What is Sea Buckthorn best known for? Bright orange, extremely nutritious berries.
Packed with essential nutrients and bioactive substances, it’s no surprise that Sea Buckthorn berries are the most famous part of the plant. They contain essential fatty acids, including Omegas 3, 6, 7 & 9; Vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B9 (Folic Acid), C & E; Carotenoids, including Lycopene; Carotenes, including Beta-carotene; Protein; 18 Amino Acids; Phytosterols, including β-Sitosterol; Organic acids; Tocopherols; Tocotrienols; Minerals; and Flavonoids, including Quercetin. And with all these nutrients, it’s only natural that the berries offer numerous health benefits—they have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, promote healthy skin and hair, support the immune system, promote good cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health, are traditionally used in the treatment of mouth, stomach and duodenal ulcers, and they support and soothe skin and mucous membranes, including those found in the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracks.
And though the fruit is valuable in its raw form, it can also be processed in order to transform the fruit into its even more valuable derivatives—Sea Buckthorn fruit oil (extracted from the berry pulp) and Sea Buckthorn seed oil (extracted from the berry’s small dark seeds). In a previous blog, we’ve discussed these two oils in detail, describing their nutritive profiles and their similarities and differences, listing some of their many uses and benefits, and explaining how they can be obtained from the plant.
So Sea Buckthorn fruit is the most famous part of the plant, and for good reason. Yet did you know that the berries and their derivatives are by no means the only beneficial offerings derived from the plant? In fact, the Sea Buckthorn plant contains over 190 bioactive substances, and each part of the plant has its own unique nutritive profile and offers different benefits. So what are some of the other, lesser-known parts of the plant and what makes them special?
Leaves: The long, silver-green leaves of the Sea Buckthorn plant are rich in Flavonoids, including Quercetin; Vitamins, including B2, B3, B9 (folic acid), C, and E; Carotenoids; and Minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. They also contain protein and trace Omega fatty acids.
Studies have shown that Sea Buckthorn leaves may offer both internal and external benefits. They have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and when taken internally (such as in a tea) may help protect the liver, aid in digestion, promote good cardiovascular health, and support a healthy circulatory system. In addition, a number of studies have demonstrated that extracts obtained from the leaves speed the healing of wounds and burns when applied topically.
Branches: Even the branches and bark of the Sea Buckthorn plant have nutritional value. They contain tannins, tocopherols, phytosterols, and other bioactive substances, including hippophan (5-hydroxytryptamine). Extracts obtained from Sea Buckthorn branches and bark have been traditionally used internally to treat colitis and enterocolitis, and externally in topical compressions for dermatological disorders, burns and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, studies suggest that hippophan isolated from Sea Buckthorn bark may inhibit tumour growth.
So though Sea Buckthorn is best-known for its fruit and for the oils which can be extracted from its fruit and seeds, the entire plant is in fact valuable. Even those parts that may be considered ‘waste’, such those infamous thorny branches, offer some health benefits!
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