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Heal Yourself: Indian Borage

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

It's that time of year again when the 'flues and colds do their rounds and we hope that they don't morph into the dreaded cough, sore throat, runny nose, aches and pains, or the pesky mucus and phlegm in the chest. What a literal pain all of that is!

I recently caught a dreadful 'flu bug, which caught me, my daughter and the dear friends who were visiting us from Australia by surprise. We all displayed with different symptoms at different times which made no common sense but it does show that our bodies do have a predisposition to how they process pathogens and viruses, and it varies with every person.

I find now that I reach for herbs and natural remedies that I've amassed over time rather than conventional medicine. I make teas, tinctures, compresses and soups - and I love doing it! So when my dear friend Anna, who is a whizz in her garden, very kindly gave me some Indian Borage stems and leaves to aid my recovery, I was intrigued and excited to put it all to the test!

Indian Borage - What Is It?

Indian Borage (Plectranthus Amboinicus), also known as Mexican mint or Spanish thyme, is a remarkably hardy and very useful herb as I recently found out.

It is native to sections of southern and eastern Africa, but it is so hardy that it can grow in colder climates too. It can grow up to two meters and thrives wherever it is planted, even along roadsides, on rocky slopes, and among all kinds of vegetation. I live in South East Asia and it grows abundantly here. And more importantly you can easily grow it yourself without being an expert gardener. It doesn't need much water and it is pretty self sufficient. Which makes it my kind of herb!!

What Is It Used For?

The leaves are typically used, and the stems are re-planted to produce more leaves! It has a lot of wonderful uses. Here are a few:

  • Relief from Respiratory issues due to its anti-microbial properties

  • Contains powerful compounds which act as an expectorant for phlegm and mucus

  • Useful for colds and 'flu as it's a sudorific (promotes sweating) and reduces a fever

  • Cardiovascular health - it's been proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure

  • Enhances immunity - it contains vitamins A and high levels of vitamin C

  • When taken in a tea, its properties can reduce chronic anxiety and stress

  • As a tea, it promotes serenity and helps your body to relax enough to sleep

  • Anti-inflammatory properties can reduce swelling in joints and pain in muscles

  • Enhances skin by clearing internal toxins and congestion

  • In Ayurveda (which is my passion) the leaves can be used to treat disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, bowels, stomach, digestion and to heal insect bites

My First Impressions

Anna gave me this version to try (without the cream coloured edges). You can see me holding it here on the left.

The leaves are quite big, they have a furry texture and they are thick and sturdy. I like sturdy, I feel that as a first-timer there is more wiggle room for error and it's not easily damaged!

The smell is similar to oregano, with an earthy, musky scent. When I smelled it, I immediately felt that it would be good for the airwaves, breathing and the chest. That's what came to me visually when I smelled it.

How I Tested It

This was really easy to prepare. I actually went with my instinct and intuition rather than looking it up, but I did double check it afterwards and I was spot on. I gently rinsed the leaves to get rid of air pollution and residue. This came from Anna's garden and she uses the best soil and no nasties so I could trust it. Then I chopped up four large leaves, popped them into a teapot and let them steep in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes. I found myself inhaling deeply the aroma that came out from the steaming boiling water being added. I liked it!

I took it for 3 days - a teapot a day and that yields about 4 medium size cups Then I took a day off and repeated again every other day for 7 days. I did find that it opened up my airwaves, soothed my chest and the phlegm did not activate, which is quite unusual for me as I normally get 'flu in the chest.

The Final Taste Test

When you pour the tea, it is virtually clear, with a very slight tinge of green.

It tasted milder than I was expecting. I do drink and cook with oregano but it is quite strong and not everyone likes it. The borage is milder than the oregano I can get where I live. It felt soothing and nurturing in my throat and chest. And I didn't mind the smoky quality, I thought it was quite delicious.

Pros and Cons

I can't find anything negative to say about this plant and its magical leaves apart from individual taste preference. If you don't like oregano or smoky herbs then this might not be your best friend, but I do think it is mild enough that one could drink it for the purpose of its healing benefits without it being too offensive.

It is accessible, it is easy to grow, it requires basic maintenance only (water), it is easy to use, cheap, and it has incredible benefits. Obviously your health is your primary concern so do check that you are not contra-indicated before you use it.

The Final Score

I don't just believe things blindly. I test out products and theories for myself and then I share them if I think that they are valuable for a wider audience. I have been a qualified Aromatherapist for 25 years, and I have been using and studying Ayurveda for 17 years.

I love herbs of all kinds, and as I mentioned earlier, they are my first port of call now for any ailment that I get. But of course sometimes you do need medical intervention for certain ailments and illnesses that you can't treat yourself. This is just my personal opinion, but I feel that Indian Borage is worth your time and effort to look into.

**If you have used this product, do share your experiences in the comments so that others can benefit.

Wishing you a week of transformative healing xx


Nikki Jordan is an advocate for creating a 5th dimensional collaborative community that co-creates together, while supporting, loving and respecting every living creature. You can read more about her here

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