The benefits of black currant seed oil range from immune support to arthritis and could greatly aid your patients.
You are no doubt familiar with the benefits of berries such as strawberries and blueberries. But one berry that might escape your attention is the black currant, which can add flavor to main dishes as well as to desserts. Although a bit sour, the fruit can be more palatable by sprinkling on some sugar before eating or baking. While this fruit can add variety to your menu, it also packs a nutritional punch.
History of the black currant
Black currants traveled an interesting journey before being accepted in this country. Food Facts by Mercola reports that until 2003 black currants were known as “forbidden fruit” in America. In the early 1900s, the United States imported European white pine seedlings, unaware that they harbored a disease known as “blister rust.” When tree experts examined the white pines, they mistakenly determined that the disease jumped from the trees to black currants and then back to the trees. So to prevent widespread infestation, in 1911, many states banned black currant bushes. But by 1966, some states – but not all – began removing the ban.
Today, in addition to being a food additive, black currants may be used orally and topically, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Black currant seed oil addresses menopausal symptoms, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea, mastodynia, hyperlipidemia, and is said to boost immunity when ingested.
In berry form, black currant has been used for a range of conditions from Alzheimer’s disease and upper respiratory tract infections to muscle fatigue and peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The dried leaf of black currants, when taken orally, also addresses several medical problems, including arthritis, gout, rheumatism, diarrhea, colic, hepatitis, liver ailments, convulsions, and inflammatory disorders of the mouth and throat.
Additionally, black currant dried leaf can relieve coughs, colds and whooping cough; purify urine and promote larger output; and treat bladder stones. The leaf makes a good cleansing tea as well. For insect bites or minor wounds, black currant leaf applied topically can soothe the skin, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
Nutrition and You indicates that black currants are an excellent source of vitamin C, have a “small but significant amount of vitamin A,” and are also rich in B vitamins and trace minerals, including copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and potassium. Black currants offer a healthy dose of iron as well.
Significant research backs up these claims. Scientific study has shown that black currants and black currant seed oil possess a plethora of health benefits. A 2013 study found black currant seed oil was well tolerated and effective in reducing atopic dermatitis in newborns. At the other end of the age spectrum, a different study demonstrated that supplementation with black currant seed oil enhanced the immune system of healthy elderly individuals.
Black currants might also replace the need for cold medicine and other remedies. According to a study, the antiviral and anti-bacterial properties in this fruit can help guard against oral, nasopharyngeal and upper respiratory infections.
And yet another study exhorts the virtues of black currant, which contains anthocyanins – a dietary antioxidant – that may help balance the system and prevent and treat “oxidative stress and inflammation driven cancers.” Specifically, the study authors suggest that black currant extract could play a role in managing liver cancer.
The National Medicines Comprehensive Database reports no adverse reactions related to black currants. However, when taken together with anticoagulant or anti-platelet herbs and supplements, there could be an increased risk of bleeding. Also, be cautious when using black currant concurrently with herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure; the combination could result in the risk of an even lower pressure.
So, adding black currants and black currant seed oil to your grocery list, and using wisely, might not only bring versatility to your menu, but they could also enhance your physical well-being.