Sea buckthorn is an amazing herb with powerful abilities to remedy common conditions. Some ancient and modern uses include skin health, weight management, brain health and digestive health, among others.
Despite the name, it doesn’t come from the sea. Quite the opposite, actually. Sea buckthorn originates from the lofty heights of the Himalayas, where the challenges of the extreme natural conditions have encouraged the shrub that carries these small berries to develop a number of adaptations and defenses. This has resulted in an incredible superfood with a wide range of health benefits.
Other names for the plant include Siberian pineapple, sea berry, sandthorn, or swallow thorn. It has been widely used both medicinally and nutritionally by traditional Asian peoples. Since the stiff, dense, thorny shrub thrives in cold and mountainous areas with sandy soil, it is now primarily grown in cold areas of China, Russia and Canada.
The plant is valuable as an agricultural resource for economic growth, and is also used to prevent erosion and fix nitrogen in soil. Birds and other animals use the leaves and branches as food and shelter. Sea buckthorn is therefore a valuable plant not only for human consumption but also for the natural environment.
Vitamins and minerals
The simplest way to benefit from sea buckthorn is to eat the fresh berries. They are sweet and tart, with a taste reminiscent of pineapple.
Besides an enjoyable taste, the berries offer an amazing array of nutrients. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, beta carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, omega 3, 6, 7 and 9, plant sterols, beneficial organic acids (similar to cranberries) and flavonoids (similar to gingko biloba).
The leaves of the shrub are also used to make a tea containing medicinal compounds called triterpenes.
Helps weight loss
Experts tout the ability of sea buckthorn oil to prevent the storage of excess fat and to help in maintaining a healthy weight.
Sea buckthorn is so useful for curbing unhealthy inflammation that it is recommended to those with cardiovascular disease. The anti-inflammatory effect works via antioxidant compounds, which rid the body of free radicals, and also the variety of healthy fats, which heal cells and tissues.
The fatty acids, fiber and vitamin C in sea buckthorn help to lubricate the bowel. If this area is too dry, constipation follows. Therefore sea buckthorn can support more regular elimination.
Sea buckthorn is widely celebrated for its anti-aging abilities, thanks in large part to the vitamin C content. This multi-purpose vitamin not only acts as an antioxidant but also facilitates the building of collagen, which is key for keeping skin fresh, supple and young-looking.
Calms skin conditions
Skin issues such as rosacea and eczema can benefit from sea buckthorn through both dietary and topical use. Healthy fats help to reduce redness and inflammation, and vitamin E fosters healing.
The B vitamins and healthy fats contained in sea buckthorn are excellent for maintaining brain health, and may assist in preventing or healing conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Soothes digestive tract
Those with stomach ulcers, irritable bowel or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may wish to experiment with sea buckthorn since it exhibits the ability to soothe the mucosal lining of the gut.
Relieves dry eyes
Sea buckthorn can be used to relieve dryness and redness in the eyes and other mucous membranes. Supplementing with sea buckthorn oil is the best option for supporting eye health naturally.
Protects the liver
The potent antioxidants in sea buckthorn berries help detox the liver and normalize the levels of bile and enzymes in this organ system.
The “Holy fruit of the Himalayas” has been studied as an aid to those undergoing conventional cancer therapy. Animal research has found that sea buckthorn helps protect cells from chemotherapy and radiation damage, and also speeds up recovery.
The natural substances in the berries should also help prevent the development of cancer in the first place — a few studies have pointed to immune-boosting and antitumor effects.
How to buy good sea buckthorn products
Besides consuming fresh berries (which are only available in certain areas), there are two methods of extraction which make a high-quality sea buckthorn oil. The first is cold-pressing, which is a traditional physical method to extract oil. The second is carbon dioxide extraction, which does not add toxins to the oil and preserves the beneficial compounds.
Sea buckthorn is also sometimes macerated with carrier oils, such as coconut oil. Be sure to read the label to check the potency of the product you are purchasing.
Both a berry oil and a seed oil are commercially available — the berry oil is generally regarded as more beneficial for topical (skin) application, while the seed oil is considered best for internal consumption.
Try adding this amazing superfruit to your nutritional regimen to help with many chronic and acute conditions. See more about natural skin care solutions.
—The Alternative Daily