[Herbalist] Borage

Gaylin Walli iasmin at home.com
Thu Jan 31 15:34:47 PST 2002

Pauline asked:

>I'm doing some
>research for a medieval herb program at the museum
>where I work and I've come across that quote "I,
>Borage, bring courage". You said that's not an accurate
>translation. Could you tell me what the correct
>translation is, and when and where the quote comes
>from?  I want to use it but feel like I need good

The original statement from whence it comes has been so often
repeated that it is doubtful you will find the exact source of the
statement, however, in Latin, the quote is

"Ego borago gaudia semper ago"

If you look in Pliny the Elder's writings you will find reference
to the plant. Noted herbalist John Gerard quote's Pliny's
writing in "Herbal or General History of Plants" stating:

"Pliny calls it [Borage] Euphorosinum [note the connection to
'euphoria'], because it maket a man merry a joyfull; which
thing also the old verse concerning Borage doth testifie:

Ego Borago		I, Borage
Gaudia semper ago		Bring alwaies courage.'

(You can find this quote on page 797 of the Thomas Johnson
edition of his book currently being reprinted by Dover).

If you look in Maude Gieve's Herbal you find that she also
references Borage in history, point the reader to the works
of John Evelyn, Dioscorides, and Parkinson, who all reference
its ability to "make a man merry and glad" as man a book

I personally suspect that even as far back the Dark Ages,
the Arabic writers knew of the plant because of its origin
in North Africa. And according to secondary sources the
writings of Ibn Baithar documented its use as a merryment
herb in his writings as well.

This is very likely more than what you asked an may not
quite meet what you need, but if we can be of any more
help, please let us know.

Iasmin de Cordoba
mundanely, Gaylin Walli

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