Gol Gavzaban, or Borage Flower (bo rej) is a large herb that grows easily in the home gardens. Borage is an annual herb that is self-seeding and comes back every year from the seeds scattered on the soil from the year before. I have never grown Gol Gavzaban (Borage) but I am tempted to get some in my garden next spring. The beautiful star shaped blue/purple Borage flowers attract bees, and I am all for doing my part in helping out the bee population that has been declining in the past few years.
I am also a fan of Chai Gol Gavzaban, which translates to Borage Tea. Borage originates in the Mediterranean and has been used since ancient times for different remedies and was even added to wine in the medieval times for enhancing courage. Persians steep the dried purple flowers of this herb in hot boiling water with one or two dried limes (Limoo Amani) for relaxation and stress relief. This tart tea can be sweetened with rock candy (nabat) or honey. It has a gorgeous red color and is really quite palatable. Both the color and the intense lime flavor are the result of lengthy steeping time and short cuts ruin the color and flavor. I personally have not experienced any feeling of relaxation with Chai Gol Gavzaban but I have learned to trust my elders and they used to say “it is very relaxing!”
As for the herbal remedies I have always been on the conservative side of the issue. I have a lot of respect for nature and that includes trusting that some herbs can be very potent in how they affect our body. As long as there has not been an extensive study on any particular herb I would not use it excessively. The belief is that this tea should be consumed in moderation and only occasionally. This is very different from the Persian Black Tea that most Iranians drink from first thing in the morning until late at night!
This is what dried Borage flowers look like. Pick through the flowers carefully for any debris
Wash the flowers under cold water. Pierce the limoo amani (Dried Persian lime) with a fork. Place the flowers and dried lime in a teapot.
Pour hot boiling water in the teapot
Place the teapot on a mug warmer or another very low heat source and steep the Chai Gol Gavzaban for 45 minutes. The tea should steep and not boil.
Pour the tea through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof tea cup or mug
Enjoy Chai Gol Gavzaban with a small piece of Persian rock candy “Nabat.” Sip the crimson colored tea ever so slowly. Let this magical ancient herb relieve your tensions and sooth your soul and think of all those before you who relaxed with the same brewed herb so very long ago.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Brewing Time: 45 minutes
- ½ cup dried Borage flowers (Gole Gavzaban)
- 1 - 2 limoo amani, pierced with a fork before brewing
- 1 cup hot boiling water
- Pieces of Persian rock candy, “nabat” or honey as sweetener
- Pick through the dried purple flowers, add them to a colander and wash under cold water by running your finger through them several times. Drain all the water.
- Bring some cold water to a rolling boil.
- Add the washed leaves, 1 or 2 pierced limoo amani to a teapot and pour 1 cup of boiling water over them.
- Cover the teapot and place it on a low heat source such as a mug warmer or the lowest possible setting of the smallest burner on your stove top. The idea is to brew the tea by steeping it. It should not boil.
- Steep the tea for 45 minutes. Pour the tea through a mesh strainer into a heat proof glass or mug.
- Sweeten Chai Gol Gavzaban by dropping a small piece of rock candy or adding some honey in the cup and stirring until it dissolves. The degree of sweetness is up to you. You may also must drink the tea without adding any sweetener.
Persian rock candy, or nabat is also sold in the Middle Eastern markets. I have used saffron nabat that has a yellow color. The regular nabat is white in color.
Fae's Twist & Tango says
I have heard of this tea many times, but never had the pleasure of trying it. I’m sure I should be able to get the ingredients at our local Persian market, to give this relaxing tea a try! Thank you for introducing all these wonderful Persian cultural foods and drinks. 🙂
Yes, the Persian markets usually carry limoo amani and gol gavzaban, but they are also sold online. Let me know what you think.
I just ordered the ingredients for tea, including the tea, dried limes, and rock sugar. Thank goodness I have tea pots. 🙂 I don’t have a mug warmer. Will a double boiler work?
