Sea Buckthorn

What is sea buckthorn?

Also called the sea berry, sand thorn, and sallow thorn, sea buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides) is a deciduous shrub native to Europe and Asia. It is a rare species of fruit in the family Elaeagnaceae and Hippophae genus. It is a unique and appreciated multipurpose species presently being cultivated in various parts of the world, including Canada. According to Greek legend, war torn horses were set free to die a natural death. Soldiers were surprised when the horses returned from sea buckthorn forests full of health and strength with radiant, shiny fur. For this reason they named it Hippophae Rhamnoides, “tree that makes horses shine”. Hippophae salicifolia, Hippophae goniocarpa, Hippophae gyantsensis, Hippophae litangensis, Hippophae neurocarpa and Hippophae tibetana are some of the popular varieties of sea buckthorn that is cultivated throughout the world. Sea buckthorn shrubs have a remarkable lifespan of 100 to 150 years.

Sea buckthorn is actually a rare species of fruit from Elaeagnaceae family. Sea buckthorn berries are usually pearl-shaped clustered berries 6–9 mm (0.24–0.35 in) in diameter, soft, juicy, and rich in oils and are normally yellowish-orange colored.  The fruit consists of one bony, ovoid seed. They are normally oily, bitter, sour, tart and astringent in taste but are high in nutrient value. Due to its astringent, sour and oily taste it is unpleasant to eat raw, unless ‘bletted’ (frosted to decrease the astringency) and/or mixed as a drink with sweeter substances such as apple or grape juice. Apart from its distinctive taste it has higher nutritional value so it is extremely beneficial for all. The peak season for harvesting sea buckthorn is from August to October.

Health benefits of sea buckthorn

4. Cancer Treatment

Juice from buckthorn berries are extremely valuable for the reduction of cancer, or slowing down its spread. Buckthorn berry consists of high antioxidant content that help to neutralize free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism. However, in the case of buckthorn berry juice, the anti-cancer abilities cause cell-cycle arrest, so cancer cannot progress; however, it does not encourage apoptosis, like many other antioxidant substances.

5. Aging Process

Buckthorn berry is quite important because of its impact on the aging process. For those people seeking younger-looking skin, or who want to remove age spots and wrinkles, the free radical-neutralizing antioxidants in buckthorn berry are perfect! Drinking buckthorn berry juice, adding the concentrated oil to other foods, or eating the berries themselves are all practical ways to stay young!

6. Diabetes Control

Although research is still on this particular topic, buckthorn berry is good at regulating blood sugar. It means including this delicious fruit to their diet is the wonderful choice for people suffering from diabetes. By eliminating the peaks and drops in blood sugar, super berries like buckthorn can help people live a more normal life!

7. Vitamin C Boost

Apart from boosting immune system, buckthorn helps to improve the health of the skin, the strength of your bones, and flexibility of gums and teeth. Vitamin C contained in buckthorn berry is an essential part in the formation of collagen, which is a vital component of growth and repair throughout the body. Therefore, the high concentration of vitamin C in buckthorn berry makes it an all-around body booster that helps to speed wound healing and recovery from injuries.

8. Circulation

Several research have proven that the high levels of vitamin C in buckthorn berry help to increase the uptake of iron by the body, thus confirming a high, steady blood flow, as iron is a key ingredient in red blood cells.

How to use sea buckthorn

  • Sea buckthorn fruit are used to make pies, jams, lotions, teas, fruit wines, and liquors.
  • Sea berry plants also contribute to making an excellent wine and liquor.
  • Sea buckthorn is popular as a juice and jam in Finland and other countries.
  • Use sea buckthorn leaves to make teas.

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