Sea Buckthorn

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Scientific name: Hippophae Rhamnoides

Family: Rhamnaceae

Common name: Sea – buckthorn

General Description

The Hippophae is a shrub of the Rhamnaceae family. It is also called Buckthorn, also occurs with the following common names in English Sea buckthorn, Sallow thorn, Sand thorn or Sea berry. In ancient times its use was widespread. Relevant references of sea buckthorn exist in texts of Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle, but especially in Dioscorides’ texts, the father of Pharmacology. The name derives from the armies of Alexander the Great, who noticed that the sick and injured horses that ate leaves and fruit of the plant were recovering quickly acquire more power, while their fur grew stronger and became more glamorous. The Latin name of the genus Hippophae derived from the words horse < Hipp ( a ) – (horse ) + < faos (light shine), so it means bright, shiny horse. There are 6 species and 12 subspecies native over a wide area of Europe and Asia, including Ladakh region in India which is used for producing juice. Over 90 % of the cultivations are located in China. The shrub reaches a height of 0.5-6 m, rarely up to 10 m in central Asia and usually grows in dry, sandy areas. The ideal ph value of the soil is 6-7.5. It is resistant to saline conditions but it needs sunlight for better growth and does not tolerate shady conditions next to high trees.

Φύλλωμα και καρποί κοινού Ιπποφαούς

The common species of the Buckthorn berries (Hippophae rhamnoides) are cultivated from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the northwestern China. In Western Europe,the cultivation is limited to coastal areas where salty sea drops prevent other larger plants to grow, while in Central Asia is more widespread in dry semi-deserted areas where other plants cannot survive in dry conditions.

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Health Benefits

It stimulatesthe human body.

Boosts the immunity system and helps in quick recovery.

Protects and strengthens the nervous system.

Gives energy, wellbeing and reduces stress.

Regulates the metabolism.

Protects from cardiovascular problems and reduces blood sugar.

Treats prostatic hyperplasia, diseases of the liver, and gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis, esophagitis, Crohn’s disease.

It has preventive effect against eye diseases such as cataracts and macular.

Detoxifies the body, helps in oxygenation and regeneraition of the cells and is used against premature aging.

Helps treatment of skin problems like acne, discolorations, eczema, burns and psoriasis.

Full of antioxidants

The sea buckthorn contains a unique combination of antioxidant ingredients which act preventively against aging, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Specifically, among others it contains:

Vitamin C: It contributes to absorb iron, helps in the formation of collagen in skin, in repairing tissues, helps in wound healing and strengthens the body’s defenses.

Vitamin E: It slows down the aging of cells, helps in tissue oxygenation and enhances the reproductive system. Accelerates wound healing and protects against atherosclerosis.

Vitamin A: Maintains the health of the eyes and skin.

All minerals: Calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, potassium, selenium and zinc. They are necessary for the mental and physical health. Like vitamins, they act as catalysts in many organic reactions and their functions are interrelated. Selenium and copper have very powerful antioxidant action.

Carotenoids: Substantially they prevent the oxidation and destruction of cells. The sea buckthorn contains beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, and lycopene (anticancer activity), alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin (prevention against senile macular degeneration) and lutein. Sometimes the sea buckthorn, depending on the area planted, contains carotenoids in greater quantities than any other plant.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids: Specifically: omega-3 (linolenic acid), omega-6 (linoleic acid), omega-7 (palmitoleic acid), omega-9 (oleic acid). The sea buckthorn is considered by scientists as the richest source of vegetal fatty acids, which are essential in the body for proper functioning of the brain, the nervous, immune and reproductive system and protects against cardiovascular disease, reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.

The omega-7 fatty acid is mainly of animal origin.It has been detected only in the oil of the plant macadamia, but at concentrations 2 times lower than those found in sea buckthorn.

The omega-7 has antiviral, antibacterial, healing and anti-aging effects.

