Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) is a species of shrub in the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae).
It probably comes from the region of Europe and Asia. It was cultivated as early as 1400, initially in the Netherlands and Denmark, and later also in France and England. Currently, in the wild (or feral, in places of former, abandoned orchards) it is common throughout the Polish lowlands and foothills. It is also willingly grown in home gardens and in many regions its industrial plantations are created.
We all know the fruits of blackcurrant. They are small, spherical, black with irregular glands. They have a sweet, characteristic taste and quite a strong, specific aroma that is not liked by everyone.
Blackcurrant fruits contain large amounts of vitamin C. 100 g of this fruit contain about 180 mg of this vitamin, which is over 250% of the daily human requirement. I have mentioned vitamin C on several occasions. However, it is worth recalling that it is necessary in a number of biochemical processes in our body, moreover, it is a strong antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and helps to slow down the aging of the body.
The fruit also contains other valuable ingredients such as vitamin PP, arginine, glutamic and aspartic acids and pectin.
However, not everyone knows that black currant leaves are a valuable pharmaceutical raw material containing essential oils, tannins, flavonoids (e.g. rutin), organic acids and mineral salts, including iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Blackcurrant fruits are eagerly eaten fresh and as various preparations such as juices, jellies, jams, and are the basis of liqueurs of which Cassis is best known. Cassis, in turn, is an ingredient of the excellent Kir Royal cocktail, i.e. champagne with its addition.
Consuming blackcurrant fruit, whether fresh or processed, has a beneficial effect on our health. Of course, the most important thing is the action of vitamin C.
In addition, flavonoids support the removal of dangerous toxins and other substances that increase the risk of cancer from our body, they also delay the aging process and support and protect the liver.
Black currant leaves
The essential oils contained in the leaves of black currant slightly stimulate the glomeruli to increased filtration and hinder reabsorption in the tubules, which increases the excretion of urine and with it harmful metabolic products. In addition, the removal of excess water from the body helps to reduce swelling and has a positive effect on improving heart rate. The presence of tannins makes currant leaf infusions astringent and slightly anti-inflammatory.
Recently, alcohol-glycerin tincture on buds collected from young blackcurrant leaf buds is also fashionable. Supposedly, it has a wide range of effects, including:
? highly anti-inflammatory,
? strengthening the upper respiratory tract,
? supportive in the case of adrenal insufficiency.
Use in cosmetics
Blackcurrant leaf and fruit extracts are an important ingredient in many products available on the market, mainly creams. They have a moisturizing effect and soothe irritations caused by sunlight or acne.
As you can see, blackcurrant is not only an ingredient of delicious desserts, but also a valuable raw material with a beneficial, multidirectional effect on our health.
AUTHOR: Dr n. farm. Andrzej Tarasiuk