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Borage, Borage, Borage- safe

1183 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Akademee
I I’ve in central Illinois and in about my third year. I live in a soybean-,corn jungle and my bees do ok. Only have four hives and that’s fine with me. This winter looked at a lot bee seed to plant as forage and one thing I saw was borage . I planted a mix of a lot of seeds but what I had not heard about much was borage. People had great things to say about it and everyone loved it. Lot of people called it THE. Bee plant. That’s what I need and I planted a bunch with a lot of other flowers yesterday. Read more articles on borage and bought more seed. Was reading all the praises of borage and then I read Wikipedia and some articles on “is borage poisonous.”Wiki said borage contained pyrrolizidine alkaloids which is a chemical that could be transferred to the honey through pollen collection on a borage plant. In Germany they advice that commercial honey production could select for raw honey with limited PA content to prevent contamination.. Below it asked about harmful affects and said that chemicals as l mentioned above found in borage are toxic to liver and lungs and possibly carcinogenic and can pass in breast milk. I know a lot of you use borage but is it safe. From what I read it is a big bee magnet for all bees and the love to feed in it for pollen and nectar. A lot of you use it and is it safel. Look at Wikipedia and scroll down in other areas to see what this chemical could do. I tend to get to read too deap in things but I do not want to use something that could hurt someone. And I am not saying it does in honey. Need some good facts. Don’t want to give someone something that is unsafe. When you read about borage it sounds like borage is the best food for honey bees there is. Great , great plant. I mean you read accolade after accolade. People and bees love it. I know it grows best in a Mediterranean climate which is not me. Seed is cheap and it sounds like a great bee food they bees are attracted to. Is it safe to have in your forage area. PLEASE respond. Thanks When you read you will see people eat parts of plant!
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I don't have any scientific proof one way or another, but my bees love borage and I eat the honey and I'm still alive. I have never heard of borage nectar being toxic in honey. Maybe if you had 100% borage honey? I know deer don't like borage so there must be something in the plant that is a bit toxic, but I don't know if that transfers into honey in any significant quantities. There are many other toxic (to mamals) plants that bees forage all the time, so I would not worry about borage specifically. Again it is my personal, non expert, opinion.
People straight up eat raw borage all the time, literally as a salad green. Apparently while borage does contain toxic PAs, it also contains GLI which neutralizes the toxic effects. I would not be worried about borage honey, and EFSA can get a little crazy with their chemical avoidance recommendations. I'm not even sure if they have an affordable test for PA content in honey, so how could commercial honey producers even attempt to avoid that. There is so much toxic stuff in honey its crazy, but it is in incredibly minute amounts (my favorite contaminant is U-235).
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