The black currant bush has many uses, one of which is tea. Drinking black currant tea has been proven to provide numerous benefits. Black currant and other herbal tea or tisanes contain antioxidants and nutrients which are great for one’s health. Aside from that, drinking tea gives a calming and soothing effect.
In this article, discover the advantages, risks, and effects of drinking black currant tea. You’ll also learn how to make a cup of this soothing herbal drink! So, continue reading to learn more about this amazing beverage.
What is Black Currant?
Black currant or blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) is a shrub that’s native to parts of Northern Europe and Northern Asia. It is now domestically and commercially cultivated in countries like Scotland, Poland, Norway, and New Zealand. Farmers find it easy to plant these hardy shrubs in areas with damp soil.
You may have heard of this bushy plant as it was once banned in the United States. Black currants were once suspected to spread a fungus that infected pine trees. However, it has since been warmly welcomed back in the U.S. after being banned for nearly half a century.
What Does Black Currant Look and Taste Like?
The black currant bush has fruits that look like blueberries (albeit a darker color), along with large sycamore-like leaves. It has a fresh, earthy taste with a hint of tartness, similar to that of passion fruit. There’s also a distinctive sweetness that tastes similar to grapes mixed with raspberry, as well as a raisin-like texture.
When made into a tisane, black currant tea has an earthy taste with hints of berry-like sweetness. Adding honey to your drink brings a fuller, more natural sweetness that enhances this beverage’s taste.
Black Currant’s Many Uses
This herbal plant’s leaves are valued as a medicinal herb. Its berries, on the other hand, are commonly used to flavor liqueur, like Crème de cassis. Both its leaves and berries are also used to make oils, delicious jams, and tea.
Does Black Currant Tea Have Caffeine?
Good news for caffeine-sensitive tea enthusiasts out there: black currant tea is caffeine-free and safe to drink at any chosen time. Also, note that blackcurrant tea is different from flavored black tea, which has high caffeine content. So make sure that you don’t mistake one for the other.
10 Proven Black Currant Tea Benefits
What is black currant tea good for? This herbal tea drink offers great health benefits for its consumers, with women receiving some additional perks as well. Learn all about the advantages of drinking black currant tea.
Rich in Vitamins and Antioxidants
Black currant has 4 times the amounts of Vitamin C found in oranges. Vitamin C is one of the most essential nutrients; it can help repair body tissues and boost the immune system. Other than this, black currant is also rich in Vitamin A, B, and E. These help with cell repair, brain function, and provides tons of antioxidants.
Boosts Immune System
Aside from high Vitamin C content, the black currant plant also contains a fatty acid called GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). Both vitamin C and GLA help boost the body’s immune system.
Drinking black currant tea can also help reduce bodily inflammation, examples of which include exercise-induced soreness. The antioxidant called anthocyanin found in this herbal tea also helps repair muscle damage and lessen inflammation. It may help ease the soreness and discomfort that comes with aging, as well as menopause symptoms and arthritis.
The instability in women’s hormones is the worst during the menopause period. Good thing that black currant’s antioxidants can help regulate the levels of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone in one’s body. Drinking this powerful herbal tea can also make pesky PMS symptoms go away.
Helps Improve Memory
Black currant’s rich supply of antioxidants also serves as a shield that helps protect the brain. Also, iron properties found in the plant can increase the brain’s oxygen supply, improving its ability to function as well. After all, a brain that gets enough nutrients and oxygen usually performs better.
Helps You Get Better Sleep
Drinking tea can give its consumers feelings of serenity and calmness. This tea especially helps increase your body’s blood flow and oxygen supply. As stated earlier, its anti-inflammatory effects also help ease muscle fatigue. This results in your body having a lighter and more relaxed sensation, making it easier for you to fall asleep. Also, black currant tea does not contain caffeine, a stimulant found in coffee as well as Chinese tea and its different types.
Helps Prevent Urinary Tract Infection
Substances found in this herbal drink can help stop the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. When left untreated, these bacteria can cause urinary tract infections. Consuming black currant tea can help clean and stop the further spreading of this infection-causing bacteria.
Good For The Heart
LDL or bad cholesterol can cause fatty cholesterol to build up in your arteries. Good thing that black currants have high amounts of plant compounds called flavonoids, which help increase the HDL or good kind of cholesterol. This good cholesterol absorbs the fatty cholesterol and brings it back to the liver. This improves blood flow and minimizes the risk of hypertension, heart attack, and even stroke.
