Sea buckthorn is a shrub highly valued in traditional medicine for its nutritional composition. Find out the main health benefits. Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a thorny shrub native to China and parts of india. It belongs to the Elaeagnaceae family and is characterized by its woody branches formed by elongated leaves and small thorns. It also has flowers with greenish tones and small spherical fruits of a striking bright orange color. The latter are harvested when they reach a reasonable degree of maturity and are subsequently used for gastronomic and medicinal purposes. An oil is obtained from its pulp and seeds that find various applications as a natural and cosmetic remedy. Next, we will tell you more about its properties.
Table of Contents
Main Active Compounds Of Sea Buckthorn
Before describing the uses and benefits of sea buckthorn, it must highlight its main components. As compiled in a post in the Antioxidants journal, these include the following:
- Vitamins A, B, C, K, and E.
- Essential minerals (iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, nitrogen, and manganese).
- Essential fatty acids, such as palmitic, linoleic, and alpha-linolenic.
- Amino acids (threonine, valine, methionine, leucine, lysine, tryptophan, isoleucine, phenylalanine, among others).
- Phenolic compounds, such as glycosides, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.
Health Benefits Of Sea Buckthorn
In traditional medicine, the leaves, flowers, seeds, and berries of the sea buckthorn have been used as a supplement to alleviate various health problems. And while most uses are only backed up by anecdotal evidence, some research suggests it has potential in the prevention and treatment of some diseases. What are its possible advantages?
Helps Fight Fatigue
Sea buckthorn is used as a natural supplement to combat the fatigue of its exciting supply of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. In particular, its berries are used to reduce fatigue and muscle weakness. Additionally, a study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reported that aqueous extracts from this plant’s leaves could improve fitness and protect against oxidative damage caused by strenuous exercise. Further studies are needed. However, it is true that parts of this plant are nutritious and can be helpful as revitalizers.
It Helps Maintain Heart Health
The essential fatty acids, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals in the sea buckthorn fruit benefit heart health. A survey published in Lipids in Health and Disease associated its intake with increased levels of high-density lipoprotein, that is, the good cholesterol. In healthy people, these lipids are linked to the protection of the heart. Furthermore, its antioxidants help inhibit the adverse effects of oxidative stress, which not only increase the level of inflammation but are also linked to chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as atherosclerosis.
Sea Buckthorn And Its Positive Effects Against Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal atrophy or dryness is a common symptom among women reaching the menopausal stage. Its appearance is related to the decrease in estrogen levels, which decreases the natural lubrication of the vagina. Although several treatments for this symptom, such as vaginal moisturizers or hormone therapy, consuming phytoestrogen supplements also help. In this regard, a 2014 study reported that sea buckthorn oil helped improve postmenopausal vaginal health. The oil obtained from sea buckthorn concentrates lipids, amino acids, and micronutrients that strengthen hair health. A study in the journal Antioxidants indicates that it is a widely used ingredient in the cosmetic industry, particularly in hair treatments. It is recommended for its ability to reduce excess sebum on the scalp and protect against damage or breakage of the strands. It is a common ingredient in several shampoo brands.
Protects Skin Health
There are several reasons why sea buckthorn protects skin health. First, its great antioxidant content mitigates the negative impact of free radicals, which reduces the tendency to premature aging. On the other hand, its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and regenerating properties help care for the skin barrier. As detailed in a Lipids in Health and Disease study, it also reduces the risk of skin disorders. Studies detail that sea buckthorn oil complements the fight against acne, eczema, and some skin infections. It is also a common ingredient in anti-aging cosmetics.
Other Possible Benefits Of Sea Buckthorn
Thanks to its richness in bioactive compounds, it’s no surprise that sea buckthorn is linked with other health benefits. However, it should be noted that it is only a complement and not a first-choice treatment.
Evidence is still limited, so they should be used with caution. Let’s see other uses:
- Digestive disorders: for its mucilage and antioxidant content, sea buckthorn is used as an ally for the health of the digestive system. It is often used against indigestion, gastritis, diarrhea, and constipation.
- Respiratory Health: The vitamin C, flavonoids, and minerals in this ingredient strengthen the immune system and help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, such as the flu.
- Liver disease: While not a first-line treatment for liver ailments, research suggests that sea buckthorn has pharmacological potential against liver fibrosis. In addition, it acts as a hepatoprotection.
- Antitumor potential: the phytoconstituents of this plant are linked to an antitumor and chemopreventive effect.
- Overweight and Obesity: While not a miracle supplement against excess weight, its nutrients are suitable for supplementing foods. Studies link its properties to preventing obesity and metabolic disorders induced by a high-fat diet.
Risks And Contraindications Of Sea Buckthorn
Eating sea buckthorn as a portion of food is generally safe for most people. Supplements derived from the bush and its fruits tend to be well tolerated.
Despite this, some people may experience unwanted reactions:
- Patients with high blood pressure risk headaches, dizziness, and heart rhythm disturbances after taking sea buckthorn supplements.
- Its topical use can cause skin rashes or allergies in people with sensitive skin. It is essential to perform a small patch test before using it entirely.
- Oral consumption of sea buckthorn oil can cause digestive upset. In such cases, its use must be discontinued.
- It should not be consumed simultaneously as blood thinners, antidiabetic drugs, autoimmune diseases, or drugs for liver disease.
- It is contraindicated for pregnant or lactating women. It should also not be ingested by patients with chronic diseases unless authorized by the doctor.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate sea buckthorn supplements. Therefore, you must check the label and buy them at a trusted store.
Natural Remedies Based On Sea Buckthorn
Sea buckthorn remedies are prepared with both its leaves and fruit. The supplements available are usually in the form of capsules, syrups, teas, tinctures, oils, and topical ointments. The method of use may vary from one presentation to another; therefore, it is necessary to consult the label.
Of course, on a general level, there are some recommendations for consumption. Next, we detail the following:
- Infusion of dehydrated sea buckthorn fruits: 2 or 3 cups per day (500 to 750 milliliters per day).
- Natural juice of sea buckthorn fruits: one glass per day (200 milliliters).
- Tincture: 20 to 50 drops, divided into three doses per day.
- Oil: 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters). Mix with a carrier oil (olive, coconut, almond, etc.) for external use.
Infused With Sea Buckthorn
Sea buckthorn tea is ideal for boosting energy levels and strengthening defenses. It also serves as a complement to support the treatment of anemia.
The ingredients are as follows:
- Fifty grams of sea buckthorn berries.
- 30 grams of blueberries.
- 10 grams of horsetail.
- 500 ml of water.
Follow this step-by-step:
- Bring the water to a boil and, when it comes to a boil, add the other ingredients.
- Cover the brew and let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Divide it to take 2 or 3 servings a day.
In natural medicine, sea buckthorn is valued for its excellent content of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients. It is used to protect the health of the heart, skin, and digestive system. However, the evidence is still limited. Therefore, it is only suggested as a supplement.