Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn, (Hippophae), also known as Seaberry, is a thorny shrub that grows near rivers and in sandy soil along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and throughout Asia, where it has been used for centuries in traditional medical applications. The leaves, flowers, fruits, and oils from the seeds are all used for remedies.

The Sea Buckthorn Plant

There are seven varieties of the Sea Buckthorn, the most common of which are; the Hippophae rhamnoides (common sea buckthorn), and the Hippophae salicifolia (willow-leaved sea buckthorn). The others not so common species are; Hippophae goniocarpa, Hippophae gyantsensis, Hippophae litangensis, Hippophae neurocarpa and Hippophae tibetana.

Most of the world’s sea buckthorn plantations are located in China. There, the shrub is used for soil and water conservation in addition to its healing properties. The fruit of the Sea Buckthorn is difficult to harvest, due to the thorny nature of the shrubs themselves. The harvested fruit is quite acidic and its juices are often combined with those of sweeter fruits, such as grape or pear, to make it more palatable.

Active Ingredients in Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn berries, leaves, and seeds are highly nutritious and packed with vitamins, minerals and various bioactive compounds and nutrients, including; vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B complex (including B1, B2, B6, and B9, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, antioxidants, amino acids, fatty acids and flavonoids.

All of these ingredients play essential roles in supporting overall health and well-being, contributing to the medicinal properties of Sea Buckthorn.

Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn is becoming increasingly popular for its impressive range of healing properties. In natural medicine, there are many uses and indications for the Sea Buckthorn, which we will explore below:

Sea Buckthorn is a Powerful Antioxidant

Sea buckthorn berries are loaded with antioxidants, including flavonoids, phenolic compounds, carotenoids (such as beta-carotene and lycopene), and vitamin C. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which is implicated in various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

Sea Buckthorn for Cardiovascular Health

Sea Buckthorn tea is typically used for lowering blood pressure, angina, serum cholesterol and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), as well as the prevention and treatment of diseases of the blood vessels.

Chinese researchers have completed a study suggesting that Sea Buckthorn oil extract can lower cholesterol, reduce angina and improve heart function in patients with cardiac disease. Research on Sea Buckthorn as it relates to weight loss, cardiac disease and cholesterol levels are ongoing and appear to be promising based on initial results.

Sea buckthorn berries and oil may help promote cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation, improving blood lipid profiles, and enhancing endothelial function. Studies suggest that sea buckthorn oil supplementation may help lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and improving overall cardiovascular function.

Sea Buckthorn for Immune Support

Sea buckthorn berries are believed to support immune function due to their high content of vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells and antibodies, which play key roles in defending the body against infections and illnesses.

Sea Buckthorn for Skin Health

Sea buckthorn oil is commonly used in skincare products for its benefits for skin health. It is rich in vitamin E, omega-7 fatty acids (palmitoleic acid), and other nutrients that help moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, promote wound healing and protect against UV damage.

Sea buckthorn oil may help alleviate symptoms of dry skin, eczema, psoriasis and acne when applied topically. Cooled Sea Buckthorn tea can be applied to sunburn to reduce swelling and irritation whilst promoting healing.

Sea Buckthorn for Digestive Health

Sea buckthorn berries and oil may have potential benefits for digestive health, including alleviating symptoms of gastric ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Sea buckthorn oil may help soothe and repair the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, reducing inflammation and promoting gastrointestinal health. It may be used to treat human gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) diseases including ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), upset stomach, dyspepsia and constipation.

Sea Buckthorn for Eye Health

Sea buckthorn berries contain lutein, zeaxanthin, and other carotenoids that are beneficial for eye health. These compounds help protect the eyes from oxidative damage, reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, and support overall vision health.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn berries and oil have been studied for their potential anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma and dermatitis.

Sea buckthorn is believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties due to its rich composition of bioactive compounds, including; flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids, vitamins and fatty acids. These compounds work synergistically to exert various anti-inflammatory effects in the body, which we will explore below:

Inhibition of Inflammatory Mediators: Sea buckthorn contains flavonoids and phenolic acids that can inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes, such as cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX). These enzymes are involved in the production of inflammatory mediators, including prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which contribute to inflammation and pain.

Antioxidant Activity: Sea buckthorn is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, and carotenoids, which help neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to inflammation and tissue damage, so by scavenging free radicals, sea buckthorn helps reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage.

Modulation of Immune Response: Sea buckthorn may modulate the immune response and reduce inflammation by regulating the production of cytokines and other immune signaling molecules. By balancing the immune system’s response, sea buckthorn can help prevent excessive inflammation and promote tissue repair and regeneration.

Reduction of Pro-inflammatory Signaling: Sea buckthorn contains fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids, which have been shown to inhibit pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, such as nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. By blocking these pathways, sea buckthorn helps reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines and other mediators.

Protection of Mucous Membranes: Sea buckthorn oil is known for its ability to nourish and protect mucous membranes, including those lining the digestive tract and respiratory system. By maintaining the integrity of mucous membranes, sea buckthorn helps prevent inflammation and irritation caused by environmental toxins, pathogens, and other irritants.

Overall, the combination of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties makes sea buckthorn an effective natural remedy for reducing inflammation and promoting overall health and well-being. Sea buckthorn supplements, oils, and extracts are commonly used to alleviate inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, gastritis, dermatitis and respiratory tract infections.

However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and clinical efficacy of sea buckthorn in managing inflammation-related disorders.

