This bushy shrub is native to Europe and eastern Eurasia.
It is grown mainly in the rather cold temperate countries (Russia, Poland, England, France, and now New Zealand) for its fruits but also its buds.
It has leaves with 3 to 5 lobes, the paler underside of which is dotted with yellowish secreting glands.
The flowers, small, red, and yellow-green, grouped in pendulous clusters, have a hairy calyx longer than the corolla.
The associated fruit cluster is a black berry that carries the remains of the chalice.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
The FRUIT contains:
- 10 to 15% of sugars,
- organic acids, including vitamin C (100 to 200 mg per 100 g),
- flavanol glycosides and anthocyanosides (vascular protecting plant pigments).
The LEAVES contain a little essential oil and many flavonoids and prodelphinidols (anti-inflammatories).
The BUDS contain an essential oil:
- rich in diterpene acid: hardwickic acid,
- di-terpenes (limonene, sabinene),
- and oxygenated compounds (ex: linalool, citronellol),
This bud essential oil and its associated compounds are at the origin of its aroma enhancer power used in the food industry.
Black currant seeds are an interesting source of gamma-linolenic acid (tri-unsaturated fatty acid) used in the formulation of cosmetics and in human dietetics.
It is a precursor of arachidonic acid (metabolism of many cellular and intercellular mediators involved in inflammatory and immune responses).
The anthocyanosides of the fruit have an anti-oedematous VASCULO-PROTECTION activity.
Biological tests indicate that these substances decrease the permeability of the capillaries and increase their resistance.
They are also scavengers of free radicals, therefore TISSUE PROTECTORS.
The leaf prodelphinidols would exhibit ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY and PHYSICAL ANTI-STRESS (similar to cortisone) as well as the glycerololic extracts of buds:
- increased resistance to cold, stress,
- anti-fatigue effect,
- all this perhaps by increase of activity of the adrenal gland.
BLACK CURRANT IN FOOD.
The fruits of blackcurrant, are consumed:
- raw mixed in fruit salad or pastries (tartlets) because consumed alone their taste and acidity can be too "strong",
- in ice cream or sorbets,
- in juice, syrup, liquor,
- in jam or jelly (but vitamin C is destroyed)
It is a fruit that can be stored well frozen, or dried, it can find also as blackcurrant powder.
Some extracts of blackcurrant (buds, leaves) are used to increase the taste of food (flavor enhancer such as glutamate).
Fruit extracts are recommended to fight:
- VEINOUS INSUFFICIENCY, (heavy legs, hemorrhoids),
- to STRENGTHEN BLOOD CAPILLARIES in cases of tendency to bruising (and petechiae).
The aqueous extracts of the leaves (infusion) are used in the symptomatic treatment of minor JOINT PAIN and as adjuncts to slimming diets.
The alcoholic tincture of leaves , and the glycerine macerate of buds in 1st decimal homeopathic (1D), are of a more flexible and safe use. These are products without significant toxicity.
Alcoholic tincture alone, or in combination with others, is used 10 to 20 drops 3 times a day, or the glycerin macerate of 1D buds, 30 to 50 drops 3 times a day :
- to increase the body resistance to viral and bacterial INFECTIONS: "flu", respiratory tract infections, viral diseases, herpes zoster, herpes ..
- to reduce JOINT or tendinous INFLAMMATION in osteoarthritis, usually in combination with other phytomedicines,
- to fight ALLERGIC PHENOMENA: asthma, urticaria, "food" allergies
- in the postinfectious FATIGUE, particularly after influenza but after surgery or radiotherapy and also in situations of physical and psychic STRESS.
There are many phytomedicines in drugstores or on the Internet containing extracts of blackcurrant (leaves, fruits) often associated with other plant extracts (elderberry for example).
BLACK CURRANT SEEDS OIL
This vegetable oil contains a high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, especially gamma linolenic acid omega 6 (18%). It is not used alone in the diet because it is too unbalanced in its percentage of fatty acids, however it can be mixed with other low omega 6 dietary oils.
Black currant seed oil is sometimes proposed as a dietary supplement to treat chronic diseases (polyartritis), but without a real medical basis.
BLACK CURRANT CULTIVATION
Blackcurrant is a plant that is cultivated extensively in Russia, Poland, England and France.
It has been introduced successfully in New Zealand but, on the other hand, is prohibited from cultivation in the majority of the USA because it can be host of "white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola)" which can devastate the white pine plantations.
Blackcurrant is present in many gardens because it is a winter-cold shrub that does not take up much space and requires little maintenance except for the annual pruning and a compost application.
It multiplies by sowing, cuttings or layering, likes an acidic soil (not limestone) and moderately humid soil, supports the sun but not the sun of the Mediterranean region.
It takes two years to get the first fruits, and do not hesitate to prune the twigs that have already fructified.
Buds can be harvested in early spring, leaves in summer, and fruits in late summer.
Blackcurrant Ribes nigrum can hybridize with other closely related species, but it is the only truly medicinal species in the genus Ribes.
A protector of blood vessels and an anti-inflammatory
Blackcurrant is best known for its small scented fruits that make good jams or a pleasant liquor, but it is also a plant from which compounds that enhance the taste of food are extracted.
Others compounds seem to activate the adrenal glands and protect blood capillaries.
Black currant is a natural medicine for allergy and chronic rheumatic pain.
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel