Origin: Blackcurrants are native to the N hemisphere, mainly the most cold regions of Germany, England and France.
The word “currant” is originating from the ancient Greek word for the city Corinth and was used to illustrate grapes grown in the region. Earlier English texts described the cultivated varieties with words like ‘corinthes’, ‘corans’, ‘currans’ and ‘bastardecorinthes’. Black currants have been cultivated in northern Europe for more than 400 years and records were first described by the 17th century herbalists.
Scientifically: Blackcurrant is the shrub of the genus Ribes of the gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae), the piquant, juicy berries of which are used chiefly in jams and jellies. There are at least 100 species, natives of temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere and of western South America.
The Rocky Mountains in North America are especially rich in species. Currants flourish in cool, moist, northern climates. Clay and silt soils are best. They are propagated by cuttings 200–300 millimetres (8–12 inches) long, usually taken in the autumn and set in the nursery immediately or in spring, 75 to 150 mm apart, with not more than two buds above ground. In the plantation, they are set 1.2–1.5 metres (4–5 feet) apart in rows 1.8–2.4 m distant. Under intensive cropping, currants are planted under grapes, peaches, cherries, and pears because they stand shade very well.
Usage: Black currant seed oil is used for lowering high cholesterol. It is also used for high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis , and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Black currant berries, black currant juice, and black currant extracts are used for glaucoma. These are also used for Alzheimer disease, the common cold, the flu, and other conditions.
Black currant dried leaf is used orally for arthritis, gout, diarrhea, and many other conditions.
Some people apply black currant leaf to the skin for wounds and insect bites.
In foods, black currant berry is used to flavor liqueurs and other products such as jams and ice cream. People also eat black currant berry.
Below are some DIYs with blackcurrant:
- Take half a cup of blackcurrant, a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of honey. Blend them together and apply on the face for 15 minutes. Rinse later. This is a great mask to moisturize the dehydrated skin.
- Take a tablespoon of fresh blackcurrant puree and some yogurt to make a thick paste. Apply this paste on the face for 10 minutes. Gently massage and then rinse. This helps in reducing the appearance of acne.
- Take some fresh blackcurrant paste and add a heaping spoon of aloe vera gel to it. Mix it and apply on the face. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse. This helps in achieving clear and refreshed skin.
- Take 4-6 blackcurrant, oatmeal, 2-4 almonds and some lemon juice. Blend them together and add some more juice if needed. Apply this mask for 15 minutes and gently massage in scrubbing motion and wash it off. This mask is great for oily skin.
- Boil few crushed blackcurrant in about 500 ml of water. Boil until reduced half. Let it chill. Use this water as a hair rinse and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse it later. This hair rinse adds shine and smoothness to hair