Dear Limner, that is great. Yes I do believe a double boiler with low simmer should work just fine. Happy steeping 🙂
Hooray! My omani, borraja, and paytakht came in today’s mail. I had to return to see if it’s okay to steep the tea in a double boiler. Thanks for answering. The dried limes smell like nothing else, and the make my mouth water. The saffron sugar is almost too pretty to eat, while the borage is simply beautiful.
Thank you for sharing simple things along with the more complicated.
Dear Limner, glad you have received everything that you need to brew your Chai Gol Gavzaban. Like you, I love the smell and taste of the dried Persian limes. It is used in a lot of Persian khoresh recipes. I usually add a couple of extra limes just for myself 🙂
I always make a point of answering my readers’ comments and emails, so please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions or comments about any recipe; I love to hear from you. Have a great weekend!
HI, I didn’t get the dried lime. I just infused the dried borage petals in hot water. The colour turned out to be very dark purple. Is this normal? Thanks!
Hi Ann, the dried lime is added for flavor and its acidity will make the color minimally brighter, but not too much. All the borage tea that I have had has been about the same color as the pictures on this post. If the color is unusually dark, please make certain about the authenticity of the source that you have purchased your leaves in order to make sure that no artificial color has been added to them. You could also try adding some fresh lime juice after brewing your tea to see how the color looks. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
A Persian nurse at my husbands oncologist’s office recommended this tea as a remedy for chemo induced diarrhea. I bought the ingredients at a Persian market she recommended and followed her instructions, though slightly different than yours. She suggested cracking the fruit, and boiling for 5 min. Then add the flowers and turn off the heat, cover and let cool to drinking temp. Add Nabat as desired, although we used a little stevia instead as my husband is avoiding sugar. It worked better than the prescription medicines they gave him! I also felt a sore throats coming on and she said it was good for that also. I enjoyed a cup with him and sore throat went away. We now call this our Magic Tea!
Hello Elizabeth; I’m glad this tea has been beneficial to you and your husband. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with everyone.
nitra Kay says
Gol Gavzaban Tea is an excellent remedy to lower Blood Pressure. I drink it 2-3 times a day. You just use it as normal tea bags, in a cup and hot water on it.you can add lemon and honey.
Hello Nitra; it’s wonderful to hear from you! When I was in Iran and visited with attars (bazaar herb/spice experts), I was told to be cautious with overdoing the brew made with this particular dried flower, and they recommended that, maybe one brewed tea, once a week, was okay; I’m wondering if the teabag version is not as potent? I personally stay on the conservative side of using any kind of herbal tea or supplement.
I read from others fb ,it said you should not use this flower if you have high blood pressure . Can anyone confirm this plz.
What site would you recommend for purchasing the tea and limes? Thank you
I use Sadaf brand products regularly, though I have not tried their tea:
I have used their dried limes:
Where can I buy the dried flowers inline?
Hi Sharona, I found this online, hope it will work out for you!
we are just making it now, limoo and the flower
Noosh e jan 🙂 Take care and keep in touch dear friend!
Salam, man mikhastam beporsam be modati mishe chai gol gav zaban masraf kard , chon masrafe ziad barie kabed zarar dare .
Dear Nader, as I have explained in the recipe “The belief is that this tea should be consumed in moderation and only occasionally.”
In other words: Har az gahi, na mesle chaii keh roozaneh mikhorim 🙂
My mom’s recipe (and probably found from somewhere in history) combines Borage and Catnip but the ratio is that it should be 5:1 of each and no Omani Lemon/Lime. The interesting part is when I looked for information regarding Borage tea for insomnia compared to Catnip tea, it seems Catnip tea has been more researched. Of course, I’m not saying one is better than the other; there’s always something the Eastern world has known for centuries that the Western world doesn’t know of and vice versa. I love Persian tradition, culture, food, music.
Hi, I remember a brew combining borage and valerian root (sonbolatib) that is also called cat grass in Farsi, but different from the common catnip which is a leafy plant. However, valerian root is very potent with possible side effects and is not widely used anymore.
I agree, many beneficial herbs, spices, nuts, fruits…so called super foods, that are fairly new to the Western world, have been in most Eastern pantries for centuries.
Thanks for your comment and please take care and keep in touch