The Healing Power of Sea Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn is a delicious basis for a jam or sauce. In addition, Sea Buckthorn has healing power and is used to prevent cardiovascular disease. Sea buckthorn fruits contain a lot of oil; they are called the olives of the north. This oil is a great way to protect the skin from dehydration. It also helps against sun rays and radioactive rays.
Botanical drawing of dune maple from 1796 / Source: Johann Georg Sturm (Painter: Jacob Sturm), Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

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Naming sea buckthorn

This plant is called in Latin Hippophae Rhamnoides. There are several explanations why that name is. Many names come from the Greek and the Greek word hippophaes is a Greek name for a stinging shrub. The sea buckthorn also has many spines. Another explanation is that 'hippos' means horse and 'phaeiton' shiny. Hippophae can be a combination of those two words; according to experts, the fur of a horse will shine better if it eats from the sea buckthorn fruit. There are even more explanations. For example, some have suggested that the second word in the name of "phaino" means light, because the sea buckthorn fruit would be good for the eyes of horses. In Dutch, the sea buckthorn has some striking folk names: dune berry, hawthorn, sea buckthorn, sand thorn and shit berry.
Sea buckthorn / Source: 4028mdk09, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Sea buckthorn in antiquity

Fossil pollen grains have been found that indicate that humans have used sea buckthorn for at least 10,000 years. Tibetan monks described in the 8th century for Christ sea buckthorn as a cure for colds, respiratory infections and as a care product that is good for the hiud. The monks described that it balances the mucous membranes. These medicinal effects are still among the most important medicinal effects of sea buckthorn. In ancient Greece people used a lot of sea buckthorn fruits to gain weight and they gave it to horses to give them a shiny coat. Horses also started to shine more from their eyes. In modern phytotherapy, sea buckthorn berry and oil is used against dry eyes, retinal degeneration and reduced vision in people.

Sea buckthorn from the Middle Ages to the present

In Western folk medicine it was long thought that sea buckthorn was poisonous. In traditional Chinese medicine, sea buckthorn was a stimulant and was given to give more energy. Sea buckthorn was used in Russia and Mongolia against skin diseases. Sea buckthorns were known at some point in the West as food for the poor. Johann Bauhun was a Swiss who first pointed to the contracting effect of sea buckthorn and therefore works well against diarrhea. Abraham Munting, professor of botany at the University of Groningen, wrote in 1696 that sea buckthorn defeated the thirst of fever and that it helps to expel tough mucus. Sea buckthorn was recommended in the 20th century for grippal disorders and colds. It was recommended to eat a handful of sour berries, and then the flu passed quickly again. Russian cosmonauts lubricated their skin with sea buckthorn oil to protect themselves against radiation. In Russia, the sea buckthorn has just as good a reputation as St John's wort with us.

Phytonutrients sea buckthorns

There is a lot of vitamin C in bilberry. If you eat the same weight as oranges, you will get 3 to 60 times as much vitamin C with sea buckthorns. The Asian varieties contain less vitamin C than the European ones. Other phytonutrients in sea buckthorns are: bioflavonoids such as quercetin, kaemferol and isorhamnetine, vitamin A, carotenoids, lycopene, vitamins B1, B2, B5, E, K folic acid or B11, which in some countries is called B9, choline, beta-carotene, carbohydrate glucose , fructose, rhamnose, sucrose and arabinose, various organic acids, tannins, pectin, fibers, betasitosterol, amino acids and the minerals calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, cobalt and copper. Sea buckthorn oil contains mainly unsaturated omega-9, omega-7, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Medicinal effect sea buckthorn oil, internal use

Sea buckthorn oil has both internal and external healing powers. Sea buckthorn oil contains the omega-7 fatty acid palmitileic acid which works very well for the skin. It is a nourishing oil that strengthens the skin. In addition, it regenerates and hydrates the skin and mucous membranes. Internal use is prescribed by phytotherapists for the following indications:
Blooms sea buckthorn / Source: Kenraiz Krzysztof Ziarnek, Wikimedia Commons (GFDL)
  • Postmenopausal vaginal dryness, itching, dyspareunia or pain during intercourse,
  • Increased risk of infection,
  • Dry mouth, poor saliva production,
  • Dry eyes,
  • Prevention and treatment of gastritis or gastric wall infection,
  • Ulcers of the stomach and duodenum,
  • Adjuvant in skin diseases such as eczema,
  • Adjuvant in Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatic disease with dry mucous membranes.

Medicinal effect sea buckthorn oil, external use

Sea buckthorn oil protects the skin against DNA damage caused by the sun and ionizing radiation. The fatty acids nourish and soften the skin and the antioxidants such as beta-carotene enhance this property. It has a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect. That is why it is prescribed by phytotherapists for these indications:
  • Protection against sun exposure
  • Protection against damage caused by radiation used in radiotherapy
  • Dull, irritated, rough and chapped skin,
  • Stressed less vital skin,
  • Prevention of premature aging of the skin,
  • Burns, sunburn, radiation wounds,
  • To relieve eczema, psoriasis and other chronic skin conditions.

Medicinal effect sea buckthorn, internal use

Sea buckthorn is one of the richest sources of vitamin C in the world and is also accompanied by numerous flavonoids that strengthen the vitalizing powers of vitamin C. This known vitamin belongs to the immune-enhancing nutrients. Zeaxanthin is good for your eyes. This substance is abundant in sea buckthorn. Zeaxanthin prevents macular degeneration. It prevents you from having to perform a harvesting operation. Vitamin P and many other antioxidants have a strengthening effect on the blood vessels, in particular the capillaries. Sea buckthorn prevents heart and vascular diseases. It also protects the liver against the presence of toxic substances. It ensures that more bile is produced. That is good for the liver. The contracting effects make it a good remedy for diarrhea and the mild laxative property is great for constipation. Phytotherapists wisely use this beneficial wealth of healing powers for our well-being in the following indications:
Sea buckthorn / Source: Hans Hillewaert, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)
  • Asthenia, a medical term for fatigue due to vitamin C deficiency,
  • Recovery after illness, spring fatigue, anemia,
  • For breastfeeding and pregnancy, as additional, reinforcing food,
  • Bleeding gums,
  • Hepatitis or liver infection,
  • Constipation,
  • Diarrhea.

Preventive use:

In addition to the gene applications mentioned above, there are noteworthy prevention applications of the oral intake of sea buckthorn. This red-orange fruit works:
  • Preventive against aging symptoms,
  • Preventive against scurvy,
  • Preventive against flu, grippal infections,
  • Preventive against macular degeneration or retinal degeneration,
  • Preventive against cardiovascular disease,
  • Preventive against liver cirrhosis,
  • Preventive against liver degeneration.

Medicinal effect sea buckthorn berry, external use

By crushing a number of sea buckthorn berries and applying the resulting slurry to wounds, the healing process is faster. It is astringent, which means astringent, caticatising, which is the medical term for wound healing and hemostypical, which is simply astringent in ordinary Dutch. These three powerful healing properties make it a great tool to use for the following wound types:
  • Open wounds,
  • Freezing wounds,
  • Sunscreen.

Consult the herbal therapist

Those who want to use sea buckthorn as a medicinal product are advised to consult a phytotherapist. Sea buckthorn extracts and medicines in the form of mother tinctures, powders, nebulisate, liquid extract and capsules should only be taken on prescription from authorized persons. A doctor or phytotherapist can inform you about this, as well as about the possible side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. All the medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and originate from the Large Handbook for Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in herbal medicine.

Video: Sea Buckthorn Health Benefits - Sea Buckthorn Oil in Your Diet (April 2020).

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