Sea buckthorn: health benefits

Sea buckthorn is a shrub that is valued in traditional medicine for its nutritional composition. Do you know its main benefits? Discover them!

Last update: 15 September, 2022

The sea buckthorn, scientific name Hippophae rhamnoides, It is a thorny shrub native to China and some parts of Europe. It belongs to the eleagnaceae family and is characterized by its woody branches that are made up of 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 good degree of maturity and are later used for gastronomic and medicinal purposes. In fact, an oil is obtained from its pulp and seeds that has several applications as a natural remedy and cosmetic. Next, we tell you more about its properties.

Main active compounds of sea buckthorn

Before detailing the uses and benefits of sea buckthorn, its main components should be highlighted. As compiled by a publication in the magazine antioxidants, these encompass the following:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, K and E.
  • Essential minerals (iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, nitrogen and manganese).
  • Phytosterols.
  • 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.
  • Mucilages.

Health benefits of sea buckthorn

In traditional medicine, the leaves, flowers, seeds and berries of sea buckthorn have been used as a supplement to alleviate various health problems. And while most uses are supported only by anecdotal evidence, some research suggests that it does have potential in the prevention and treatment of some diseases. What are its possible benefits?

Helps fight fatigue

Due to its interesting contribution of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, sea buckthorn is used as a natural supplement to combat fatigue. In particular, its berries are used to reduce tiredness and muscle weakness.

In addition, a study published through Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture He reported that aqueous extracts from the leaves of this plant have potential to improve physical fitness and protect against oxidative damage caused by exhaustive exercise.

For now, more studies are required. However, it is true that the parts of this plant are nutritious and can be useful as revitalizers.

The feeling of fatigue could be improved with some extracts of sea buckthorn. It is not a magical solution, but some evidence supports it.

Helps maintain heart health

The essential fatty acids, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals in sea buckthorn fruit are beneficial for heart health. An investigation published in Lipids in Health and Disease associated its intake with an increase in high-density lipoprotein levels, i.e. cholesterol Okay.

In healthy people, these types of lipids are linked to protecting the heart. In addition, its antioxidants help inhibit the negative 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.

It has positive effects against vaginal atrophy

Atrophy or vaginal 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 there are several treatments against this symptom -such as vaginal moisturizers or hormonal therapy-, the consumption of supplements with phytoestrogens also helps. In this regard, a 2014 study reported that sea buckthorn oil helped improve postmenopausal vaginal health.

Researchers suggest that the phytoestrogens in this ingredient have potential as an estrogen replacement supplement. However, more evidence is lacking.

Helps take care of hair

The oil obtained from sea buckthorn concentrates lipids, amino acids and micronutrients that strengthen hair health. A study shared in the magazine antioxidants points to that It is an ingredient widely used in the cosmetic industry, especially in hair treatments.

It is recommended for its ability to reduce excess oil on the scalp and to protect against damage or breakage of the strands. In fact, it is a common ingredient in several brands of shampoos.

Protects skin health

There are several reasons why sea buckthorn protects skin health. First of all, its abundant content of antioxidants 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 to care for the skin barrier. Even, as detailed in a study in Lipids in Health and DiseaseReduces the risk of skin disorders.

Studies detail that sea buckthorn oil serves as a complement to combat acne, eczema and some skin infections. Likewise, It is a common ingredient in anti-aging cosmetics.

Other Possible Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

Due to its richness in bioactive compounds, it is not surprising that sea buckthorn is linked to other health benefits. However, it must be taken into account that it is merely a complement and not a treatment of first choice.

The evidence is still limited, so it should be used with caution. Let’s see other uses:

  • Digestive disorders: Due to its mucilage and antioxidant content, sea buckthorn is used as an ally for digestive health. 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 influenza.
  • Liver diseases: Although not a first-line treatment for liver disorders, research suggests that sea buckthorn has pharmacological potential against liver fibrosis. In addition, it serves as a hepatoprotector.
  • Antitumor potential: the phytoconstituents of this plant are linked to an antitumor and chemopreventive effect. Either way, more evidence is needed.
  • Overweight and obesity: Although it is not a miraculous supplement against excess weight, its nutrients are positive to complement food. Studies link its properties to the prevention of high-fat diet-induced obesity and metabolic disorders.

Risks and contraindications of sea buckthorn

Eating sea buckthorn as a food is generally safe for most people. In fact, 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 are at risk of headache, dizziness, and heart rhythm disturbances after taking sea buckthorn supplements.
  • Its topical use may cause rash or allergy in people with sensitive skin. It is important to do a little patch test before using it fully.
  • Oral consumption of sea buckthorn oil can cause digestive discomfort. If so, its use must be discontinued.
  • It should not be consumed simultaneously with anticoagulants, antidiabetics, drugs for autoimmune disorders or drugs for liver diseases.
  • It is contraindicated for pregnant or lactating women. It should also not be ingested by patients with chronic diseases, unless authorized by the doctor.

Sea buckthorn supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, they should be purchased from a reputable store and their label checked.

Anticoagulants should not be combined with sea buckthorn supplements. The interaction could lead to serious adverse effects.

Natural remedies with sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn remedies are prepared with both its leaves and its fruits. Available supplements are usually in the form of capsules, syrups, teas, tinctures, oils, and topical ointments. The mode of use may vary from one presentation to another; therefore it is necessary to consult the label.

Of course, at a general level, there are some recommendations for consumption. Next, we detail them:

  • Infusion of dehydrated sea buckthorn fruits: 2 or 3 cups a day (500 to 750 milliliters a day).
  • Natural juice of sea buckthorn fruits: a glass a day (200 milliliters).
  • Tincture: 20 to 50 drops, divided into 3 doses per day.
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters). For external use, mix with a carrier oil (olive, coconut, almond, etc.).

Infusion with sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn infusion is ideal for increasing energy levels and strengthening defenses. Even, serves as a complement to support the treatment of anemia.

The ingredients are the following:

  • 50 grams of sea buckthorn berries.
  • 30 grams of blueberries.
  • 10 grams of horsetail.
  • 500 milliliters of water.

Follow this step by step:

  1. Boil the water and, when it breaks the boil, add the other ingredients.
  2. Cover the infusion and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Divide it to take 2 or 3 servings a day.

Did you know that the fruits of sea buckthorn are also used in gastronomy? They can be prepared as jams, smoothies, fruit purees, meat sauces, among others.

What is there to remember?

In natural medicine, sea buckthorn is valued for its abundant content of antioxidant substances, vitamins, minerals, proteins, among other nutrients. It is used to protect heart health, skin and the digestive system.

However, the evidence is still limited. Therefore, it is only suggested as a supplement.

Either way, consuming it is usually safe and well tolerated. It can be included in various recipes or can be ingested as a commercial supplement.

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