Otherwise known as Seaberry or Sandthorn, Sea Buckthorn is a flowering plant native to the Himalayas, northern Asia and Europe. It’s been used in Asian and European herbal medicine for centuries, and fairly extensively around the world amongst traditional herbalists as a cancer treatment.
Move over, açaí. Here comes the sea buckthorn berry!
I recently came to learn of this resilient plant through my mother who came upon it while on a trip to Mongolia. Apparently the juice from sea buckthorn berries is considered a national beverage there and in northern China.
In fact, sea buckthorn berries have long been used throughout Asia and Europe for making jam, preserves, compote, beer and wine. Even the leaves of the plant can be used to yield a nutritional, earthy flavored tea.
But what makes sea buckthorn so incredibly special?
The fruit of the sea buckthorn plant – in particular the oil from the seeds and berry pulp – is arguably one of the world’s top superfoods. Coined by Dr. Oz in 2010 as the “miracle berry,” your health & wellness is bound to benefit by adding these tiny but powerful berries into your diet.
Sea Buckthorn Berries – Quick Nutritional Facts
- They are exceptionally rich in Vitamin C at 114 to 1,500 mg per 100 g (about fifteen times more potent than oranges).
- They are the richest plant-based source of the rare Omega-7 fatty acid, in addition to containing Omega-3, 6 and 9.
- They contain three times more Vitamin A than carrots.
- They are the third highest source of Vitamin E on the planet.
With the myriad of medicinal properties including amino acids, antioxidants and over 190 other bioactive nutrients, it’s no wonder sea buckthorn has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions including skin and liver issues and even cancer.
In Germany, where herbal healing is more mainstream than it is in the United States, some physicians prescribe a laxative tea containing 1/2 teaspoons each of buckthorn, fennel seed and chamomile flowers.
The known power of this miracle berry even dates back as far as ancient Greece, where legend has it the mythological winged horse Pegasus ate sea buckthorn berries to gain the power to fly!
And interestingly, Soviet Russians used the berries as a preventative and protective measure against radiation poisoning.
"Sea Buckthorn has shown some anti-tumor action. It deserves more research." James A. Duke, Ph.D., retired botanist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Medicinal and Therapeutic Potential of Sea Buckthorn
A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research showed promising results when sea buckthorn extract (RH-3) was added to a culture of human cancer cells. RH-3 was shown to act as an antioxidant, preventing cellular and mitochondrial free radical generation.
That being said, Sea Buckthorn has the ability to limit the toxicity of chemotherapy and may be able to help heal the body following cytotoxic treatment.
Sea buckthorn berries are also showing promise in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
According to a double-blind clinical trial conducted in China, 128 patients with ischemic heart disease were given 10 mg of sea buckthorn three times daily for 6 weeks. The patients ultimately showed a decrease in cholesterol levels and improved cardiac function.
In fact, formulas that use sea buckthorn berries have already been developed in China for treating coronary heart disease and restoring cardiac function.
"Sea buckthorn has been scientifically analyzed and many of its traditional uses have been established using several biochemical and pharmacological studies. Various pharmacological activities such as cytoprotective, anti-stress, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, radioprotective, anti-atherogenic, anti-tumor, anti-microbial and tissue regeneration have been reported." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 138 (2011) 268-278
Sea Buckthorn Oil for Skin Care
If used topically, the bio-defense mechanisms of Sea Buckthorn Oil can help nourish, hydrate, repair, tighten and brighten the skin.
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