Blackcurrants are tart, uniquely flavored berries that are an exceptionally rich source of Vitamin C, containing four times as much as an equivalent weight of oranges. They have also been shown to have twice the potassium of bananas and twice the antioxidants of blueberries.
Blackcurrants are also a good source of fiber, calcium, iron, essential fatty acids, and the vitamins A and B. Their substantial potassium-content and small amounts of sodium make them useful for water retention and in the treatment of high blood pressure.
The high level of Vitamin C found in blackcurrants is in a particularly stable form. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects against cancer, circulatory problems and all kinds of infections.
Black currants contain anthocyanins, which are compounds naturally found in berries. They are very potent antioxidants and are responsible for the color of blackcurrants. Anthocyanins inhibit enzymes which cause inflammation; therefore blackcurrants are associated with reducing inflammation and the effects of arthritis in the body.
The anthocyanins found in the berries purple-black skins are antibacterial and have an anti-inflammatory action. This is why blackcurrant tea is an effective natural remedy for sore throats. Their powerful antibacterial effect is valuable in the treatment and prevention of food poisoning, as many of the bugs that trigger stomach upsets are destroyed by the anthocyanosides in the berries.
One study reported that substances found blackcurrant juice were very toxic against tumor cells, and stopped the growth of tumors in mice.
Blackcurrant seed oil was given to a group with mildly high blood pressure. Scientists attribute their significant decline in blood pressure to the berry's high gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) content, an essential omega-6 fatty acid that is rarely found in any other natural source, and the body cannot produce it on its own.
- Konno O, Okubo T, Takata R, Yamamoto R, Yanai T. Immunostimulatory effects of a polysaccharide-rich substance with antitumor activity isolated from black currant (Ribes nigrum L.). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Nov; 69(11): 2042-50.
- Deferne JL, Leeds AR. Resting blood pressure and cardiovascular reactivity to mental arithmetic in mild hypertensive males supplemented with black currant seed oil. J Hum Hypertens. 1996 Aug; 10(8): 531-7.