Sea Buckthorn for Respiratory Health

Sea Buckthorn is also used as an expectorant. An expectorant is a substance that helps to loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough up. Sea buckthorn contains bioactive compounds such as flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are believed to have mucolytic (mucus-dissolving) properties.

While scientific research on the expectorant effects of sea buckthorn is limited, its traditional use suggests that it may help alleviate respiratory symptoms such as coughing, congestion and phlegm production. Sea buckthorn supplements or preparations, such as teas or syrups made from sea buckthorn berries or leaves, may be used to promote respiratory health and support the body’s natural mechanisms for clearing mucus from the airways.

Sea Buckthorn for Anti-Aging

Sea buckthorn is often touted for its potential anti-aging effects due to its rich composition of bioactive compounds, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids. Sea buckthorn berries are used for preventing skin infections, improving sight, and slowing the ageing process, including slowing the reduction of mental agility associated with ageing.

Here’s how sea buckthorn may help with anti-aging:

Antioxidant Protection: Sea buckthorn is loaded with antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, flavonoids, carotenoids (including beta-carotene and lycopene), and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which are molecules that can damage cells and contribute to premature aging. By scavenging free radicals, sea buckthorn helps protect cells from oxidative stress and reduces the signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Collagen Production: Sea buckthorn contains nutrients that support collagen production, such as vitamin C and certain amino acids. Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin, helping to maintain its firmness and smoothness. By promoting collagen synthesis, sea buckthorn helps improve skin tone and texture, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and enhance overall skin elasticity.

Skin Hydration: The fatty acids found in sea buckthorn oil, including omega-7 (palmitoleic acid), omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, help nourish and moisturize the skin from within. These fatty acids support the skin’s natural barrier function, preventing moisture loss and keeping the skin hydrated and supple. Hydrated skin appears plumper and more youthful, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

UV Protection: Sea buckthorn oil contains carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lycopene, which have been shown to provide some degree of protection against UV radiation from the sun. UV exposure is a major contributor to skin aging, leading to wrinkles, sunspots, and loss of skin elasticity. By providing natural sun protection, sea buckthorn helps minimize the damaging effects of UV radiation and prevents premature aging of the skin.

Wound Healing: Sea buckthorn oil has been traditionally used for its wound-healing properties. It contains compounds such as vitamins E and C, fatty acids, and flavonoids, which promote tissue regeneration and repair. By accelerating the healing process, sea buckthorn helps reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes, giving the skin a smoother and more youthful appearance.

Hair and Nail Health: Sea buckthorn oil is also beneficial for hair and nail health. Its nourishing properties help strengthen hair follicles, promote hair growth, and improve the overall condition of the hair and scalp. Additionally, sea buckthorn oil helps strengthen nails, preventing brittleness and breakage.

Overall, sea buckthorn offers a range of benefits for skin health and anti-aging. Regular use of sea buckthorn supplements or topical products, such as oils, creams and serums, can help rejuvenate the skin, reduce the signs of aging and promote a more youthful appearance. However, it’s important to choose high-quality sea buckthorn products and incorporate them into a comprehensive skincare routine for optimal results.

Additional Uses of Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn oil is used in traditional medicine to reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. One recent study suggests that Sea Buckthorn seed oil may be effective for assisting in weight loss, and for increasing immunity, as well as for treating gout.

How to Take Sea Buckthorn

Various parts of Sea Buckthorn are used for medicinal purposes. The most commonly utilised parts for medicinal applications include:

Fruit Pulp and Juice
Rich in Nutrients: The orange berries of the Sea Buckthorn are particularly rich in nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin C, vitamin E), carotenoids, flavonoids, and fatty acids.
Antioxidant Properties: The fruit pulp and juice are known for their high antioxidant content, which may contribute to their potential health benefits.
Immune Support: The vitamin C content in Sea Buckthorn berries may support the immune system.

Seed Oil
Omega Fatty Acids: The oil extracted from Sea Buckthorn seeds is rich in omega-3, omega-6, omega-7, and omega-9 fatty acids.
Skin Health: Sea Buckthorn seed oil is often used topically for skin health. It may have moisturising properties and can be beneficial for conditions like dry skin.

Traditional Uses: In some traditional systems of medicine, Sea Buckthorn leaves have been used for medicinal purposes.
Potential Benefits: Leaves may contain certain bio-active compounds, but their use is not as common as the fruit pulp or seed oil.

Traditional Uses: In some traditional practices, the bark of Sea Buckthorn may be used for medicinal purposes.
Less Common: The use of bark is less common compared to the fruit, seed oil, or leaves.

Sea Buckthorn products, such as oils, capsules, and juices, are available as dietary supplements. The leaves and flowers can also be taken as a herbal tea.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Sea Buckthorn Notes / Side Effects

There are several special precautions and warnings that should be heeded when using Sea Buckthorn. There is insufficient data regarding the use of sea buckthorn during pregnancy to ensure its safety, and whether it crosses over into breast milk is unknown. It is currently recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid the use of Sea Buckthorn supplements until additional data is available.

There are some initial indications that Sea Buckthorn has the ability to slow blood clotting. While in some instances this may be beneficial, it is important to stop taking this supplement at least 2 weeks prior to any scheduled surgery to reduce the risk of excess bleeding during and after an operation.

Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs administered to slow blood clotting may interact with Sea Buckthorn, causing an increase in anti clotting activity. Taking Sea Buckthorn in addition to these medications may increase the potential for excess bleeding and bruising. Some of the medications which may interact in this manner include aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, and warfarin. This is not a complete list. It is therefore very important to consult a physician before taking Sea Buckthorn products with any blood thinners or NSAID drugs.

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