room with good ventilation. When using the dryer, set the temperature not higher than 40 ˚C.

The collected borago flowers are poured with sugar syrup or honey and stored in the refrigerator, but you can dry and store them like leaves.

The seeds of the cucumber herb are harvested when the fruit turns brown. They are laid out in one layer on paper or cloth, ripened and dried under the same conditions as grass or borage flowers. Dry fruits are threshed.

Store raw borago in a cool and dry place no more than a year.

Types and varieties

Most popular borago vegetable varieties are:

  • Vladykinskoe Semko: this plant has large, oval, heavily pubescent leaves, large blue flowers and a strong cucumber smell;
  • Gnome - a variety resistant to low temperatures with a branched stem and a strong cucumber aroma.

The varieties Aprelsky, Rucheek and Okroshka are also in demand among gardeners. Decorative borage is presented in two varieties:

  • Alba - a plant with white flowers;
  • Variegata - variegated borage form.

Properties of borage (borago) - harm and benefit

Beneficial features

The medicinal properties of cucumber herb have been known for a long time. In the past, borage leaves have been used to treat gout, arthritis and skin diseases caused by metabolic disorders. The plant contains resins, carotene, ascorbic, malic and citric acids, oil, potassium and calcium.

In the photo: How borago blooms in the garden

Borage is a diaphoretic, enveloping, soothing, mild laxative and diuretic. Borage oil, taken internally, normalizes the body's metabolism, stimulates the immune system and improves the emotional state by increasing the production of joy hormones. This drug is effective for stomach ulcers and gastritis. Borage contains hormones that have a beneficial effect on the work of the adrenal glands, which is necessary after taking steroids. When applied externally, the oil promotes rapid wound healing.

In cosmetology, borago oil is used to care for problematic and sensitive skin: the drug increases the ability of the epidermis to retain moisture. Borage oil is included in anti-cellulite creams to eliminate stretch marks on the skin, it is also used for the production of anti-aging cosmetics designed to combat premature aging, dryness and sagging skin.

In addition to oil, there are medicinal forms of borage such as infusion of flowers, infusion of herbs and cold infusion of leaves.

The nutritional qualities of borage are most widely used in American cuisine. Residents of the New World use not only the leaves, but also the flowers of the plant for food: the leaves are added to salads, combining them with spinach, lettuce, onions and cucumbers, and the flowers are a natural flavoring agent for punch and soft drinks. Borage flowers are also eaten in a candied form, like candied fruits, and dried flowers are added to bakery products and confectionery.


Borage preparations are not recommended for longer than one month, as this can lead to liver problems. You can not eat cucumber herb for those who suffer from diseases of this organ or have an individual intolerance to borage.


  1. Read the topic on Wikipedia
  2. Features and other plants of the Borage family
  3. List of all species on The Plant List
  4. More information on World Flora Online
  5. Information about Garden Plants
  6. Information on Annual Plants
  7. Information about medicinal plants

Sections: Garden Plants Flowering Annuals Medicinal Weed Borage Plants on O


The herbaceous plant Gynostemma is a member of the Pumpkin family. In the wild, this plant can be found in the tropics of Southeast Asia from New Guinea to Malaysia and from the Himalayas to Japan. About 15 species of this plant grow in Japan, 9 of which are endemic. Gardeners cultivate a species of gynostemma pentaphillum (lat. Gynostemma pentaphillum), this plant has other names among the people, for example: Thai tea, herb of immortality, southern ginseng, and also "jiaogulan" or "jiaogulan". At first, in Europe, this culture was grown exclusively at home, and only after some time in the southern regions, they began to decorate garden plots with such a plant. After the Beijing Conference in 1991, where discussions were held on medicinal plants used in alternative medicine, the popularity of gynostemma has increased several times.

What does cucumber grass look like?

The herbaceous borage borage is an annual erect plant 30-60 cm high. It is densely covered with hairs, on wrinkled oblong olive leaves they look like white fluff, on the stem they are more rigid. The lower plates are somewhat larger than the upper ones. Borage cucumber herb has extraordinary flowers - 5-petal, large, blue or blue with a pinkish tint, sitting on a long peduncle. They are very fragrant and attract many beneficial insects, and are considered a good honey plant. The culture blooms for a long time, quickly conquering new areas.


Annual plant, cross-pollinated, cold-resistant. With a long daylight hours, especially in dry weather, it quickly arrows. Best grown in partial shade. The seeds can be sown every ten days from late March to September. Good predecessors are beets and potatoes. It is undesirable to sow on an area where cabbage, turnip and radish grew.

Cucumber herb

• the homeland of this crop is Southern Europe and Asia Minor, cucumber grass is cultivated in all European countries and the USA
• imported to Russia from Spain, is ubiquitous in the wild, rarely found in household plots as a vegetable crop
• the leaves contain potassium salts, sugar, tannins, saponins, vitamin C (58 mg%), carotene, essential oil, silicic, essential and resinous acids
• young leaves and shoots with the smell of cucumber are used in salads, vinaigrettes, okroshka, used as an additive to side dishes of meat and fish dishes, dried, flowers are consumed fresh, dried and candied, they can be added to salads, jams, marinades, jellies , drinks, pastries

prefers a slightly acidic and close to neutral environment with a pH of 6-7

cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, root vegetables, legumes

• prefers sandy or loamy fertile soils
• 3-4 kg of humus or compost, 2 glasses of ash, 20-25 g of superphosphate are introduced for digging per 1 m2

• early spring (late April-mid-May) and before winter (from late September to mid-October)
• sown once in the future easily multiplies by self-sowing

3-4 cm, seedlings appear in 5-8 days

• sowing in rows with a distance of 25-30 cm, 8-10 cm between plants in a row
• band sowing in 2-3 lines, 50 cm between ribbons, 25-30 cm between lines, 10-15 cm between plants in a row

cucumber grass is demanding on mineral nutrition; during the growing season, 2 dressings are carried out:
- the first - with a solution of urea or ammonium nitrate (10-15 g per 10 l of water) is carried out after thinning the plants
- the second - with mullein solution (1: 5) is carried out after about 20 days after the first

demanding on soil moisture, with a lack of water and in dry, hot weather, its leaves quickly coarse, the plant starts flowering

fairly cold-resistant culture

according to the latest data from the State Register of Breeding Achievements, there are no zoned hybrids

April, Vladykinskoe Semko, Dwarf, Okroshka, Stream

carbohydrates and related compounds (borneositol, myo-inositol, quercit, etc.), triterpenoids (squalene), steroids (campesterol, cliomasterol, fucosterol, etc.), phenol carboxylic acids (n-hydroxybenzoic, gentisinic, cis-coffee, trans-coffee. cis-rosemary, trans-rosemary), coumarins (scopoletin), flavonoids (rutin), alkaloids and other nitrogen-containing compounds (amabiline, choline, etc.), cyanogenic compounds (durrin), tochromanols, organic acids (butyric, citric), aliphatic hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, higher fatty acids (octadecatetraenoic, linoleic, palmitic, arachidonic, linolenic, stearidonic, myristic, alpha-stearic, etc.), fatty oil (in seeds up to 38%), containing omega-3 and omega-3 6 acids, γ-linolenic acid

gout, articular rheumatism, rheumatoid and metabolic arthritis, fever, inflammation of the kidneys, pleurisy, whooping cough, bronchitis, tracheitis, pharyngitis, premenstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularities, depression, eczema, neurodermatitis and other skin diseases

• the leaves of the cucumber herb are harvested at a young age, before the flower stem appears
• it is possible to grow at home on a windowsill
• even in ancient Rome, they used an infusion of cucumber herb to restore strength, it is useful for normalizing the work of the heart, as an anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, diuretic, for the treatment of gout, articular rheumatism, with fever, inflammation of the kidneys (the infusion is prepared from dry leaves or flowers)
• cucumber grass is an ornamental plant

• grown as a honey plant, honey productivity - up to 200 kg of honey from 1 hectare

This plant in our country can be found as a weed almost throughout the European part, much less often as an ornamental or salad plant. It grows everywhere in the wild in Europe and North America. It has long been used by humans as a food and medicinal plant.

Cucumber herb is an annual herb. The stem is erect, pubescent, branched, from 30 to 60 cm in height. It blooms from June to September, spectacular in the form of a star with a contrasting black core, blue or blue (less often white) flowers with a pink tint. The flowers are drooping, with long white bristles at the edges, collected at the apex of the stem in a thyroid-paniculate inflorescence. The fruit consists of four large, elongated dark brown, rarely light brown or black nuts. The seeds ripen in July-August.

It is unpretentious, has a high cold resistance, tolerates light shading, grows quickly, is easily seeded and can quickly fill large areas with itself, can bloom until frost. Propagated by seeds. It runs wild easily and can become a noxious weed, therefore its spread must be controlled during cultivation.

It is possible to grow indoors in a flower pot, on a sunny windowsill.

Contains useful substances: a significant amount of potassium, calcium, saponins, tannins, sugars, resinous and tannins, flavonoids, ascorbic, malic, lactic and citric acids, as well as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (in small amounts). Leaves and shoots contain vitamin C, provitamin A, vitamin P, resinous and fatty acids, a large amount of mineral salts.

In medical practice, this plant has been used since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans as a tonic and strengthening spirit. In folk medicine, cucumber herb is prescribed for cardiac weakness, cardiac neuroses, edema and articular rheumatism, as an expectorant and anticonvulsant, for skin diseases, to improve metabolism and with depressed mood and fear, to relieve premenstrual syndrome. Fresh and dried aerial parts collected during flowering, as well as separately collected flowers, are used as medicinal raw materials.

