Borage and evening primrose oil are purely vegetable sources of high-quality essential fatty acids.
Borage (Borago officinalis) originally comes from Syria, but is now also cultivated in North Africa and Europe. The plant has been used in various ways for over 2000 years, the tasty young leaves were eaten and the flowers were used as a flavouring in wines. The valuable oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant. Care should be taken to use only the ripe seeds, as these have a significantly higher oil content. In addition, the oil should be extracted by cold pressing in order to preserve the structure of the valuable fatty acids. Borage oil consists of 80 % unsaturated fatty acids. The content of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a special omega-6 fatty acid, is particularly high. With 20 to 25 %, borage oil has the highest content of this fatty acid of all plants. In principle, the body can form GLA itself from linoleic acid, but this possibility is only possible to a very small extent, especially in cats, and direct administration is also worthwhile for dogs.
The oil from the seeds of the evening primrose also has a high content (8-12 %) of the important gamma-linolenic acid. Evening primrose was originally introduced to Europe from North America and is also a popular ornamental plant in this country with its intense yellow flowers. However, due to its rich oil, the seeds in particular are interesting for cultivation. The indigenous people of North Africa already used evening primrose oil as a remedy and today the oil is important in naturopathy for various applications.
Both borage oil and evening primrose oil are popular as suppliers of the rare omega-6 fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). A healthy and balanced ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is of great importance for the entire organism. Among other things, it strengthens the skin's defenses and supports the stability of cell membranes. Gamma-linolenic acid has an influence on the body's own prostaglandin synthesis and thus achieves an anti-inflammatory effect (1, 2, 3). In addition, essential fatty acids are needed for supple and elastic skin.
(1) Innes et Calder (2018): Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 132:41-48.
(2) Kapoor et Huang (2006): Gamma linolenic acid: an antiinflammatory omega-6 fatty acid. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 7(6):531-4.
(3) Sergeant et al. (2016): Gamma-linolenic acid, Dihommo-gamma linolenic, Eicosanoids and Inflammatory Processes. Eur J Pharmacol. 785:77-86.