The Mighty and Generous Sea Buckthorn Plant
Sea buckthorn is a remarkable shrub known for its medicinal properties. It thrives in temperate and subtropical regions of Asia and Europe. Come September, its flowers give way to red and orange berries that boast a fruity taste. These can be eaten raw or turned into jam, compote, or juice. Additionally, a valuable oil can be extracted from its seeds and pulp to help prevent skin aging and provide protection. Fun fact: astronauts in the 1960s even used a sea buckthorn-based cream to protect their skin from cosmic radiation!
A Treasure Trove of Nutrients
Packed with Vitamin C
Sea buckthorn berries are a vitamin C powerhouse, containing 200 to 600 mg per 100 grams of pulp. That's nearly 30 times more vitamin C than an orange! It's among the fruits with the highest vitamin C content globally, alongside camu camu and acerola. Since our bodies can't produce vitamin C, we need to obtain it from our diet. This essential nutrient helps:
- Fight cellular aging and bolster our immune system
- Reduce fatigue by aiding in iron absorption
- Assist in collagen synthesis
The berries also contain beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, essential for good vision, cell renewal, and skin protection. The oil from sea buckthorn seeds is extraordinarily rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega 3, 6, and 7, which offer a wide range of health benefits, from balancing inflammation to nourishing the skin.
A Cocktail of Antioxidants
In addition to vitamin C, sea buckthorn is packed with other antioxidants like vitamin E, flavonoids, polyphenols, and carotenoids. These substances support liver function and combat cellular aging, thus promoting skin health.
How to Consume Sea Buckthorn
To maximize the benefits, consume the berries raw, preferably between meals for optimal digestion and absorption. You can also find high-quality, cold-pressed sea buckthorn juice. Just three tablespoons per day can meet your vitamin C needs. Alternatively, it's available as a tincture made from ripe berries or as oil capsules.
A Universal Natural Remedy
Sea buckthorn is safe for everyone—children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and athletes alike. However, it's best consumed as part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Always opt for organic products, preferably from European sources. For personalized advice, consult a healthcare professional such as a doctor, naturopath, or phytotherapist.
In summary, sea buckthorn is a lesser-known "super ingredient" that offers a wealth of health benefits. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it supports overall vitality, from immune function to nervous system balance. And let's not forget—it's a skin's best friend. Ongoing studies might even reveal more secrets about this wonder plant.