Blackcurrant

Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, benefits of Blackcurrant, what is Blackcurrant

Ribes nigrum Grossulariaceae.


Found throughout Europe, except in the most northerly parts, blackcurrant is widely grown for its sweet black berries. A deciduous shrub, it can reach a height if 1.3m. Its aromatic leaves are coarsely toothed and have yellow oil-containing glands on their undersides. Small, green flowers form loose, hanging bunches in spring followed by the edible, sweet-smelling fruit.


Parts used

  • Fruit and leaves
  • The leaves are gathered during April and May before flowering takes place.
  • The berries are harvested during summer when they are ripe and dried very carefully, because they tend to rot quickly.
  • Blackcurrant is used as infusions, extracts and powders. The berries and leaves are used to flavour numerous pharmaceutical products.

Constituents

Blackcurrant berries are rich in sugars and organic acids; they contain polyphenols (in particular, flavonoids and anthocyanins), which have a beneficial effect on veins. The'leaves possess a small amount of essential oil and flavonoids. The anthocyanins and flavonoids are likely to account for the antiinflammatory properties of blackcurrant and its ability to protect the blood vessels.


Medicinal uses

Blackcurrant has long been used to treat rheumatism and its antiinflammatory effect has been demonstrated in research. In 1994 American researchers found blackcurrant seed oil to be a potentially effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Scottish studies performed earlier in 1992 showed that the seed oil may help to treat inflammatory disorders. In the treatment of rheumatic pains, it can be used in combination with other herbal plants such as willow and devil's claw.


Blackcurrant can be used as a mouthwash for bleeding gums, or as a gargle for an inflamed mouth or throat.


Research has highlighted the protective effect of blackcurrant fruit on the capillaries, giving them elasticity and strength - the fru it is often prescribed for vein and arterial ailments, including varicose veins. Furthermore, blackcurrant is an ingredient in many medicines that improve blood circulation in the veins by keeping the blood thin.Infections, including those of the urinary tract, can be treated with blackcurrant.


Studies performed in 1976 found that anthocyanins in the fruit inhibit the growth of bacteria and in 2001 Japanese scientists fount that they had an antiviral action on the influenza virus.


The berries are also rich in vitamin C which can help the body to fight off infections.


CAUTIONS

When used in therapeutic doses, no toxic effects have been recorded. . Do not use in combination with devil's claw if you have a gastric or duodenal ulcer.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE


For internal use


TO TREAT vein and arterial ailments, urinary infections, rheumatic pains


INFUSION Put 5g of dried leaves into 1 litre of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, then strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day.


CAPSULES (340mg leaf powder combined with devil's claw and willow) Take 2 three times a day.


LEAF EXTRACT (combined with boldo and silver birch) Put 15-30 drops into a glass of water. Take two or three times a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Plant in well-drained clay soil in a sunny or lightly shaded position.



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