Sea Buckthorn Benefits

Sea Buckthorn
Latin Name

Hippophae rhamnoides

Also Known As

Seaberry, Sandthorn, Sallowthorn, Siberian Pineapple

Origin

Asia

Parts Used

Berries and Leaves

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Used for centuries by the Tibetans and Chinese, the ancient Sea Buckthorn berry is rising in prominence as a modern superfood. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote digestion and boost the immune system, this superfruit was also used as an expectorant and demulcent in the treatment of colds and flu.

The Ancient Greeks recognised its anti-aging and beautifying properties, and even used it to keep the coats of their racehorses shiny.

Sea Buckthorn Benefits

Digestive System

A healthy functioning digestive system is one of the cornerstones of overall good health. However this delicate system is easily upset in our modern age, leading to many kinds of disorders. The root of many of these ailments can invariably be traced back to inadequate health of the cell membrane in the intestines. One of the jobs of the cell membranes in the intestines is to separate the healthy nutrients needed by the body from toxins and unusable food waste. In cases of cell membrane malfunction, it is the toxins that get into the bloodstream which cause digestive issues.

The oil of the Sea Buckthorn berry is extremely rich in Omega fats – in particular the little known Omega 7 (palmitoleic acid). Omega 7 plays a significant role in maintaining the structure and integrity of the gastro-intestinal tract.  It helps to rehydrate dry mucosa to aid with bowel movements and is known for lubricating dry intestinal tracts by supporting mucous production. This can help those suffering from constipation or people having difficult bowel movements.

Another digestive issue that can be eased by Sea Buckthorn is that of gastric ulcers. One study showed that the oil of the Sea Buckthorn berry relieved pain and accelerated the repair process of gastric and duodenal epithelial tissue and mucosa. According to this study, Sea Buckthorn’s complex Omega content as well as its carotenoid, plant sterol and tocopherol components all help to support the human digestive system.

Skin Health

Sea Buckthorn is an amazing skin healer and when applied topically it is effective for burns, wounds, cuts and many other types of skin damage. Sea Buckthorn seed oil is comprised of 90% unsaturated fatty acids, including Omega's 3, 6, 7, and 9. According to one study, the fatty acids from this oil may support the skin’s protective barrier function and promote moisture retention.

Antioxidant flavonoids found in Sea Buckthorn, such as quercetin and salycins, are powerfully anti-inflammatory. Topically applying antioxidants like these can protect against free radical damage, and the varying carotenoids found in Sea Buckthorn oil, such as beta-carotene, encourage collagen production without causing inflammation.

Also an excellent remedy for sunburn, a preliminary study in Turkey found that applying Sea Buckthorn oil to sunburned skin reduced redness prevented flaking and shaved 3 days off the normal recovery time.

Weight Loss

Omega 7 fatty acids from Sea Buckthorn actually signal to the body not to use excess calories for the creation and accumulation of fat cells. Clinical studies have shown that it is also effective in the dissolution of existing fat deposits as it helps the formation of enzymes that burn fat.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the intake of Omega 7 fatty acids can also reduce the appetite. It increases levels of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which gives a sensation of fullness.

Other research shows that Omega 7 can help to boost slow metabolism by mimicking the hormone that regulates systemic metabolic activity.

Typical Use

Sea Buckthorn berries can be consumed fresh. 

Sea Buckthorn berry oil is generally considered as the most beneficial for topical use.

The seed oil is considered the best for internal consumption.

Folklore and History

Sea Buckthorn was revered by the Ancient Greeks - so much so that they believed it to be the main food source of the mythical winged horse, Pegasus, allowing him to fly. It's maybe not so surprising they attributed mythical benefits to these superberries, as the genus name "hippophae" literally means "shiny horse", such was its importance to horse breeders and their prize racehorses. 

The Sea Buckthorn berry is so rich in vitamins and minerals that many speculate that it must have been cultivated by an ancient plant breeder to be the ultimate tonic and superfood. 

It is featured in the classical medical texts and herbals of Dioscorides and Theophrastus, and even figures prominently in Tibetan Medicine.  Its traditional medicinal use centres on disorders of the skin and digestive tract.  

Also extremely popular in Russia, it was found to treat frostbite (among its many other benefits), which was a very serious problem given the country's freezing climate. It is thought that Russian immigrants were the first people to bring this superberry to the USA where Sea Buckthorn rarely grows naturally.

Sea Buckthorn
Constituents

Sea Buckthorn seed and pulp oil are rich source of the fatty acids: linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid, monounsaturated fatty acid: palmitoleic acid (Omega 7), saturated fatty acid, palmitic acid. Phytonutrients include; carotenoids and phytosterols. Vitamins E, K and 28 trace elements including; iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium and iodine.

Precautions

Sea Buckthorn is considered safe. However, it is best to exercise caution if pregnant or breastfeeding. Please consult your healthcare professional if you are taking any prescibed medication.

Sea Buckthorn has been noted to increase bleeding and bruising in those with bleeding disorders. Due to its potential blood thinning properties it is recommended that you do not consume it two weeks prior surgery. 

Sea Buckthorn is known to lower blood pressure, therefore it may cause blood pressure to dip too low for anyone who already has low blood pressure.

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