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Benefits of Blackcurrant Seed Oil(2008/11/17 10:09:55)

Black currant seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, which promote and maintain the body's vital functions. Essential fatty acids provide energy, regulate body temperature and metabolism, protect tissues, and insulate nerves. Approximately 17% of black currant seed oil consists of an omega-6 fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Another 13% consists of an omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. These essential fatty acids are broken down by the body into prostaglandins, the body's regulating substances that block pain and govern many other physical functions, especially in proper functioning of the circulatory system.

Because black currant seed oil is so high in gamma-linolenic acid, which makes prostaglandins, it is a highly effective anti-inflammatory herb. The oil is best used for chronic inflammatory conditions, cramps, and aches. It also boosts the immune system, and helps women with their menstrual cycles and menopause, while also easing discomforts associated with premenstrual syndrome. Black currant seed oil is also used to treat skin disorders.

Rheumatoid arthritis

As an anti-inflammatory agent, black currant seed oil works well in rheumatoid arthritis patients by decreasing morning stiffness in their joints. The British Journal of Rheumatology has noted that black currant seed oil may be so effective in rheumatoid arthritis patients because of a "reduction in the secretion of the inflammatory cytokines 11-1 and TNF-alpha." Cytokines are a source of inflammation. By preventing their production, black currant seed oil offers some relief.

Cardiovascular disorders

Black currant seed oil is beneficial to patients with cardiovascular problems, as prostaglandins counteract the constriction of blood vessels. Two Canadian studies have also showed that omega-6 fatty acids lower blood pressure.

Women's health problems

Because prostaglandins regulate the menstrual cycle, black currant seed oil is helpful for women before and during menstruation. Gamma-linolenic acid produces anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, as opposed to inflammatory prostaglandins, thus lessening the severity of premenstrual cramps. Gamma-linolenic acid has also been shown to alleviate the symptoms of depression and breast tenderness associated with PMS. Menopausal women have also found black currant seed oil to be helpful.

Skin disorders

The anti-inflammatory properties of black currant seed oil are also effective against skin irritations when taken orally. A study at the Skin Study Center in Philadelphia showed that black currant seed oil also helps with dry skin disorders, as the gamma-linolenic acid protects against the water loss that contributes to itching and other symptoms associated with dry skin.

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