The European blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) is a deciduous perennial shrub, growing up to 2 metres in height which produces greenish white flowers and shiny black globular berries. It is grown in gardens for its fruit (for cooking or making jam) and there are ornamental strains, with variegated or cut-leafed foliage. Commercially, it is sometimes grown for the essential oil extracted from the flower buds, or for the leaves which can be used to make a herbal tea, but primarily for its fruits, which are rich in vitamin C. These can be used for the manufacture of jams and fruit juice, or as a food ingredient, but the main commercial use is for juice extraction, which is then used as the basis for alcoholic (e.g. crème de cassis) and non-alcoholic beverages. After the juice has been extracted, the fruit remnants ('pomace') may be used for the extraction of pigments, and the seeds contain an oil rich in important fatty acids, which are used in the healthfoods and cosmetics.
Sections on: taxonomy, cultivars, origin, history of cultivation, folklore, medicinal properties, non-food uses, production statistics, botanical description, general culture, contribution to diet, and food uses.
Analysis of essential oils from black currant buds of several cultivars and hybrids of various origins were carried out by gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The composition of the major mono and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons present enabled the determination of a phenotypic formula for the cultivar or hybrid. The genic control was partly elucidated and some genes postulated. (Full text available as pdf file.)
Original research article describing how blackcurrant anthocyanins can help relieve eye fatigue from using computer monitors. Full text available by searching on 'Black Currant VDT' in findarticles.com.
ESCOP was founded in June 1989 as an umbrella organisation representing national phytotherapy associations across Europe, especially in their discussions with European medicines regulators. Its aim is to advance the scientific status of phytomedicines and to assist with the harmonisation of their regulatory status at the European level