While the black currant plant can thrive in different types of soil it grows best in well-drained soils and in good sunlight. The rootstock is planted in a hole that is twice its diameter. It takes over a year to grow, requiring water in dry periods and fertilization in late winter. The black berries are around a centimeter in diameter and contain several seeds which contain a high content of antioxidants and vitamins. They are particularly rich in Vitamin C. The dark brown seeds are collected, crushed and cold pressed to extract the blackcurrant seed oil.
Traditionally black currant leaves have been used to flavor tea and preserves and the berries have been used in home wine making. In Europe there was a tradition of using the leaves in a tea to reduce fever, sore throats and irritable bowel. The berries with their rich source of Vitamin C were used for their anti-inflammatory properties and in the early 18th century, black currant seeds were used for skin care.
Today black currant seed oil is added to skin preparations and cosmetics and, in order to prevent oxidation, is often combined with vitamin E. Black Currant seed oil is noted for its anti-ageing, moisturizing and restructuring properties because of its omega-6 fatty acid, GLA content. This omega-6 fatty acid is beneficial for skin health, cardiovascular health, joint health, women’s health and weight management. Skin elasticity is vital and GLA is just as vital in maintaining the structure making Black Currant Seed oil and effective addition to formulations for dry, devitalized, damaged and aging skin. It is also very helpful in products for sensitive skin, eczema or psoriasis. It supports the reconstruction of damaged skin and other cell membranes. Some sources say it can be used at any percentage in your products, while Donna Maria suggests that it be used at 5 – 10% of the product base.