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Black Currant and Borage Oil - Uses and Benefits

Black Currant Plant Description:

The Black Currant ( Ribes nigrum ) is a species of currant native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia. It is a small shrub growing to 1-2 m tall. The leaves are alternate, simple, 4-9 cm long and broad, and palmately lobed with five lobes, with a serrated margin. The flowers are 4-6 mm diameter, with five reddish-green to brownish petals; they are produced in racemes 5-10 cm long.

Black Currant Oil differs from other Essential Fatty Acid oils because it is one of the three known and readily available sources of the important Omega-6 Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Omega-3 Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). It typically contains 17 percent of GLA. Black Currant Oil supplements are ideal for people who want a simple way to fortify their diet with GLA and ALA.

Seed oils of black currant, borage, evening primrose, and flax provide many great fatty acids and oils. ALA can also be converted to a limited extent in the body into the omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) found in fish oil. A practical limitation to the use of GLA-containing plant oils is the large number of capsules needed for adequate dosing, and the long onset of action (several months) before clinical benefits are observed.

Uses and Benefits of Black Currant and Borage Oil

Borage, also known as Starflower, has long been grown in kitchen gardens, both for its uses as a herb and for the sake of its flowers, which yield excellent honey. Today, the plant is grown as a commercial crop and harvested for the seed, which is nature's richest source of the fatty acid GLA.

Most commonly in the form of evening primrose oil, GLA has become a standard treatment for cyclic mastalgia , breast pain that cycles with the menstrual period. For this purpose it is widely used by many professional physicians of both Europe and North America, and as a mark of its acceptance it is even mentioned in the AMA's official Drug Evaluations textbook

Some of the Common Uses of Black Currant and Borage Oil are:

  • Larger doses benefited patients with rheumatoid arthritis in limited trials; this herbal remedy may be helpful in some of these patients.
  • Black currant juice has been incorporated in a number of commercially marketed juice blends. 'Ribena' black currant juice concentrate (in England) and blends of black currant and cranberry juices are available in supermarkets.
  • The juice can be boiled to an extract with sugar, when it is called Rob , and is very well used for treating inflammatory sore throats. Excellent lozenges are also prepared from it.
  • The infusion of the leaves is cleansing and diuretic, while an infusion of the young roots is useful in eruptive fevers and the dysenteric fevers of cattle.
  • Preliminary results from studies of inflammatory skin disease such as atopic dermatitis were hopeful, but generally poor results were found in larger or better-quality trials.
  • The raw juice is diuretic and diaphoretic, and is an excellent beverage in febrile diseases.

Some other Diseases in which black currant and borage oil may be helpful are:

  • Cyclic Mastalgia.
  • Kidney Stones.
  • PMS.
  • Raynaud's Phenomenon.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Ulcerative Colitis.
  • Weight Loss.

Dosage

For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis , the amounts of GLA from borage used in successful double-blind trials were 1.4-2.8 grams daily for at least two months. 16 17 Although 360 mg of GLA daily from borage oil has been used to treat people with eczema , controlled research has not supported its use for this condition. 18 Topically, 0.5 ml of borage oil may be applied to areas of seborrhea daily for two weeks, and then three times a week until the condition is stable.

Adverse Side Effects

GLA-containing plant oils are well tolerated in clinical trials lasting up to 1 year. A few cases of diarrhea or soft stools, belching, and abdominal bloating have been reported, in persons taking black currant and borage oil.

Interactions

There are no recognized drug interactions by taking black currant and borage oil.

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