Borage is prized for its early greens, rich in vitamins. In cooking, fresh leaves and flowers are usually used, less often - dried flowers.Due to their characteristic smell of fresh cucumber, the leaves are used for making salads, vinaigrettes, soups, mushroom dishes, sauces, marinades, minced meat and fried fish. They are also used to flavor kvass. Leaves and shoots are brewed like a tea drink. Fresh flowers are added to punches and cold fruit drinks, as well as vinegar for flavoring. Fresh borago flowers decorate salads. Flowers are used in candied form. Dried flowers are used in bakery and confectionery. Cucumber herb is also served as an independent vegetable dish.

Borage officinalis is a good honey plant, yields up to 200 kg of honey per hectare.

It perfectly coexists with other vegetable and garden plants. It is believed that the proximity to this plant increases the resistance to pests and diseases of many other plants in the vicinity. The cucumber herb itself is practically not damaged by pests and diseases.

Medicinal raw materials are herbs, flowers and seeds of cucumber herb. The grass is cut off during flowering near the ground itself, cleaned of poor-quality lower leaves. Dried in the sun, spreading out in a thin layer, or in a ventilated area.
Medicinal raw materials are stored for no more than a year, and will quickly lose their healing properties.
Borage seeds can be harvested in unlimited quantities, but you should take into account the fact that the seeds quickly crumble, and when they are brought to ripeness indoors, the seeds can be eaten by mice.

Cucumber leaves contain ascorbic, malic, lactic and citric acids, carotene, mucous and tannins, a large amount of potassium, saponins, tannins. The flowers contain mucus (up to 30%) and traces of essential oil. Allantoin was found in the seed embryos, and bornesite alcohol was found in the aerial parts. Seed oil contains linolenic acid, which is essential for the synthesis of prostaglandins.

Learn more about the nutritional value, chemistry and vitamins of cucumber herb

Borago - care

Cucumber grass is unpretentious, caring for it consists in regular watering, weeding if necessary, loosening row spacings, feeding, thinning and harvesting. Cultivation rules:

  • only at first does the grass need to get rid of weeds
  • without proper care, borage borage runs wild very quickly, becoming a weed. It is important to control the activity of its reproduction. Thinning is carried out in the phase of 2-3 leaves, it is easy to do, since the plant's cotyledons are large. If you need to collect your seeds from a plant, you need to leave one copy per 75 cm of a row
  • during the summer, young foliage 5-7 cm long is cut to the table
  • borage does not need to be allowed to outgrow - old shoots become coarse, lose their taste and smell of fresh cucumber
  • grass yield is 600-700 grams per square meter
  • for harvesting for future use, borage is harvested entirely during the flowering period, after it accumulates the largest amount of essential oil and nutrients
  • the grass is crushed, dried in a shaded corner, stored for culinary purposes.

Borage plant - watering

Borage (borage) - Borage is drought-resistant, but planting and caring for it requires regular watering. The leaves of a culture without moisture in dry weather coarse. Watering is done in a moderate and timely manner, it is important for the product to be juicy. The plant often lacks natural rainfall. And dryness leads to the fact that it becomes not a nutritious greenery, but a wild-growing weed.

Borage borage - top dressing

For a luscious nourishing herb, borago care does not hurt in terms of nutrition. Fertilization is carried out in two stages per season, it is timed to weeding and thinning. The first feeding is planned at the stage of formation of 1-2 true leaves. For fertilization, an ordinary mullein is suitable, diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10, or urea - 10 grams per liter of water.

The next feeding is carried out 15-20 days before the flowering stage of the culture with the same mullein or dry ash, using it at the rate of half a glass per 1 sq. M. When growing borage at home, you can use mineral fertilizer - add 20 grams of ammonium nitrate per 1 square meter, and the fertilization problem will be successfully solved.

Cucumber herb plant - diseases

The culture is distinguished by excellent vitality and is rarely affected by pests or diseases. And it scares off some parasites. For example, many gardeners plant it next to potatoes or tomatoes, since it is believed that borage drives away Colorado beetles from them. Borage plant - problems with cultivation:

  1. In a particularly dry period, the grass is an increased target of aphid attack. She feeds on the juice of young greenery. You can fight it with the help of infusion of garlic, tobacco, red hot pepper, soapy water.
  2. Sometimes it is affected by burdock caterpillars. In order for the pest to leave the plantation, the site can be sprayed with a solution of valerian tincture (1 can for 3 liters of liquid). An unusual method is to use a toothpaste that is soaked in water overnight and sprinkled on the plant.
  3. The plant can be damaged by the oxalate lancet. Control methods:
  • spraying with Parisian greens (20 grams of poison in 10 liters of water)
  • processing with dust suspension (200 grams of soap per 10 liters of water)
  • collection and manual destruction of caterpillars.

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