The herb of courage
Read any historical description of borage and there's almost always a reference to its ability ‘to exhilarate and make the mind glad' and ‘to drive away all sadness'
Ancient writers believed borage was the nepenthe (a kind of antidepressant) of Homer given by the Queen of Egypt to Helen of Troy ‘to forget all sorrows'.
To bestow courage, borage flowers were floated in the stirrup cups of the Crusaders before their departure. It was suggested a bit of borage put into a promising man's drink would give him the courage to propose.
Herbalist John Evelyn wrote in the 17th century that borage is ‘of known virtue to revive the hypochondriac and chear the hard student'.
It's not known where borage is native to, possibly the western Mediterranean or the Middle East. The name is thought to be of Arabic origins, meaning ‘father of roughness', a reference to it coarse, rough leaves. Others suggest it is derived from the Celtic name 'barrach' meaning courage. The Welsh name, llawenlys, translates as ‘herb of gladness'.