The black currant shrub is native to Europe and parts of Asia and is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and Russia. Traditional herbalists uphold that black currant has diuretic (increases urine flow), diaphoretic (promotes sweating), and antipyretic (fever reducer) properties. In Europe, it has been used topically (applied to the skin) to treat skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis, and as part of gargles to treat sore throats. Black currant juice has been boiled down into a sugary extract, called Rob, to treat sore throat inflammation, colds, the flu, and febrile (fever) illness. A mixture made from black currant bark has been used to treat calculus (hardened plaque), edema (swelling), and hemorrhoids.
With a vitamin C content estimated to be five times that of oranges (2,000 milligrams/kilogram), black currant has potential dietary benefits. Black currant is also rich in rutin and other flavonoids, which are known antioxidants. Because of black currant's high essential fatty acid content, researchers believe that it may be effective in the treatment of inflammatory conditions and pain management, as well as in regulating the circulatory system and increasing immunity.
As a medicinal treatment, black currant seed oil is the most commonly used part of the plant and is available in capsule form. The effectiveness of black currant seed oil is mixed and safety concerns seem to be minor in non-allergic people.
Alpha-linolenic acid, anthocyanidin glycosides, anthocyanin, anthocyanoside, astragalin, BCA, BCSO, black currant, black currant berry, black currant juice, black currant power, black currant seed oil, casis (Spanish), cassis (French), cassistee (German), European black currant, Feuilles de Cassis (French), gamma-linolenic acid, Gichtbeerblaetter (German), groselha preta (Portuguese), groselheira preta (f) (Bot.), Grossulariaceae (family), isoquercitrin, kurokarin extract, linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acid, phenolic compounds, polyphenolic antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, prodelphinidins, quercetin, Quinsy berries, red currant, Ribes nero, Ribes nigri folium, Ribes nigrum, Ribes rubrum, Ribis nigri folium, Rob, Saxifragaceae (family), schwarze Johannisbeerblaetter (German), schwarze Johannisbeere (German), Squinancy berries, solbaerbusk (Danish), stearidonic acid, svart vinbar (Swedish), tutin.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
There is currently a lack of information in humans on the effectiveness of black currant juice as an antioxidant.
Chronic venous insufficiency (a blood flow disorder)
Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition in which damaged valves in the veins or a blood clot in the leg may cause ongoing swelling or blood pooling in the legs. Black currant treatment may benefit women with blood flow disorders, such as chronic venous insufficiency. More study is needed in this area.
High blood pressure
Patients with hypertension have blood pressure above the normal range. Black currant seed oil supplementation may lower blood pressure, although additional study is needed in this area.
There is currently a lack of information in humans on the effectiveness of black currant seed oil in changing immune system function.
Musculoskeletal conditions (stiffness)
Results are conflicting and more study is warranted to determine whether black currant is effective for muscle stiffness.
Certain components in black currant called anthocyanosides may be helpful for improving night vision. However, additional studies are needed.
Nutrition supplementation (phenylketonuria)
There is currently a lack of information in humans on the effectiveness of black currant seed oil for nutrition supplementation in phenylketonuric patients.
Early study shows promise for the use of black currant seed oil in reducing the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. However, additional study is needed to confirm these findings.
There is currently a lack of information in humans on the effectiveness of black currant seed oil for stress. More research is needed in this area.