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blackcurrant - ribes nigrum - berry and leaf

Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum

Sometimes you come across plants that combine usefulness with tastiness. As far as I am concerned, blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, is one of those. I love berries in all shapes and sizes, even this one, whose taste not everyone can appreciate.
Many berries are in essence good for your health, but this particular berry plant has extra health promoting properties. Blackcurrant has a regulating effect on your adrenal glands and thus promotes processes that require cortisol to complete them properly. And there are quite a few of these. In fact, any condition in which an inflammatory pattern or stress response persists for too long is a candidate for blackcurrant treatment.

More medicinal properties of blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum

But this plant does more. It protects the blood vessels and urinary tract. It affects hormonal disorders and those affecting the skin. It will enable you to see better. And that is just me cherry-picking some medicinal properties. Blackcurrant can really, really achieve a lot. Part of its characteristics are a consequence of the fact that this plant contains both omega 6, or GLA, and omega 3, ALA, fatty acids in a favourable ratio.

Magical effects and more

When it comes to magical properties, little has been handed down from the past about the use of this plant. Apparently, blackcurrant berries were used to muster courage, especially by those going on a solitary journey or quest. In addition, it symbolises abundance which makes it useful in magical work to this purpose. And, of course, blackcurrant is edible, although, as said, not everyone likes its berries.

Botanical description Blackcurrant, Ribes nigrum, Cassis nigrum

Blackcurrant is a large – up to two metres – and wide-growing woody shrub. Its branches have no spines or thorns. The leaves are alternate and palmate with three to six lobes.

In April and May, the shrub blooms with small, radically symmetrical bell-shaped flowers that have five sepals and petals. They grow in racemes of four to ten flowers.

After flowering, these flowers form into the berries. The berries are green at first and transform from red to black during the ripening process. They are ripe in July or August and are eventually up to 1.5 cm in size.

Interesting facts

Although blackcurrants are grown on a fairly large scale, you hardly ever see them in the fruit and vegetable departments of supermarkets. The entire harvest usually goes to manufacturers who turn them into anything ranging from pharmaceuticals to liqueurs. Most people consider the berries to be too sour for consumption. Their taste changes after being frozen.

Blackcurrant is not native to northwestern Europe, but has been cultivated and used here for a long time.

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