Sea buckthorn is nature’s real health package. The fruit as well as the seeds contain an exceptional variety and concentration of many vitamins and minerals crucial to good health. Various healing and health-promoting vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and micro-elements are contained in virtually every part of the Sea Buckthorn plant, including its seeds, leaves, and bark. Sea buckthorn has a clear effect on atopic eczema, other skin problems related to deficient regeneration, UV radiation stressed skin, mouth dryness, mouth ulcers, gastric ulcers, urinary tract inflammations, cervicitis, genital ulcers, sinus inflammation and eye dryness. It influences on supporting cholesterol and heart health are well known.
Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.), a member of the family Elaeganaceae, is a hardy shrub native to Mongolia and Siberia. It is currently recognized as comprising 6 species and 1 2 subspecies. A new species Hippophae goniocarpa, speculated to be a natural hybrid, was found in Western China in 1995.
Seabuckthorn is a dioecious species which means that the male and female flowers are on separate trees. Pollination normally occurs by wind. Seabuckthorn is certainly well named for it is indeed a very thorny shrub which normally grows between two and four meters tall. A temperate plant, it has a high tolerance for arid and wet soil conditions, heat and cold and Ph variations from 5- 9. In addition to being a nitrogen fixer seabuckthorn has a strong and extensive root system which can penetrate to 3 meters and propagates by producing suckers from this root system. All these attributes combine to make seabuckthorn an ideal plant for erosion control for which it is used extensively in China where they have upward of 500,000 hectares planted for this purpose. It is interesting to note that seabuckthorn has been employed on the Canadian prairies for many years as a very effective shelterbelt plant and there are currently seabuckthorn plantations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
While there is no doubt that seabuckthorn definitely qualifies as a model citizen of the plant kingdom, it is the breadth and depth of its bio- active compounds that has stimulated the increased interest in recent years. As Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council stated: If there ever was an herb that could qualify for the next generation of herbal luminaries, I would nominate Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides).” This stellar nomination is fully justified, for at recent count, the plant contains over 190 nutritional compounds. Seabuckthorn is indeed a Synergistic Giant.
While the nourishing and healing qualities of seabuckthorn are relatively new to the West, they have been well known in the East for hundreds of years. The earliest mention of seabuckthorn was in the Tibetan medical classic “‘rGyud Bzi” in the eight century. Word has it that Genghis Khan fed the leaves and berries to his legendary horses during his dramatic conquest of Asia. In fact a component of seabuckthorn’s botanical name, Hippophae means “bright shining horse.”
If there is one word that best describes seabuckthorn it is ANTIOXIDANT. The fruit, seed and leaves contain an impressive array of antioxidant compounds. The concentration of vitamin C in the berries reaches 2500mg/i OOg depending on the species. The berries are also a rich source of vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids, sterols including beta sitosterol; stanols, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and polar lipids. The leaves are an equally rich source of important antioxidants including beta carotene, vitamin E, flavonoids, catechins, elagic acid, ferulic acid, folic acid and significant values of calcium, magnesium and potassium. The dried leaves also provide an important source of protein at 24%.
In addition to its carotenoid and vitamin E content, the oil from the seabuckthorn berry contains on average 35% of the rare and valuable palmitoleic acid (16:1 n- 7). This rare fatty acid is a component of skin fat and is known to support cell, tissue and wound healing. The seed oil is characterized by its high oleic acid content (1 7%) and its one to one ratio of omega 3 (alpha linolenic) and omega 6 (linoleic) at approximately 34% and 31% respectively. The relationship of equivalence between the two omegas is critical because they self- check each other in a delicate balance to regulate thousands of metabolic functions through prostaglandin pathways. Nearly every biologic function is somehow interconnected with the delicate balance between Omega- 6 and Omega- 3.
Until recently, most of the research into the medicinal, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical properties of seabuckthorn has originated in China and Russia where studies have been ongoing since the 1950’s. Preparations from the fruit, seeds, leaves and bark of seabuckthorn have demonstrated great promise in the treatment of the mucous membranes including ulcers and gastro- intestinal disorders as well as vaginal problems. Additional studies have shown that seabuckthorn oils and juice have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and have a cholesterol lowering activity. Certain compounds in the bark and leaves are anti- carcinogenic and anti- tumoregenic.
The oils are effective in the treatment of burns, bedsores and such skin conditions as dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, acne, psoriasis and the effects of sun damage. The powerful synergies and antioxidant properties of seabuckthorn fruit, leaves and oils support the immune system, eye health, are anti- senescent, reduce cholesterol, support cardiovascular health, muscle nourishment, strengthens cell walls, regulate endocrine function, regulate blood lipids, and have significant anti- inflammatory activity and pain reduction. It is generally accepted in the cosmetic industry that seabuckthorn oils have unique anti- aging properties and stimulate tissue regeneration.
There is no doubt that the future holds great promise for seabuckthorn. This ancient plant with its powerful and healing synergies has much to contribute to this planet and its inhabitants. We can look forward to a continued revelation of seabuckthorn’s many gifts through the increasing interest and research into its abundant and valuable properties.
Susan McLoughlin is the President of Seabuckthorn International Inc. Peachland, BC Canada. In partnership with her late husband, Ms. McLoughlin pioneered the seabuckthorn industry in Canada. Educated at UBC, she is currently engaged in the manufacture and marketing of nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals from seabuckthorn. Ms. McLoughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250 767 6100.
You can read more about seabuckthorn by visiting the Seabuckthorn International Inc. website at: www.seabuckthorn.com
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