Currant shrub is a native of Tibet, it is widely spread and cultivated in the Europe for about 400 years. It was first planted in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and northern Germany, where it grows in the woods, often in hilly areas, with abundant annual precipitation, having a high resistance to frost.
In the wild, currants prefer wetter and cool temperate areas, protected from strong winds. The fruit is harvested for medicinal purposes, as well as the leaves, immediately after the fruit is fully ripened, to hasten fruit bud differentiation in the following year. Early spring can yield currant buds and mature fruit after processing retain seeds.
Currently, 98% of the cultivated area is concentrated in Europe, where annual production is of 330,000 tons of currant fruit, especially in Germany, England, Norway and Austria.
In the kitchen gardens currants are cultivated with success, in sunny or lightly shaded areas, on the paths, near fences or plant trees interspersed among existing trees.
Black currant shrub is 1-1.5 meters tall, strongly branched at the base, with erect stems, vigorous. The root system is relatively shallow, at depths of only 10-30 cm, branched only on the surface of the crown projection. The leaves have toothed edges, slightly hairy on the underside and furnished with numerous glands point, yellow and fragrant. The flowers are small, yellow-green and red on the outside.
Early spring flowering occurs more frequently in April-May, and lasts 14-15 days, starting from the bunches to the top. Approximately 60 days after fertilization of flowers, fruit maturation takes place, in the second decade of July. Berry fruits are spherical with a diameter of 0.5-1 cm, black, with scented and pleasant taste, aromatic and slightly sour.
Fruits contain three times more vitamin C than oranges
Black currant fruits are among the richest in vitamin C (150-200 mg per 100 grams of fruit), three times more than oranges. In addition, vitamin C in fruit is very stable, both heat shock, as well as oxidation, due to complex organic substances that inhibit oxidative processes. The enzyme is filled with provitamin A, B complex (B1, B2, B6) and vitamin PP. Due to the high content in anthocyanins, is provided the role played by vitamin P.
In addition to vitamins, the analysis pointed out the presence of large amounts of sugar (10-14%), giving the sweet taste of the fruit, and protein (0.9%), pectin, tannins and a green essential oil (up to 0.2%), consisting of terpenic hydrocarbons.
Worth mentioning that the fruit is also rich in mineral salts of potassium (870 mg), calcium (60 mg), magnesium (17 mg), iron, sodium, phosphorus, zinc and other micronutrients.
Caloric intake of 56 kcal per 100 g fruit completes the nutritional value, making it a therapeutic fruit.
The leaves contain vitamin C, rutozizi, tannins, essential oil and potassium salts. Currant seeds contain gamma-linoleic acid, a fatty acid of high nutritive value.
An “elixir of youth”
The fruits, as well as leaves and buds are appreciated for their medicinal virtues. Four centuries ago (1614), currant leaves were used against kidney stones and urinary retention.
List of the therapeutic properties of currant fruit was presented in the eighteenth century by the abbot Bailley Montaran from Dijon Monastery, which highlight its wonderful tonic virtues, general and nervous, considering currant as an “elixir of youth” with effects for prolonged youth and health.
Gradually, were found more medicinal virtues. In particular, the fruit has diuretic properties, depurative, pectoral, sudorific, stomachic, anti-diarrheal, anti-cramps, astringent, hypotensive, antirheumatic, antigout inflammatory, vermifuge, antiscorbutic, antihemorrhagic, anti-infective, healing, fortified, energy, snacks and drinks.
The leaves have a high diuretic capacity, antirheumatic action and have uricosuric effects, favoring the elimination of purines and uric acid.
Good results in kidney disease
Experiments have shown multiple health benefits of the black currant fruit, leaves and buds that can prevent and combat a variety of unhealthy conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease (prevents heart failure and stroke because of the high content of vitamin C and antocianosides, increases strength of fragile blood capillaries, reduces hypertension, atherosclerosis, cerebral arteritis, increasing the poor peripheral circulation caused by menopause, cleans the blood of toxins, waste and cholesterol);
- Respiratory and lung disease (cough, influenza, angina, laryngitis, allergic rhinitis and recurrent nasopharyngitis, fever, asthma, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, excessive serous, inhibit the growth of bacteria and influenza virus);
- Renal disease (kidney stones, kidney inflammation and infection, nephritis, pyelonephritis, dropsy, contribute to excessive reduction of urea and uric acid);
- Rheumatic (chronic degenerative rheumatism and combat the effects of inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis and gout);
- Digestive problems (hepatobiliary diseases, hepatitis, impaired hepatic steatosis, jaundice, dyspepsia, gastritis, gastroduodenitis, duodenal ulcers, colitis, diarrhea and dysentery , intestinal parasites, facilitates digestion, stimulates liver function, pancreas and spleen , stimulates appetite);
- Nervous system disorders (stress, migraines, physical and intellectual exhaustion, mental fatigue post-influenza, general fatigue).
