Ribes rubrum

Ribes rubrum

The red currant (Ribes rubrum L.) is a shrub species of the family of the Grossulariaceae that produces berries counted among the berries.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, Kingdom Plantae, Phylum Magnoliophyta, Class Magnoliopsida, Order Rosales, Family Grossulariaceae and therefore to the Genus Ribes and to the Specie R. rubrum.

Etymology –
The term Ribes derives from the medieval Latin, ribes, coming from the Arab ribas, name of an acidulous plant mentioned by the Arab doctors that it is hypothesized to be the sorrel or a Rheum. The specific epithet derives from rúbeo rosseggiare, being red, for the color of its berries.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Ribes rubrum is present in temperate Europe, from France to Ukraine. In Italy it is present in the northern and central part while it is uncertain in the south. Its natural habitat is from the plain up to 2,000 m. s.l.m. wet forests and cool places, hedges, preferably on basic fertile soils; we often find it inselvatichito, deriving from crops.

Description –
The Ribes rubrum is a small, very branched, perennial, deciduous and broad-leaved shrub, which can reach 1-2 meters in height. The leaves are three-lobed and the flowers vary in color from yellow to green. Flowering is in the period from March to April and bears fruit in July-August. The fruits are small berries of red color, edible.

Cultivation –
The Red currant is a fairly cultivated plant thanks to the presence of numerous varieties all of foreign origin, but that adapt well to our conditions. Recall: Junnifer, Perfection, Cocagne, Red Lake, Stanza, Rondom, Rovada and Versailles. For the cultivation technique you can consult the specific sheet.

Uses and Traditions –
The red currant was formerly considered a lucky charm while the black one, in popular tradition, was used to ward off melancholy, bad thoughts and even to fight the plague.
Of the plants of Ribes rubrum also the young leaves and the buds are used besides the fruits; all containing, among other things, glucosides, oligosaccharides, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, essential oils, enzymes. Both the leaves and the buds are recognized for some properties such as: diuretic, antirheumatic, antigottose, hypotensive, antimycotic and astringent; on the other hand, fruits are recognized as anti-inflammatory, astringent, refreshing, diuretic and purifying properties.
The fruits of the red currant are rich in vitamin A, E and C and especially of folic acid or vitamin B9 substances useful for preventing anemia, to protect the skin from aging and essential for the proper functioning of our body. They also contain coumarin, an aromatic compound which, due to its anticoagulant action, is used in the pharmaceutical sector for the production of drugs that serve to thin the blood. In fact, experimental studies have shown that the daily intake of red currant prevents deep vein thrombosis, a serious and potentially fatal disease. From the ripe fruit can be obtained the juice that can be used as a natural external remedy to soothe the irritations of the skin, as a natural drink instead is beneficial as antibacterial, antipyretic, antioxidant and energizing.
The cosmetic industry derives from the seeds an oil for the treatment of natural dermatitis and for the preparation of soaps, creams and lotions. The perfumed leaves of the currant can be used instead for facial beauty masks and for compresses useful to soothe the burning caused by solar erythema. The consumption of currant juice is also recommended for stimulating sweating, for appetite for the treatment of gout and kidney stones.

Preparation Mode –
The red currant can be eaten fresh, or to prepare jams, jellies, juices, syrups, jams and mustards and is also widely used in confectionery.
The pulp of these fruits, mostly watery, has a sweet taste mixed with a slightly acidulous note. The fruits of the currant are very delicate and for this reason it is recommended to consume immediately after harvest when they are shiny, hard and still turgid, at most within 3-4 days if stored in the refrigerator.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, Advice and experience with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only and do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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