Sea buckthorn has exploded on the scene as both a superfood and a super ingredient in skincare products and cosmetics.
Touted as the next big thing in anti ageing, you’ll now found it in moisturisers, serums, facial cleansers, and hand creams. And because of its many health benefits, it’s also available in juices and capsules so you can add it to your smoothies.
But what exactly is seabuckthorn?
Is it a plant? An animal?
Let’s find out.
What is sea buckthorn?
Contrary to what its name implies, sea buckthorn isn’t an aquatic creature. It’s more like a berry.
Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is common in the coastal and mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. The shrubs are dense, stiff, and thorny, and have long silvery green leaves. Male sea buckthorn bushes produce brownish flowers while female bushes produce the small, orange, edible berries.
The Greeks, Tibetans, and Indians have been using sea buckthorn medicinally for centuries. It’s said that the ancient Greeks fed sea buckthorn leaves to their racehorses, which made the animals’ hair shiny and smooth. This is supposedly how the plant got its genus name Hippophae, meaning “shining horse.”
For hundreds of years, sea buckthorn has also been used as folk medicine in the treatment of skin diseases, tummy troubles, fever, coughs, and colds. In the last few decades, modern science has caught up with ancient knowledge and studies have confirmed that sea buckthorn does have some impressive healing properties.
Let’s look into how sea buckthorn can keep us healthy inside and out.
What is sea buckthorn good for?
Who would have thought that these cheerful little berries can do such wonders for our health? As it turns out, sea buckthorn contains about 190 bioactive substances. It’s a potent source of powerful phytonutrients that are rarely found in other vegetable oils, making it “one of the most valuable natural products in the world.”
Sea buckthorn contains a super cocktail of vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. It has one of the highest amounts of Vitamins C and E among all plant sources. It may also be the only plant to contain all four omega fatty acids (3, 6, 9, and the rare 7), all of which have anti inflammatory properties.
Because of its intensely rich nutritional profile, sea buckthorn has a mind boggling number of medicinal uses. This mighty berry is believed to have strong antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It also:
- Relieves cough and asthma
- Boosts immunity
- Fights viruses
- Aids digestion
- Boosts metabolism
- Heals gastric ulcers
- Protects against heart diseases
- Relieves chest pain (angina) and heartburn
- Helps fight Type 2 diabetes
- Alleviates pain
- Treats arthritis and gout
- Battles Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Treats dry eye and night blindness
- Helps prevent liver damage
- Helps fight cancer
- Improves brain function
- Promotes recovery after chemotherapy and major illness
- Prevents inflammations
- Has an antidepressant effect
Benefits for skin
Aside from promoting overall wellness, sea buckthorn has some specific benefits for skin. It:
- Accelerates skin healing
- Treats acne, sunburn, cuts, wounds, rashes, bedsores, eczema, and skin ulcers
- Firms sagging skin
- Reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, scars, and discolourations
- Evens out skin tone
- Improves skin elasticity
- Prevents and reduces stretch marks
- Is beneficial for rosacea
- Nourishes dry, flaky, and itchy skin
- Controls sebum
- Protects from UV radiation and environmental damage
- Fights free radicals
How to use sea buckthorn
You’ll find sea buckthorn in topical skincare products like face creams, body oils, lotions, balms, deodorants, and nail treatments. For extra moisturising power, you can take sea buckthorn as a dietary supplement in the form of oils, extracts, elixirs, concentrated juices, and capsules.
Sea buckthorn berries are used to make pies, jams, syrups, purees, jellies, sauces, liquors, and fruit wines. Tea made from sea buckthorn leaves is a good source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.
Sea buckthorn is generally considered safe to use on skin. However, as with all herbal products, it’s always best to consult your doctor, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication, or have a medical condition.
Sea buckthorn fruits are safe if you’re eating them just like any other fruit (though they’re too acidic when raw) or as an ingredient in sauces, jams, drinks, and such. They’re considered possibly safe when used as medicine.
Sea buckthorn is an incredible addition to your natural skincare regimen. Give it a try in one of the lovely products from Weleda’s skin boosting Sea Buckthorn range.
You’ll love the Body Oil for the gorgeous scent alone, but you’ll be glad to know it works like a charm on even super dry skin. The Replenishing Body Lotion has the same sensational scent and will leave your skin with a youthful glow. It’s lightweight and non greasy but intensely hydrating.
Complement these with the Creamy Body Wash, which cleans without stripping skin of its natural oils, and the Hand Cream — a soothing and deep moisturising treat for dry or overworked hands.
Have you used seabuckthorn in skincare products? What are your favourites and how well did they work for you? Share below!
Like this? Why not Pin it?Images: BigStock