sea buckthorn
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Are you familiar with Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)? This shrub is just as interesting for its decorative uses as for the fruits it produces. It's found throughout Europe and Asia and was introduced into Canada in the early 2000s. The leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits are used as medicine. Let's embark on a journey to unravel the myriad benefits of this remarkable shrub.


Sea Buckthorn is found in multiple forms in Asia and Europe. The bright orange berries are packed with vitamins and nutrients. They are notably richer in vitamin C than oranges and their vitamin E content exceeds that of wheat and soy. They are powerful antioxidants. More and more chefs are using sea buckthorn berries to flavor their dishes. They are cooked in syrup, sauce, jam or sorbet. Their tangy and slightly sweet taste can be surprising if you eat sea buckthorn fruits naturally.

Sea Buckthorn is also very rich in carotenoids and therefore has an impact on skin aging. It is therefore used in the composition of creams and other body products.

In Europe and Asia, Sea Buckthorn oil is used in salves to treat burns, wounds and other skin problems. More and more, we find Sea Buckthorn as a medicinal ingredient in different forms.

Regarding its content of Vitamin C, Aliments du Québec states in their blog "Argousier, la baie aux 1001 vertus," that it contains on average 600 mg of vitamin C for a 100 g serving, which is equivalent to 30 times more than the orange.

Furthermore, Sea Buckthorn is very popular in Asia, where it is widely utilized in the production of several food and medicinal products. An interesting example of its cultural significance: during the Seoul Olympics, Chinese athletes had its juice as their official drink.

In Europe and North America, such as in Quebec, the tendency is to use the fruit as well as the leaves and bark.

According to APAQ - Association des producteur d'argousier du Québec, the benefits of Sea Buckthorn transcend time. For centuries, this plant has attracted constant interest. Sea Buckthorn fruits, particularly the pulp, contain an exceptional richness in vitamins (C, E, A, F, K, P and group B), carotenoids, organic acids and minerals, offering sought-after antioxidant properties (3, 6, 7 and 9). Once prescribed by Tibetan doctors to treat various ailments, from skin conditions to digestive disorders, Sea Buckthorn constituents now occupy a prominent place in the field of health and beauty.

All parts of the shrub, from the bark to the leaves, including the fruits and seeds, are exploited. Sea Buckthorn has become an essential ingredient in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, herbal teas, health drinks, jams, jellies, sweets, liqueurs, animal foods and dyes.


Sea Buckthorn also finds its place in the world of herbal teas, providing an additional health benefit.

Révolution Fermnetation explains that Sea Buckthorn leaf can be used as an alternative to tea for the production of kombucha. Since it is rich in tannins necessary for the proper development of the kombucha mother, it is an excellent option.

To use as a replacement for tea in the preparation of kombucha, count 9g of sea buckthorn leaves per liter of desired kombucha. Steep the leaves for 30 minutes in a small volume of boiling water, then follow the normal recipe instructions.

Sea Buckthorn leaf herbal tea is appreciated for its stimulating properties on the immune system as well as for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant effects.

Published on March 21, 2024, a recent article by Science News titled "Sea Buckthorn Berries are Rich Source of Natural Antioxidants, New Study Shows," sheds light on the groundbreaking research conducted by Renan Danielski, a Ph.D. student at the University of Newfoundland, and Professor Fereidoon Shahidi from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Motivated by the experimental status and limited commercialization of Sea Buckthorn in North America to date, Danielski and Shahidi set out to characterize the unique composition of polyphenols, a class of compounds with antioxidative properties, in Canadian cultivars.

"Understanding how our cultivar compares globally can help communicate the benefits to consumers and establish a market presence," Professor Shahidi said.

The findings highlight the presence of key polyphenolic compounds in Sea Buckthorn pomace and seeds, each boasting potential health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection to anti-inflammatory properties.

Importantly, geographical factors influence the polyphenolic profile of Sea Buckthorn berries, with the researchers identifying several distinct compounds with enhanced bioactivity that are only found in the Sea Buckthorn cultivar grown in Newfoundland.

Moreover, Sea Buckthorn extracts demonstrated promising in-vitro antidiabetic and anti-obesity potential, paving the way for further investigation into their mechanisms and potential therapeutic applications.
"This is a first step in understanding how Sea Buckthorn polyphenols can modulate our physiology in a beneficial manner," Danielski said.

"Future research needs to focus on understanding the mechanisms behind those effects and further experimentation using animal models and humans."

"If these effects are confirmed in-vivo, we can envision the use of Sea Buckthorn polyphenols for therapeutic and pharmacological purposes, aiding in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, obesity, and many other conditions."
The results were published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture here.

In conclusion, the exploration of Sea Buckthorn reveals a wealth of benefits spanning health, nutrition, and cultural significance. From its adaptability to various climates to its rich nutrient profile and diverse applications in culinary, medicinal, and therapeutic realms, it continues to captivate researchers, chefs, and consumers alike. As ongoing research sheds light on its unique properties and potential health-promoting effects, the future holds promising opportunities for harnessing the full potential of this remarkable shrub.