Hydrophyllaceae (Boraginaceae)

©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
August 2006

Echium candicans
San Diego Co., CA: near Valley Center
Native to Madeira, Canary Islands.
Possibly escaped from cultivation. In Oak woodland and chaparral.
June 2006

 Echium vulgare


Abolhassani M. 2004. Antibacterial effect of borage (Echium amoenum) on Staphylococcus aureus. Braz J. Infect. Dis. 8(5): 382–385. “Borage (Echium amoenum) is a large annual plant of the Boraginaceae family, which grows in most of Europe and in northern Iran. The borage flower is used as a medicinal herb in France and other countries. Iranian borage is used in traditional medicine for infectious diseases, flu and as an anti-febrile. We tested the aqueous extract of borage dried flowers in vitro for its antibacterial activity. The extract showed concentration-dependent antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus 8327. This activity was heat resistant, but the activity of freeze-dried extract gradually diminished during a 90-day period. The traditional use of Iranian borage flowers for infectious diseases and for controlling fever appears to be justified. ”

Guil-Guerrero J. L., F. Gomez-Mercado, I. Rodriguez-GarciaI, P. Campra-Madrid and F. Garcia-Maroto. 2001. Occurrence and characterization of oils rich in gamma-linolenic acid (III): the taxonomical value of the fatty acids in Echium (Boraginaceae). Phytochemistry 58(1): 117–120. “Fourteen species of the genus Echium (Fam. Boraginaceae) collected in the Macaronesia were surveyed in a search for high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3omega6) in the seed oil. High amounts of this fatty acid were found in all of them, ranging from 18.85% (E. pitardii var. pitardii) to 27.42% (E. gentianoides) on total seed fatty acids. The GLA content related to total seed weight was also significant, ranging from 1.26% (E. handiense) to 8.22% (E. gentianoides). In addition, considerable amounts of stearidonic acid (SA, 18:4omega3) were detected, ranging from 3.78% (E. bonnetii var. bonnetii) to 8.81% (E. pininana) on total fatty acids. Besides all the perennial species, the four herbaceous Echium taxa endemic to the Macaronesia also showed high GLA percentages. This is in contrast to the low GLA level found in continental Echium species, all of them bearing an herbaceous habit. These results are in good agreement with the available genetic data and show the ability of GLA to discriminate between Macaronesian and continental Echium species. The analysis of five other Macaronesian species belonging to plant families rich in GLA are also reported.”

Heidari M. R., E. M. Azad and M. Mehrabani. 2006.  Evaluation of the analgesic effect of Echium amoenum Fisch & C.A. Mey. extract in mice: possible mechanism involved.
J. Ethnopharmacol. 103(3): 345–349. “
Echium amoenum Fisch & C.A. Mey. has been used in Iranian traditional medicine as demulcent and analgesic in common cold from long ago. In this investigation, the analgesic effect of the methanolic extract of the petals of this plant on male albino mice was evaluated by formalin and hot-plate test. The methanolic percolated extract with different doses 5, 10, 20 and 30 mg/kg were injected intraperitoneally to mice. The results showed that the dose of 10 mg/kg of extract had the highest analgesia in formalin (P<0.05) and hot-plate test (P<0.01) compared to the control group. The analgesic effect of extract was lower than morphine 2.5 mg/kg and ASA 300 mg/kg in the chronic phase of pain in formalin test (P<0.05) and in hot-plate test too (P<0.05). Pretreatment of animal with naloxone 4 mg/kg, s.c. 5 min before extract, decreased the analgesia induced by extract in hot-plate and acute phase of formalin tests; therefore, the opioid receptor may be involved at least partly in the analgesic effect of Echium amoenum extract. The results suggested that Echium amoenum extract has a suitable analgesic effect and further studies are required to evaluate these effects and the potential of the plant.”

Rabbani M., S. E. Sajjadi, G. Vaseghi and A. Jafarian. 2004. “Anxiolytic effects of Echium amoenum on the elevated plus-maze model of anxiety in mice. Fitoterapia 75(5): 457–64.  “The ethanolic extract of Echium amoenum flowers at the dose of 50 mg/kg increased the percentage of time-spent and the percentage of arm entries in the open arms of the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and decreased the percentage of time-spent in the closed arms of EPM. Moreover, it prolonged the ketamine-induced latency to sleep but had no significant effects on total sleeping time induced by ketamine. Also, the locomotor activity was affected but not to the same extent as observed for diazepam. These results suggested that the extract of E. amoenum seems to possess anxiolytic effect with lower sedative activity than that of diazepam.”

Sayyah M., M. Sayyah and M. Kamalinejad.  2006.  A preliminary randomized double blind clinical trial on the efficacy of aqueous extract of Echium amoenum in the treatment of mild to moderate major depression.  Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 30(1): 166–169. “BACKGROUND: Based on a traditional belief, Echium amoenum (Boraginaceae) dried flowers are used in Iran as an anxiolytic remedy and also as a mood enhancer. In this study, efficacy of an aqueous extract of E. amoenum in patients with mild to moderate major depressive disorder (a score > or =18 on the Hamilton depression rating scale) was evaluated. METHODS: 35 patients were randomly assigned to receive daily either placebo or 375 mg of E. amoenum aqueous extract in a 6-week double blind, parallel-group trial. Patients were assessed in weeks 0, 1, 2, 4 and 6 by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A14), and a score sheet on adverse effects. RESULTS: In week 4, the extract showed a significant superiority over placebo in reducing depressive symptoms. The effect on anxiety was not significant. Headache, somnolence, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation and blurred vision are the most commonly reported side effects. However, with regards to these side effects, no significant difference between placebo and drug treated groups was observed. LIMITATIONS: This study is performed with a small sample size, only with one dose and for 6 weeks. CONCLUSION: E. amoenum aqueous extract may have some antidepressant activity. ”

el-Shazly A., M. Abdel-All, A. Tei and M. Wink.  1999. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids from Echium rauwolfii and Echium horridum (Boraginaceae).  Z. Naturforsch. [C]. 54(5-6): 295–300. “Echimidine was isolated from Echium rauwolfii and Echium horridum and identified by MS, 1H- and 13C NMR as a major alkaloid. In addition, structures of 12 minor alkaloids were inferred from GLC and GLC-MS analyses: 7-angeloylretronecine, 7-tigloylretronecine, lycopsamine, 7-acetyllycopsamine, uplandicine, 7-angeloyllycopsamine, 7-tigloyllycopsamine, tigloyl isomer of echimidine, 7-angeloyl-9-(2-methylbutyryl)retronecine, 7-tigloyl-9-(2-methylbutyryl)retronecine, 7-angeloyl-9-(2,3-dihydroxybutyryl)retronecine, and 7-tigloyl-9-(2,3-dihydroxybutyryl)retronecine. Both species had similar alkaloid profiles. Alkaloid extracts exhibited antibacterial effects with a MIC of 1.7 mg/ml in E. coli. Microscopic examination of E. coli treated with different subtoxic alkaloid concentrations (13-52 micrograms/ml) revealed extensive filamentation