Nutrient Fact File Sea Buckthorn
We have seen from historical records, the Chinese were the first to document use of Sea Buckthorn for its medicinal properties. More than a thousand years ago Sea Buckthorn was added to a classical Tibetan medical book. In 1977, after numerous studies, it was also added to the Chinese Pharmacologia. For a full history into the studies and findings of Sea Buckthorn see here . Also to see a full list of its nutritional constituents please see here.
Sea Buckthorn is a bush sized plant which yields bright yellow berries. The berry is considered one of the world’s most balanced fruits, providing powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds with a lot of essential fats. The benefits are easy to come by as the plant is not overly processed and grows without the need of too much interference from the farmer. The ‘magic’ of this food is in the mix of its nutrients. It is high in a great mix of healthy fats whilst also packed with necessary bioavailable (which means the body can use them immediately) nutrients needed in so many cases of chronic inflammation and conditions.
This cherished “super fruit” is rich in antioxidants, essential amino acids, vitamin E, rare Omega 7 and 190 other bioactive nutrients. Rich in beta-carotene, flavonoids and vitamins C, D, E and K, sea buckthorn also contains a substantial complex of B vitamins and 20 minerals. Moreover, it supplies between 4-100 times more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable. It is a real natural powerhouse.
It grows in very dry desert like soil and loves the direct sunlight all day. Sea-buckthorn berries are edible and nutritious, though astringent, oily and unpleasant to eat raw. However they can be frosted (freeze dried) which reduces the astringency and/or mixed as a drink with sweeter substances such as apple juice (I would love to see what it is like in water Kefir!).
The leaves, flowers, and fruits are also used as natural medicine. When the berries are pressed, the resulting sea-buckthorn juice separates into three layers: on top is a thick, orange cream; in the middle, a layer containing sea-buckthorn characteristic and uniquely high content of saturated and polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3,6,7 and 9); and the bottom layer is then the sediment and juice. The fat sources are then largely used for cosmetic purposes, but the upper two layers can also be processed for skin creams, whereas the bottom sediment layer is normally processed into edible products like syrup.
The oil may be consumed either internally or externally, but it is recommended to combine doing both. By taking sea buckthorn oil internally, you will provide your body with bioavailable nutrients. Using it externally can also protect and nurture existing skin cells. It is also amazing rubbed into your gums to eliminate any infection or swelling, or just as a way of preventing cavities and gum disease.
The nutrients make Sea Buckthorn very anti-aging often also found in many cosmetics as . Some people apply sea buckthorn berries, berry concentrate, and berry or seed oil directly to the skin. If used topically, the sea buckthorn oils and supplements are known for strengthening the epidermis (skin top layer) and can penetrate to the cell membranes. In this way it can be useful for preventing sunburn; for treating radiation damage from x-rays; for healing wounds including burns, and cuts; for acne,dermatitis, dry skin, eczema and other skin conditions including age spots.
The fruit also contains dense contents of carotenoids, the precursor to Vitamin A; This vitamin plays a very important role in healthy dental care. Our tooth enamel contains keratin, and vitamin A allows keratin to be used for teeth rather than prioritising it for storage in cells. Also, vitamin A is key in protecting mucus membranes (that cover our digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems). Plus carotenoids are hugely anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
The berries also include Vitamin D which is essential for healthy tooth tissue and bone strength and density. It is also key in collagen formation, which is responsible for strength and solidity of the organ cells (such as teeth and bones, for example) which helps to repair and strengthen all of the body’s systems and also contributes to brain health and development
The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content and is about 15 times greater than oranges. Vitamin C also greatly influences the synthesis of collagen, therefore aiding in strengthening teeth, bones, connective tissue, mucous membranes and muscle mass. It is also key in energy production, protecting the cells from oxidative damage and moderating the immune system. Adding to this, vitamin c may also help to prevent tooth decay by balancing bacteria levels.
Nutrient and phytochemical constituents of sea-buckthorn berries are undergoing basic research in inflammatory disorders, cancer mechanisms or positive effect on bone marrow after chemotherapy and other health claims, although no specific health benefits have yet been proven by clinical research in humans. However anecdotal evidence is rich in its benefits and uses. Personally, over the years, it has helped me in many ways. To support, regulate and moderate my menstrual cycle (has reduced period pain and pms), it has helped me to reduce my systemic inflammation (especially in the digestive system), has played a role in my change of body shape and helps me to moderate my mood and motivation.
Few other healthy fats have such a combination of benefits and nutrients. This powerhouse has such an amazing combination of treats for the body.
Main actions are;
- Cell membrane integrity and structure; which helps develop strong and healthy cells throughout the body.
- Gastrointestinal and liver health; by using the above point to repair and also protect the mucous membranes
- Dental and gum health as it is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant also the fats help to develop strong healthy tooth material.
- Moderating a healthy inﬂammation (immune system) response
- Muscle/energy production
- Brain health; also helps to protect messages from the brain to the rest of the body
Historically has been used in the following conditions with some effect;
And a review published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology states:
“Sea buckthorn has been scientifically analyzed and many of its traditional uses have been established using several biochemical and pharmacological studies. Various pharmacological activities such as cytoprotective (protects cells-ed), anti-stress, immunomodulatory (moderates the immune system-ed), radioprotective, anti-atherogenic (supports heart health-ed), anti-tumor, anti-microbial and tissue regeneration have been reported.”