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Far from the Sea

Sea buckthorn provides berry healthy benefits

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Far from the Sea

Sea buckthorn is an excellent source of omega fatty acids 3, 6, 7, and 9 which can support cell regeneration. It is commonly used alone or in various topical preparations for burns, scalds, ulcerations, and infections. Sea buckthorn oil is also an ingredient in sunblock as hippophae oil has UV-blocking action as well as emollient properties.

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is a hardy deciduous shrub that produces yellow- to orange-coloured berries which have long been sought for their amazing health benefits.

This drought-resistant thorny shrub’s natural habitat extends throughout China, Mongolia, Russia, and most parts of Northern Europe. Although relatively new to North America, the sea buckthorn industry has been thriving in Russia since the 1940s, when scientists there began investigating the biologically active substances found in the berries, leaves, and bark of the plant.

Here in Canada orchard-type cultivation has been recommended for BC and the prairie provinces due to optimal soil and weather conditions and because, according to Purdue University’s New Crop Resource, “sea buckthorn can be used for many purposes and has momentous economic potential.”

Sea buckthorn has been reported to contain more than 190 compounds that are available in the seeds, pulp, fruit, and juice. The compounds include fat-soluble vitamins (A, K, E), 22 fatty acids, 42 lipids, organic acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins C, B1, B12, folic acid, tocopherols, flavonoids, and phenols.

Cosmetic applications for sea buckthorn are well known in Russia and China. Recipes for moisturizing lotions, dandruff control, and hair loss prevention are widely used in Russia. The Latin name, hippophae, means shiny horse and refers to the good coat developed by horses feeding off the plant.

Sea buckthorn is an excellent source of omega fatty acids 3, 6, 7, and 9 which can support cell regeneration. It is commonly used alone or in various topical preparations for burns, scalds, ulcerations, and infections. Sea buckthorn oil is also an ingredient in sunblock as hippophae oil has UV-blocking action as well as emollient properties.

Sea Buckthorn’s Promise

Preliminary laboratory studies on the antitumour functions of sea-buckthorn oils conducted in China have been positive. Sea-buckthorn oil, juice, or the extracts from oil, juice, leaves, and bark have been studied in the treatment of high blood lipid symptoms, eye diseases, gingivitis, and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

Although most sea buckthorn research has been conducted in Asia and Europe, Canada has recently become more involved in studying its health benefits and cultivation. With the increased interest in North America, and the development of domestic crops, the future for this small but potentially important berry is bright.

Constituents of Sea Buckthorn Fruit (per 100 grams fresh berries):

  • vitamin C 600 mg
  • vitamin E 180 mg (equal to about 270 IU)
  • folic acid Up to 80 mcg
  • carotenoids 30-40 mg
  • fatty acids 6 - 11%
  • flavonoids 100-1,000 mg

Source: Institute of Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon.

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