Also known as the “Holy Fruit of the Himalayas”, Sandthorn and “Wonder Berry”, the Sea Buckthorn plant has been cherished for centuries all over the world for its amazing nutritive value and health-giving qualities.
What Is Sea Buckthorn?
Sea Buckthorn is a hardy thorny shrub native to the cold mountainous regions of Russia, Mongolia, China and India, as well as Central Asia and Europe. It is about 1.5 to 3.5 m in height, and grows in clusters on mountains, swamps, river shores and gravel. Its fruit is a bright orange berry with a sour taste.
How Does It Work ?
Sea Buckthorn contains – hold your breath! – more than 190 active macro and micronutrients, including more than 60 antioxidants, in amazing balance: Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B9, C, D, E, F, K and P; Omega 3, 6, 7 & 9 Essential Fatty Acids; 42 lipids; 17 amino acids; organic acids; folic acid; carotenoids, phytosterols, flavonoids, phenols, terpenes and tannins; 5-HT (serotonin); and 20 mineral elements.
It is the richest source of Vitamin C among all fruits and vegetables. With such an impressive array of constituents, Sea Buckthorn is endowed with exceptional and wide-ranging nutritive and medicinal properties.
Sea Buckthorn Benefits
This “Super Fruit” has health benefits for nearly every organ and function of the body, as indicated by more than 200 scientific and clinical studies done in different parts of the world.
The large number of vitamins and minerals that it contains makes it useful for treating liver problems, since it helps in the detoxification and cleansing of the liver cells.
Sea Buckthorn oil is used to treat stomach and intestinal diseases such as ulcers, reflux esophagitis and heartburn symptoms.In some interesting studies done on animals, sea buckthorn was found to have prevented and cured ulcers of the digestive system caused by factors like radiation, noise, stress, acids, etc. In a subsequent clinical study, a sea buckthorn supplement given for a month to humans suffering from peptic ulcers had a nearly 77% success rate for cure.
Sea Buckthorn oil is also used for preventing and treating cardiovascular problems including high cholesterol, angina and diseases of blood vessels. Chinese research published in 2008 found that dried fruit extract reduced the level of cholesterol and triglycerides as well as heart rate and blood pressure in rats. Moreover, flavones present in the fruit regulate proteins so as to improve blood flow to the heart.
Sea Buckthorn oil is useful, as indicated by Chinese research, for treating skin conditions, infections and diseases, like burns due to the sun, heat, chemicals and x-rays, cuts, wounds, acne, dermatitis, dry skin, skin ulcers, bedsores, chilblain, measles rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and changes in skin colour after childbirth. All this is because sea buckthorn oil contains palmitoleic acid.This is also found in the human skin and promotes skin regrowth and health while providing protection from UV rays. Sea buckthorn oil lends health and shine to skin and hair, and also helps protect oral and vaginal mucus membranes. Flower extracts can be used as a skin softener.
The high carotene content in the fruit gives it cancer-preventive properties. Also, a study conducted by Indian scientists in 2009 found that its fruit extracts reduce damage to cells caused by chemicals and radiation used during chemotherapy; they also activate certain proteins in these cells that enable their protection from radiation.
Other Health Benefits
Being abundant in nutrients, sea buckthorn prevents deficiencies in the body, is an excellent energizer, boosts immunity and slows down aging. Being anti-inflammatory, it helps in recovering health and energy after illness; and it relieves the pain of sore joints. It can be used for treating obesity as its consumption reduces appetite.It contains a neurotransmitter – serotonin – which is associated with feeling good and relaxed; its oil is used for treating neuroendocrinological problems. When mixed with some medicinal herbs, it helps reduce high blood pressure and in treating gum disease.
Oil extracts are used to treat eye injuries and problems like conjunctivitis, keratitis and trachoma. Sea Buckthorn extracts have been found to be very useful for treating Parkinson’s disease and depression. The plant’s flowers and leaves are effective against gout and arthritis. Its oil is used to treat diarrhoea, rheumatism and asthma.
Sea Buckthorn Dosage
As food, sea buckthorn can be safely consumed in the form of juice, jam/preserve, jelly, puree, pie, candy and sauce. But as of now, the appropriate and safe doses of sea buckthorn extracts for medical purposes are not available due to insufficient research and study.
As such, ‘herbal’ sea buckthorn products may not be absolutely safe to consume, and it’s important to consult your physician in advance. Drugs.com recommends doses like 5 – 45 g of sea buckthorn oil per day or 330 mg of its fruit juice per day. Keep in mind that the right dose depends on factors like an individual’s age, health status, nutrition, physical activity, etc.
Sea Buckthorn Reviews
A new study published in 2011 in the Journal of Functional Foods has reiterated the beneficial effects of sea buckthorn on heart health. According to this study, consuming more than 28 grams per day of fruit or 5 grams per day of oil is very helpful against cardiovascular diseases in humans. This is because the plant is rich in bioactive components such as carotenoids, flavonoids, unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins that protect the heart by lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and preventing platelet aggregation.
A Chinese study published in 2012 in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found sea buckthorn leaf extracts reduce fatigue and increase exercise capacity – due to presence of a host of nutrients.
Sea Buckthorn Side Effects
Pregnant and lactating women are advised to avoid consuming sea buckthorn, as there is insufficient information about its effects on such women.Sea Buckthorn may slow the clotting of blood and cause more bleeding during surgery. Hence it is recommended to avoid consuming any sea buckthorn product for about 2 weeks prior to surgery.
Sea buckthorn oil has been found to reduce the cytogenetic action of Farmorubicin, an antibiotic, and Cyclophosphamide, used for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases. The juice reduced the genotoxic effects of Cisplatin, used for chemotherapy treatment, on bone marrow and sperms of mice.
However, anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications that slow blood clotting, such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, warfarin and others, may interact with sea buckthorn – which also slows clotting – to increase bleeding. Hence, avoid consuming sea buckthorn products while taking these drugs.