Characteristics of the plant
Ribes nigrum is a shrub with bright green leaves that give off an intense and characteristic scent, which envelops the whole plant; the stem is covered with a reddish bark that darkens with the passing of the years, while the flowers, small and white / green, are gathered in hanging florescences that bloom in spring.
The fruits of this currant species are black berries . Ribes nigrum is native to the mountainous areas of Europe and central-northern Asia.
Its name seems to derive from the Arabic “ribas”, a particular rhubarb from Lebanon which, according to the Moor conquerors in Spain, would have the same flavor and the same properties.
Properties and uses
Black currant is one of those plants that use various parts, with different properties. The most common use is that in the form of bud extract or glycerine macerate (MG). The latter is a liquid herbal preparation, obtained from the fresh embryonic tissues of the plant, such as buds, buds, roots.
In the specific case of Ribes nigrum , the privileged parts in this sense are the buds ; they are in fact rich in essential oil, flavonoids and glycosides. These molecules act as stimulants of the adrenal glands to produce cortisol , an endogenous cortisone-like that helps the body react to inflammation. It therefore increases the production of steroid hormones, normally secreted by our adrenal glands, to counteract any type of stress or injury, eliminate inflammation and inhibit allergy triggering processes.
The blackcurrant bud extract is therefore used for its powerful natural anti- inflammatory and antihistamine properties, which act both on the skin and on the respiratory tract ; it is therefore indicated in case of asthma, allergic and chronic rhinitis, bronchitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, dermatitis and conjunctivitis. Furthermore, the extract of the black currant buds is also effective in stimulating the immune system and preventing flu diseases.
The mother tincture obtained by squeezing fresh leaves is instead indicated to drain and detoxify the body.
Fruits , rich in citric acid, malic acid, vitamin C, trace elements, polyunsaturated acids, flavonoids and anthocyanins, are also useful for their astringent , vasoprotective , refreshing and protective action on the retina. They are therefore indicated, in the form of juice or infusion, for capillary fragility and couperose. This is why the currant fruit is widely used for cosmetic purposes.
Why use it?
- It is a natural antihistamine against allergies in general
- It is useful for relieving seasonal allergic oculorinitis
- It strengthens the immune system
- Relieves respiratory disorders
- Useful for asthma and bronchitis
- Helps to counteract recurrent pharyngitis and sore throat
- Relieves disorders related to conjunctivitis
- It is effective against skin inflammations, such as hives and eczema
- It is a valuable aid for disorders of the microcirculation and / or related to capillaries and blood vessels.
The molecules present in black currant attribute to this fruit anti-inflammatory, but also antioxidant and vasoprotective properties; for this reason it is often recommended against problems such as capillary fragility and couperose, but not only.
In fact, it seems that the protection offered by this plant also extends to the eyes and joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Blackcurrant oil and juice would also have the same properties; moreover, thanks to the antioxidant action, whole fruits also help protect the health of the cardiovascular system.
A bit of history
Currant, known and cultivated for centuries, only saw its popularity explode in the 18th century. It was then that the extraordinary properties that distinguish it were recognized for this fruit. It was Abbot Bailly de Montaran, doctor of the Sorbonne, who indicated currant as an excellent remedy against plague , smallpox , fevers and all sorts of poisonings and stings . A few years later, Beaumount devoted an entire treatise to currants. In this document he argued that the constant intake of these fruits could ensure a peaceful old age and in excellent physical shape.
In popular medicine it was also widely used in cases of burns : the crushed fruits and applied directly on the burned part, in fact, calm the pain and prevent the formation of sores.
The berries of this plant are the basis of the famous French liqueur Crème de cassis , which is also the name given to this fruit in France. The presence of alcohol preserves the characteristic flavor of unchanged currant.
Currants: between myth and legend
In ancient Russia it was a spontaneous plant, which thanks to the particularly suitable climate grew everywhere. The banks of the Moskva River were once completely covered with bushes of currant shrubs. It is no coincidence that the ancient name of the river, now forgotten, is Smorodinovka (Smorodina is in fact the Russian term used to indicate the currant).