Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum) developed a nickname of the “King of Berries” due to their potent antioxidant activity and powerful nutritional profile. The use of blackcurrant fruit as a herbal medicine emerged in the Middle Ages. These berries were used for centuries in Chinese folk medicine as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and febrifuge, and as an ingredient in nutraceuticals, wines, juices, and jams in China and Europe. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of dropsy, rheumatic pain, whooping cough, sore throats and mouth ulcers.
Blackcurrants are rich in polyphenols including anthocyanins and flavanols. They grow in Europe, European Asia, North America and in New Zealand. The berry comes in vivid shades of deep red, purple and black.
Blackcurrant helps to improve microcirculation and supports cardiovascular health. The venoprotective, cardiotonic properties of flavonoids have been reported extensively. These compounds improve the strength of the capillaries and promote its elasticity, improving blood circulation and preventing strokes. Many diseases that are caused by blood flow problems may improve if treated with abundant flavonoids.
- Eye stress related to aging and use of electronic screens
- Dark rings under the eyes
- Maintaining and protecting microcirculation, particularly in the brain
Clinical Work / Research Summary:
The “In vitro effect of blackcurrant anthocyanins on Flow-Dependent Dilatation of Human lntracerebral Arteries and Alzheimer Nanoplaque” study done by Prof. Dr. Günter Siegel (Department of Microcirculation, Charite Medical University, Berlin), shows that cholesterol is linked to Alzheimer disease and Anthocyanins from blackcurrant extracts may have beneficial effects on Alzheimer dementia via other target points than cholesterol lowering. After using a blackcurrant liquid extract, there was a decrease in wall tensions and vascular tone, increasing the flow-dependent relaxation and rise in blood perfusion. The conclusion is that the flow experiments impressively show that blackcurrant extract improves endothelial function by stimulating nitrogen monoxide,(NO) release. NO is a potent vasodilator. The vasodilatation together with a reduction of Alzheimer nanoplaque neoformation may have a beneficial effect on the cognitive functions in dementia of the Alzheimer type, and in the prevention of transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke.
Extracts from blackcurrants have been shown in three clinical trials to increase blood flow with the following range of statistically significant physical outcomes:
- Vasodilation of blood vessels
- Reduced muscle stiffening under repetitive work
- Reduced eye visual fatigue
All three trials indicate positive outcomes from increased blood flow to muscles and skin.
The amounts of blackcurrant ingested for the trials correspond to an average daily serving.
Mode of Action:
Blackcurrant extracts contain a range of polyphenolic compounds, including anthocyanins, and it is likely that all these compounds will have health effects.
When the circulation is disturbed by compression of the blood vessels resulting from continuous muscle contraction, removal of metabolites such as lactic acid becomes insufficient and leads to development of muscle stiffness. The vasodilatory effect of blackcurrants leads to better oxygen supply to the muscles and may lead to less production of metabolites like lactic acid which causes soreness after sport.
Blackcurrant has proved to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood. Thus it improves the blood flow towards the heart and hypertension. Eating blackcurrant increases memory. It protects the brain from free radical damage due to its rich antioxidants. As the berry is also a rich source of iron, it increases oxygen supply to the brain and brain health.