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.