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Blackcurrant Oil Side Effects

Marlene Alphonse
A number of essential oils, extracted from seeds or roots of certain plants have a number of beneficial uses in terms of the physical and physiological aspect of an individual. One such oil is the blackcurrant oil, which is extracted from the seeds of Ribes nigrum or the blackcurrant plant. Blackcurrants are round, blackish-purple colored berries that grow on thornless shrubs.
Eating blackcurrants or including their extract is known to have a number of beneficial effects on the overall health of a person. Being a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is a type of omega-6 essential fatty acid, it is recommended by doctors since it relieves a number of ailments. However, there are also a few side effects, owing to excess usage of this oil.

Negative Effects

Taking blackcurrant oil above the recommended dosage can have some negative effects on the body. Though mild in nature, these side effects should not be overlooked as something minor. Any change observed in the body must be reported to a health care provider.
Here are some of the negative effects, caused due to an indiscriminate use of this curative oil.
  • The most common side effect of this oil that can be seen in most individuals is the appearance of skin rashes due to allergy. This allergic reaction to this oil can also give rise to hives, swollen lips, face, itching etc. Conditions like difficulty in breathing, chest pain, a feeling of tightness in the chest region and scratchy throat may also be noticed.
  • A direct contact of blackcurrant oil with the skin can give rise to possible irritation and burning sensation (as seen in individuals with sensitive skin). In order to avoid this, diluting a few drops of this oil with either olive oil, sunflower seed oil or sweet almond oil, will make this essential oil usable.
  • Long-term usage of this therapeutic oil tends to increase peripheral blood circulation. This intermittent rise in blood flow can trigger venous disorders and cause damage to the blood vessels, which can sometimes be irreversible.
  • Since this medicinal oil has high concentration of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), an overuse can have some unpleasant effects on the gastrointestinal system. The affected individuals may experience an upset stomach, accompanied by abdominal cramping, diarrhea or loose stools and nausea induced vomiting.
  • Taking high doses of blackcurrant seed oil (above the recommended 3,000 mg) can lead to the inflammation of muscles, which is caused due to the excess secretion of arachidonic acid in the body. It also inhibits the formation of blood clots at the site injury and exacerbate the risk of abnormal bleeding.
Hence, individuals who are on prescription anticoagulants and have complaint of blood disorders are advised to stay away from blackcurrant oil, lest it results in medical emergency.
  • A few cases of epilepsy have also been reported, which has resulted from the indiscriminate use of this essential oil. The omega-6 essential fatty acid can increase the chance of seizures, making individual  susceptible to this disorder. Those who about to undergo surgery, are advised to stop using oil or its extract at least three weeks prior to surgery.
  • Certain health care professionals dissuade men, especially who are above 50 years of age, from taking any extract of blackcurrants. This is because the omega-6 fatty acids can trigger the unhealthy growth of prostate cells, putting them at a higher risk of contracting prostate cancer.
  • Pregnant women are also recommended to stay away from this oil. This can cause harm to the fetus and result in miscarriage or preterm labor, both of which are dangerous to the mother as well as the child.
After an overview on the side effects of blackcurrant essential oil, it is also necessary to know some of the positive effects it has on the human body system.
  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases
  • Cuts down cholesterol and high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Keeps away rheumatoid arthritis and other joint disorders
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Assists in healthy weight loss
  • Alleviates symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause
  • Reduces the signs of aging
  • Curbs the unhealthy growth and development of cells
Judicious use of any oil is recommended in order to avoid unnecessary health complications. Getting in touch with a health care provider or herbalist is always advisable in case of experiencing side effects.