Black currant oil is derived from the Ribes Nigrum plant, better known as black currant. The black currant plant is a shrub of the Saxifragaceae family. All parts of the shrub are used, including the seeds, berries, leaves and bark for different medicinal purposes. However, the part used the most is the oil from the black currant seed to alleviate a variety of ailments. Listed below are some of the black currant oil’s health benefits when consumed.
Relieves Rheumatoid Arthritis
Black currant oil contains a type of omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that may help with the pain and stiffness associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). In recent studies, GLA has shown promise in the ability to suppress inflammation and joint tissue injury in active RA patients. In the study, patients were given 2.8 gm per day of GLA for six months to achieve the significant reduction of RA symptoms.
Although the GLA doses were well tolerated and shown effective, the doses given were much higher than what is regularly taken. Typical black currant oil dosages vary from 360 mg to 3,000 mg daily, depending on many factors including age and health. Use caution when taking higher GLA doses found in black currant oil and other GLA sources. A maximum safe level has yet to be established.
Relieves Women’s Reproductive Health Issues
Another benefit of taking black currant oil is a reduction in women’s reproductive issues. The GLA in black currant oil produces anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Anti-inflammatory prostaglandins lessen the effects of premenstrual cramps and breast tenderness. GLA is also shown to reduce and in some cases alleviate the symptoms of depression in menstruating women.
Women going through menopause may benefit from black currant oil. Some women have reported continually taking black currant oil reduced the incidence of hot flashes and night sweats due to menopause. More clinical studies are needed to validate the effectiveness of black currant oil for menopausal symptoms.
Helps with Skin Disorders
Chronic inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis benefit from black currant oil’s anti-inflammatory properties when taken orally due to the oil’s unique fatty acids content. Not only does black currant oil contain an omega-6 fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), but the oil also contains an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Both fatty acids combine to give skin disorder suffers relief from symptoms.
The GLA in black currant oil works by not only reducing inflammatory elements in the body, but the GLA protects against water loss of the skin. Water loss contributes to itching and other unfavorable symptoms. Like GLAs, ALAs also work to fight inflammation in the body, including the skin.
According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the GLA in black currant oil targets cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. By increasing the GLA dose, preliminary studies have confirmed GLA has inhibited the replicating process of certain cancer cells by measuring a particular protein marker in certain cancer cells.
GLA cancer fighting power is further increased by pairing the fatty acid with Herceptin a breast cancer drug. In the study GLA made the cancer cells 30 to 40 times more sensitive to the cancer fighting affects of Herceptin.