FRIDAY, Dec. 12, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Borage oil, sold as starflower oil in health food stores, does not improve symptoms of eczema, says a study in this week's British Medical Journal.
The study included 151 people with atopic eczema. For 12 weeks, they received daily doses of either high-dose borage oil or a placebo. The high dose borage oil contained 920 milligrams of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid required for normal skin function.
Over the course of the study, the patients' eczema symptoms were scored using recognized scales. The symptoms and signs of eczema improved to a similar degree in both groups. Those in the placebo group actually showed marginally greater improvement than those taking the borage oil.
The findings suggest GLA offers no useful benefit in treating atopic eczema, the study authors write.
GLA is also found in evening primrose oil.
An editorial in the same issue of the British Medical Journal says this finding, along with other recent developments, indicates the use of GLA supplementation to treat atopic eczema has had its day.
Here's where you can learn more about eczema.