Nutritional Value

The sea buckthorn is considered, according to several studies, an important ally of our health. The fruits are edible and very nutritious, though very acidic (astringent) and oily, unpleasant if eaten raw, unless they are mixed with sweet juice from apple, grape, etc.
When the fruits are slurried, the juice is separated into three layers: the uppermost is one thin orange cream, a middle layer containing the features of the sea buckthorn (high concentration of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) and the lower layer that is the residue and the juice. It contains fats used for cosmetic purposes, the two upper layers can be used for creams and ointments, and the lower layer can be used as an edible product such as syrup.
The nutrients and the phytochemicals of the fruits of the sea buckthorn have a positive effect against inflammation, cancer or other diseases.

190 beneficial ingredients!

It’s included in the category of “superfoods” and according to Russian and Chinese scientists, the sea buckthorn contains 190 precious nutrients, most of which have strong antioxidant activity. The most drastic (106) substances have been detected in the oil contained in the fruit. According to scienists, the most important scientific finding for sea buckthorn is not only that it contains valuable substances for human health, but also that both their concentrations and their combination have been matched by nature in such way as to offer optimal benefits in the human body.

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Fruits and leaves

The female plants bear orange-yellow fleshy fruits with a diameter of 6-9 mm.The fruits are soft, juicy and rich in oils.

The plant is resistant at very low and very high temperatures(from -45 οC to 45 οC). It has high demands for sunlight while the demands for water are low. Depending on the age of the plant, the variety and the production methods, every tree produces 5-18 kg of fruit and 160 plants per acre are planted. From germination to the start of the fruiting a period of 4-5 years is required and the maximum production is achieved at the 7th- 8th year. From flowering until the fruit ripening mediate 12-15 weeks.

Harvest

The fruit is harvested by hand. The most efficient mechanical method of harvesting, without injuring the bracts, is by using a special shaker. With this method, however, we can only get about 25% of production that could be collected.

Landscaping

The sea buckthorn is a popular choice as an ornamental shrub for landscaping and creating safety hedges, while in various regions of the world is planted because of its rich and powerful root system for air protection and soil stabilization on river banks and on steep slopes. The bracts can be used by florists for decorative purposes. The sea buckthorn cultivation is the regional flora of the Finnish region of Satakunta (Finland). More than 2,200 acres are planted until now.
The sea buckthorn, excluding the uses related to the marketing of its fruit and its leaves, could be used to improve the fertility of degraded lands , to protect the sloping lands from erosion, to plant in fire-stricken areas and to redevelop of industrial areas.

What you’ll find on the market

Dried plants in shops that sell herbs, for decoction or infusion.

Sea Buckthorn oil. It contains nutrients in their most powerful form. It is mainly used to treat skin problems (external use)and to stimulate the circulatory system (dissolved in drinking water or juice).
Concentrated juice produced from pulping the fruits and leaves of Sea Buckthorn. It is suitable for toning and strengthening the body.
Capsules: It is the dry extract of the leaves and fruit of the Sea Buckthorn. Capsules are easier to use and have satisfactory results.

The correct dosage

If you are experiencing a health problem, you should first consult an expert to consult you about the proper dosage for your situation. Otherwise, if you just want to strengthen your body, you should drink a beverage or infusion 2-3 times a day or take one capsule daily. Alternatively, you can drink syrup (2 teaspoons) dissolved in a glass of juice or water 3 times a day. The oil is used only after consulting a specialist.

Products

The fruit of Sea buckthorn can be used in pies, jams, lotions and liquors. The juice or the puree can be used in foods and beverages. For example, in Finland is used as a nutritional ingredient in baby foods. The fruit drinks were among the first products of Sea buckthorn- Hippophaes produced in China. The juice based mainly on Sea buckthorn is very popular in Germany and the Nordic countries. It is a very nutritious beverage, rich in vitamin C and carotenoids.
For cavalry facing extremely low temperatures in India (Siachen), the Agency for Research and Development of Defense Technology founded a factory in the city of Leh to produce a multi-vitamin herbal beverage based on juice sea buckthorn. According to the report of the Development Product Management Production Crops, there is great potential for commercial exploitation and nowadays a lot of people consider it to be the major new trend in the field of food with great health benefits.