Favors bone growth in children
Benefic effects are found in other diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, increased visual acuity in pilots, drivers, divers and underground workers. It also increases resistance to infection appeared in the mouth and neck (tonsillitis, gingivitis, bleeding gums and inflammation), shootes acute pain and other infectious diseases such as measles and scarlet fever. In addition, it combats scurvy, the deficiency of vitamin C, promotes bone growth in children and increase red blood cell formation in children and in recovering anemic patients.
In external use, black currant fruit preparation is found efficient in abscesses, dermatitis, eczema, strikes, ringworm, insect bites, with anti-inflammatory effects and systemic corticosteroid hormones like skin allergies.
The leaves have special effects in arthritis, gout, dropsy, bladder catarrh, hypertension, coronary atherosclerosis, whooping cough, persistent headaches, stomach pain and the pain caused by the bites of bees and other insects.
Currant buds are effective in the treatment of many diseases, which are used along with fruits and leaves.
For internal use, buds act in stimulating anti-inflammatory hormones in prostate and prostate adenoma in uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and other local inflammatory problems, mucosal lung, kidney and digestive.
In external use, buds preparations proved useful in dermatitis, urticaria and eczema.
Red currant (Ribes rubrum) is a shrub-bush like black currant, distinguished by the color of the fruit, most commonly red, pink or yellow. Chemical content is almost identical to that of black currant fruit, with only a somewhat higher acidity, hereby organic citric, tartaric and malic acids.
Red currant fruit, like those of black currant, are used fresh, frozen or processed in various forms such as juice, syrup, sauce, marmalade, jam, jelly, wine, liquor, etc..
Fresh fruits can be consumed with a little sugar or honey. For detoxification eat one day a week one kg of fruits, without eating anything that day. This course of treatment will prevent stroke, hypertension, increases visual acuity, combat obesity and promotes longevity. Taken before meals, fresh fruit appetizers have tonic effects, and after meals it has stomachic actions.
Usually, currant fruits can be eaten in quantity of 125 grams daily, with yogurt or sour milk (200 ml), and sweetened with honey or sugar. Sprinkled with cereal flakes or breaded with crackers. Sometimes, it is recommended to add a little cinnamon, vanilla and lemon peel. Consumption of fruit is preferable in the morning on an empty stomach, but can be also taken for several occasions during the day. There is a preference to use currant fruit flavor in dairy products, fruit salad in the preparation of some medicines and soothing tea for heart and stomach disease.
Natural currant juice, pure or diluted with water, can be taken daily (200-500 ml), 3-4 fractionation, with beneficial effects against digestive inflammation and fever. 400 grams of fruit juice made from large leaves, has detoxifying, diuretic, antirheumatic and antigout properties.
Gargle made several times a day is recommended for the treatment of inflamed tonsils and in sore throat.
Currant cream obtained by maceration, has the effect of stimulating appetite.
Decoction: (one teaspoon of dried fruit with 250 ml of hot water) boil water, add the fruits and leave to infuse for 30 minutes, strain and drink the resulting quantity in the day, divided into 3-4 rounds.
Decoction of leaves has good effects on rheumatism
Infusion of leaves (10 grams per liter of hot water) can be consumed daily, in the morning and at bedtime, for arterial and venous diseases, urinary infections, rheumatic pain, colic nephritis, uterine fibroid with painful menstrual periods, and as a diuretic.
Decoction of fresh or dried leaves (30 grams of leaves per one liter of boiled water, infusion for 10 minutes and drink 3-4 cups per day) have remarkable effects in the treatment of rheumatism and arthrosis.
Currant seed oil has the ability to act in stimulating memory, having a high alpha-linolenic acid content, which is essential in the development and function of neurons.