The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Black Currant

Scientific Names

Black Currants

  • Ribes nigrum L.
  • Saxifragaceae
  • Saxifrage family

Common Names

  • Bugberry
  • Garden black currant
  • Goutberry
  • Quinsy berry
  • Stallberry
  • Stinkshrub

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves, fruit
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Black currant is a small deciduous shrub, growing to a height of 6-7 feet; the leaves are alternate, palmately 3-5-lobed, doubly serrate, and more or less cordate.  The large, strongly scented leaves are broader than long. Drooping racemes (in the leaf axils) of greenish-white or greenish-yellow, bell-shaped  flowers appear in April and May.  The fruit is a berry that is dark brown at first, turning black, juicy and round when ripe.
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Where Found

Found in moist soils and shallow marshes.  It is also cultivated in North America.  Native of Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Diaphoretic, diuretic, nutritive, demulcent
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Biochemical Information

Gamma-linolenic acid, vitamin C, tannin, traces of essential oil, enzyme emulsion.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

The vitamin C content of ripe black currant berries, 120 milligrams per 3.52 oz. (100g), is said to far exceed that of citrus fruit.

Shoshone name: Owa pawump. 

Washoe name: Non hal wa.
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The leaf tea stimulates the kidneys and is good for gouty and rheumatic problems, as well as for arteriosclerosis.  Drunk cold, it is also useful for hoarsness and other throat ailments.  Both the leaf tea and the expressed juice of the berries can be used for whooping cough in children.  The berries or their juice is also beneficial in colic pains, diarrhea, anemia.  Use an infusion of the dried berries as a gargle for inflammation in the mouth and as a mouthwash for bleeding gums.

Used to flavor liqueurs and cordials.
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Formulas or Dosages

Collect the leaves after flowering, the berries when ripe.  Do not use leaves that have fungus on the lower side.  Use only the leaf blades, not the petioles.  Black currant is often infested with crown rust fungus.

Infusion: use 1 tsp. dried leaves to 1/2 cup water.  Parboil and steep for 5 minutes.  Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time.  For whooping cough only, sweeten with honey.

Infusion to make gargle or mouthwash: use 1 to 2 tsp. dried berries to 1 cup boiling water.

Berry juice: take 1 tbsp. several times a day, or as needed.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamin C and B complex

Currants nutrients

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Resource Links What Are the Benefits of Pomegranate & Black Currant Juice? Fruits and vegetables protect against the genotoxicity of heterocyclic aromatic amines activated by human xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes expressed in immortal mammalian cells. Efficacy of blackcurrant oil soft capsule, a Chinese herbal drug, in hyperlipidemia treatment. Characterization of Canadian black currant (Ribes nigrum L.) seed oils and residues.

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Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

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