Black currant tea produces collagen, which helps keep skin smooth and prevents wrinkles from forming. Stuffed with high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants, black currant also helps with repairing damaged skin cells.
Good for the Eyes
Black currant is rich in Vitamin C and fatty acids like GLA, which are both beneficial for the eyes. These fatty acids can boost blood flow to the organ and help relieve eye fatigue. It can even increase our ability to see in the dark. In particular, glaucoma patients will benefit from black currant tea as it slows the progression of sight deterioration.
How To Make Black Currant Tea
Making black currant tea is a lot similar to making tisanes and Chinese tea. This herbal drink is traditionally made by steeping black currant leaves and/or dried berries in hot water using a teapot.
Using Fresh Leaves And Dried Berries
Using the direct seeping method is the most common way of making a warm cup of black currant tea or even black currant iced tea.
For this, you will be needing at least a medium-sized teapot and a tea infuser or strainer. You can check out our soothing Blackcurrant Tea Recipe to learn more about how you can prepare this nutritious beverage.
How to Make Your Own Dried Black Currant Berries
Want to use your own dried berries? Using an automatic dehydrator will work wonders for this task. It’s also a lot easier; however, you don’t always get to see these machines in regular households. But worry not! You can still dry your black currant without an automatic dehydrator.
You can use your everyday oven to dry black currant berries.
- Prepare a baking sheet and a cotton tea towel.
- Set the oven at approximately 140 degrees F.
- Place your berries on a baking sheet lined with a cotton tea towel and heat it inside the oven until fully dehydrated.
Dried black currant tastes better and can store antioxidants longer.
In case you don’t have an oven, you can naturally sun-dry your black currant. You can put it in a tray with something to catch all the moisture, like paper. Put a screen on top to keep insects away.
Occasionally roll the black currant every two hours to make sure that all sides are evenly dried. Also, after drying it outside, tend to it and heat it at least 120 degrees F to kill any insect eggs that might have been planted on the berries while outside.
Using Tea Bags
Black currant teabags contain small pieces of the plant’s leaves called dust and fannings. These useful teabags make steeping much easier. Just drop it in a cup of hot water and let it infuse and spread its flavor. They are also easy to find in the market.
Using Loose Tea Leaves
Some tea drinkers may prefer using loose tea leaves rather than tea bags to make their drinks. To brew black currant tea with loose leaf:
- Using a tea kettle, boil your desired amount of water.
- Then, put your loose tea leaves in your tea infuser.
- Place your infuser inside your teapot or directly to the mug or cup you will be using. It is where they can have room to expand, absorbing water as they infuse.
Steeping loose tea leaves helps you squeeze more of the black currant’s vitamins and minerals. It has bigger-sized dried leaves than those in tea bags. It is usually stored and sold on caddies or canisters.
What To Pair With Black Currant Tea
When serving black currant tea, it’s best to go for sweet dishes like bars of decadent Nama chocolate made with quality dark chocolate and liqueur. The earthiness of the blackcurrant drink goes well with the luscious taste of chocolate and hints of alcohol. This can also explain why its berries are used to flavor Crème de cassis.
Pairing this herbal drink with citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemon, and oranges are also a great idea. Slicing and serving these citruses along with your drink will surely do the trick. However, you can squeeze their fruit juices into your tea just as well. These will act as natural sweeteners and will give additional hints of citrusy flavor.
Risks and Effects Of Black Currant Tea
Low Blood Pressure
People with low blood pressure are advised to take black currant tea with caution, as it might lower their blood pressure even further.
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Pregnant and Breastfeeding
Currently, there’s not yet information on black currant’s full effects on pregnant women. But for breastfeeding women, one study showed that mothers who breastfed and had black currant supplements and seed oil had children with less risk of developing eczema, a skin problem. Still, it’s better to consult with your doctor first and avoid consuming this drink until it’s confirmed safe by your physician.
Before And After Surgery
It’s advised to stop taking black currants for at least 2 weeks before and even after surgery. It might slow blood clotting and may put the consumer at risk of extra bleeding during the surgery.
This powerful herbal tea isn’t only packed with health benefits. It’s also incredibly soothing, so much so that it just might become your next favorite tea drink. Learning the benefits you get from the beverages you consume surely makes a lot of difference.