Blackcurrant – a bush of the gooseberry family up to one and a half meters high. Currant leaves have a pleasant specific aroma, lilac or pink flowers, gathered in a brush, bloom in May-June, and round shiny black or dark purple berries ripen in July-August.
In total, there are about 150 species of blackcurrant in the world, 50 of which can be found in Europe, Asia and North America. In the wild, you can see it in moist forests, on their edges, in alder forests, on the banks of rivers and outskirts of swamps, in meadows. But most often blackcurrant can be found in gardens and vegetable gardens. The berry got its name from the old Russian word “smorod”, which translates as “strong smell”.
Both fresh and dried fruits of blackcurrant are eaten. Leaves and, in some cases, buds are also dried. For drying, the fruits are harvested in this way: in July – August, ripened berries are picked in the mornings, waiting for them to dry from dew, or later in the evening. Drying is carried out in dryers, where to start the berries are dried at 35-40 ° C, after which drying is completed at a temperature of 55-60 ° C. You can also dry in the oven or in the attic. Such dried berries are stored for up to 2 years without losing their beneficial properties.
Harvesting of leaves is carried out in the summer after ripening and harvesting. It also has its own peculiarities: they are torn off by hands, and only from the middle of the branches, since the old leaves are unsuitable for drying, and picking a lot of young leaves can cause serious damage to the plant. Damaged and spoiled leaves are not suitable for drying.
The collected leaves are laid out on a fabric or paper with a rather thin layer, not more than 2-3 cm, dried under a canopy or in an attic with an iron roof. The place where they are dried should be well ventilated.
Composition and calorie content
Blackcurrant is a source of many vitamins and other substances important for maintaining human health. The list of its useful components contains vitamins C, E, D, P, K, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B9), pectin, carotenoids, essential oil, sugars, tannins, organic acids, phosphorus, potassium and gland.
Blackcurrant leaves are a real storehouse of vitamin C. In addition, they contain magnesium, silver, manganese, sulfur, copper, lead, essential oil and have phytoncidal properties.
The calorie content of black currant is 40 kcal per 100 grams.
Therapeutic and beneficial properties
Currant berries as an unsurpassed source of vitamins are used for vitamin deficiencies, to improve appetite, for gastritis with low acidity and intestinal diseases. Fresh fruits, juice, and decoction of them have such properties. And to increase the hemoglobin content in the blood, these berries are rubbed with sugar and mixed in a 1: 1 ratio with buckwheat flour.
Currants are widely used as a tonic, blood purifying, hematopoietic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and diaphoretic, and its ability to improve metabolism, dilate blood vessels, and increase appetite is known.
It is recommended to use these berries to people suffering from anemia, diseases of the lymph nodes, with high blood pressure, radiation damage.
This plant improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, increases the body’s resistance to various diseases, improves the work of the adrenal cortex, and in diabetes lowers blood sugar levels.
From the leaves of black currant a delicious and fragrant tea is prepared, which has healing properties and a restorative effect due to the content of vitamin C, essential oils, tannins and phytoncides. Also for medicinal purposes use an infusion of plant leaves. It is used for bleeding, metabolic disorders, as a diaphoretic and mild laxative, has the ability to remove excess purine and uric acid from the body.
An infusion of leaves along with branches is used as an anti-inflammatory and diaphoretic for colds, cough, bronchitis, whooping cough. For sore throat, sore throat, hoarseness, gargle with infusion or drink warm with the addition of honey. This infusion is an effective diuretic for edema, kidney disease, urinary incontinence, urolithiasis, and inflammation of the bladder.
Decoction of leaves, branches and buds of blackcurrant in folk medicine is used to treat eye diseases, exudative diathesis and dermatitis. Berry decoction will help with bleeding gums, anemia, hypertension, skin diseases, rashes, allergies, gout, polyarthritis, rheumatism. Both decoctions and infusions have a calming effect, therefore, they help with sleep disorders, headaches, and neurological diseases.
Blackcurrant juice is a good antiseptic, with angina they gargle, diluted with water. Juice will also help from coughing, for this you need to drink it, after mixing it with sugar and honey.
Harm and contraindications
The use of these fruits in large quantities over a long period can cause increased blood coagulation. Fresh berries and currant juice are contraindicated in hepatitis. You can not use them also with increased acidity of the stomach, hyperacid gastritis, stomach ulcer or duodenal ulcer, thrombophlebitis.