A purple berry could hold the key to natural asthma control – and it’s not the blueberry. Get the full story.
The dark purple berries from the blackcurrant shrub look like blueberries, but they have a flavorful, more astringent taste. Once popular in the United States, these berries fell out of favor in past decades, but have recently experienced renewed interest as a flavoring ingredient for candies, jellies, and tea. As it turns out this berry may do more than make food taste better. They could be a natural remedy for asthma.
Can Blackcurrant Stop an Asthma Attack?
In a recent study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, researchers looked at the effect of blackcurrant extract on lung tissue in the laboratory. Blackcurrant extract seemed to block the activity of certain chemicals that cause lung inflammation – which is a good thing when it comes to asthma. When the airways of a person with asthma become inflamed, they clamp down – leading to the shortness of breath, cough, and other unpleasant symptoms that asthma sufferers experience. Blackcurrant extract could stop an asthma attack by blocking lung inflammation.
Blackcurrant for Natural Asthma Control: How Does It Reduce Lung Inflammation?
Researchers believe it’s the proanthocyanidins in blackcurrants that pack a wallop against asthma. Proanthocyanins, found in some woodsy plants, are natural antioxidants that change the activity of proteins and natural chemicals the body uses to mount an inflammatory response. Reduced inflammation means less chest tightness and wheezing for asthmatics – as well as natural asthma control.
It Eating Blackcurrant Berries a Natural Remedy for Asthma?
This study used a blackcurrant extract which is a more concentrated source of blackcurrant proanthocyanins than one could get by eating a handful of blackcurrant berries or sipping on blackcurrant tea. Despite this – eating these berries is an old folk remedy for asthma and some people claim that eating a handful can stop an asthma attack.
Other Health Benefits of Blackcurrant
Certainly you could do worse than eating blackcurrant berries – whether or not they are a natural remedy for asthma. A cup of these intensely purple berries has almost three times a day’s requirement for vitamin C and is a good source of iron. They’re easy on the waistline with a full cup of berries containing only seventy calories.
The Bottom Line?
Researchers hope to do further testing in animals and humans to see if blackcurrant truly is a natural remedy for asthma. It’s too early for asthmatics to replace their inhalers with blackcurrant, but getting more of these nutritious, purple berries certainly won’t hurt.