Black currant oil is an extract from the seeds of black currants. Black currant, also known as Ribes nigrum, is a permanent shrub that mostly grows in Asia, and in certain regions of Europe. The black currant juice, made from the berries, is also known of its health benefits. Black currant oil, extracted from seeds is even more potent because it contains plethora of nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Health benefits of black currant oil
Black currant oil is well balanced in all four essential fatty acids. It has significant amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. In addition, this oil contains both gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid. Humans must take the sufficient amounts of essential fatty acids trough the well balanced diet, because the body requires them but cannot make them from other food components.
Gamma-linolenic acid, found in black currant oil is recommended for autoimmune disorders, arthritis, eczema, and pre-menstrual syndrome.
The only other known sources of Gamma-linolenic acid, used before the black currant oil, were mother’s milk and evening primrose oil. This essential Omega-6 fat is extremely difficult to obtain through diet.
There is some evidence about protective effects of gamma-linolenic acid against cancer. It is reported that black currant oil can slow down the proliferation of breast and colon cancers.
Blackcurrant Seed Oil is used as a nutritional supplement as well as an ingredient in skincare products. Gamma-linolenic acid makes it an effective anti-inflammatory agent suitable for use as skincare oil, and in the treatment of dehydrated, damaged and sensitive skin, weak nails, splitting and thinning hair.
Gamma-linolenic acid is often used as an alternative to drug therapy of rheumatoid arthritis. It may help to reduce pain, hardness and tenderness of joints. Gama-linolenic acid is rich with anti-inflammatory agents and it may be used safely in treatment of lupus. Black currant oil is also helpful in treatment of cyclic mastalgia, kidney stones, Reynaud’s phenomenon, and ulcerative colitis and it is helpful in weight loss.
Side effects of black currant oil
There are no serious side-effects associated with the use of black currant oil. However, there is a possibility of mild symptoms of allergic reactions. Black currant oil should be avoided by patients who are already taking blood thinning drugs. It may react with some other drugs as well, especially those used in treatment of schizophrenia and epilepsy.
Sufferers from prostate cancer should also restrain from the use of black currant oil since there are some evidence that Omega-6 fatty acids may provoke the unexplained enlargement of prostate cancers.