July 29 2021
Sea buckthorn or Hippophae rhamnoides, also called as the holy fruit of Himalayas is a thorny bush filled with berries found throughout Central Asia and Europe. Sea buckthorn has long been found to be beneficial in various conditions such as promoting skin health, preventing heart disease and in delaying the signs of ageing and has found extensive use in the traditional Chinese form of medicine mainly due to its antioxidant properties and the presence of abundant vitamins and flavonoids as its constituent elements.
Chemical composition of sea buckthorn and their properties
Sea buckthorn consists of many vitamins such as vitamin A which helps to maintain oral hygiene and healthy bones, vitamin B12 which promotes the production of energy and red blood cell formation, vitamin C which enables wound healing, healthy teeth and gums, vitamin K which plays an important role in the mechanism of blood clotting and stops bleeding. All these vitamins are extracted from the berries of sea buckthorn.
Minerals found in sea buckthorn include lycopene which has antioxidant properties and protects DNA and proteins, potassium which is needed for fluid balance and adequate muscle function, calcium which helps in the formation of healthy bones, teeth and regulates blood pressure, magnesium which is essential for making proteins and for optimal health of the immune system, iron which is needed for the transport of oxygen throughout the body, phosphorus which is essential for the maintenance of body pH balance.
The flavonoids found in sea buckthorn are hippophaeoides, catechin, epicatechin, Gallocatechin and epigallocatechin all of which are extracted from the leaves of the sea buckthorn whereas hippophins are found in the leaves. The fatty acids which are the components of sea buckthorn include palmitic, oleic and linoleic fatty acids all of which are found in the berries of sea buckthorn.
The mechanism of action of the constituents of sea buckthorn like flavonoids is their property of free radical scavenging which is responsible for the sea buckthorn’s protective action against oxidative stress which is essential in wound healing and in combating stress-induced conditions. Other molecules derived from fatty acids like eicosanoids and vitamins like carotenoids and tocopherols help in easing inflammation and promote the process of tissue repair.
The uses of sea buckthorn are
- Since sea buckthorn is abundantly rich in various vitamins and minerals which are full of antioxidants and play an important role in protecting the body against ageing and diseases like heart disease. The seeds and leaves of sea buckthorn have a component called quercetin, a flavonoid which helps in lowering the blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease. The berries of sea buckthorn contain all the essential minerals and it is one of the few plant foods which can supply all four omega fatty acids like omega -3, omega- 6, omega -7 and omega- 9.
- Sea buckthorn oil promotes heart health due to its antioxidant activity which reduces the risk of heart disease by preventing the formation of blood clots, regulates blood pressure in hypertensive patients and lowers the blood cholesterol levels in the body by reducing the amounts of triglycerides and bad or LDL cholesterol.
- Sea buckthorn oil helps in preventing diabetes. It reduces blood sugar levels by promoting insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. It also minimises spikes in blood sugar levels after a carb-rich meal which are essential in preventing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Components of sea buckthorn are known to enhance skin health on topical application by stimulating skin regeneration and promoting wound healing. It also helps in reducing inflammation that can occur as a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation and protects the skin against sun damage which are a result of the action of sea buckthorn’s constituents omega-7 and omega-3 fatty acids. They also play a role in preventing skin dryness, help in healing burn wounds faster, alleviate frostbite and bedsores and also promote skin elasticity.
- Sea buckthorn may boost the immune system by protecting the body against infections because of the action of its flavonoid content which produces immunity by increasing resistance to illnesses. In some studies, sea buckthorn was also found to offer protection against conditions like influenza, herpes and HIV.
- Sea buckthorn contains fats, vitamin E and carotenoids which help in protecting the liver cells from any kind of damage and promote a healthy liver by significantly improving the markers of liver function in conditions like liver cirrhosis. In people with non - alcoholic liver disease, sea buckthorn improves good cholesterol and triglyceride levels and promotes the activity of liver enzymes.
- The other potential benefits of sea buckthorn are that they improve digestion by preventing and treating stomach ulcers. Alvizia healthcare manufactured supplements of sea buckthorn may reduce vaginal dryness and are effective in relieving the symptoms associated with menopause in women who cannot ingest estrogen.
- Studies show that sea buckthorn is also beneficial in reducing eye redness and burning and the leaf extracts of sea buckthorn help in reducing joint inflammation. Some experiments also showed its anti antidepressant properties.
- A herbal preparation with sea buckthorn showed marked improvement in the symptoms of swelling, lack of appetite and low urination thereby preventing kidney disease. The extracts of sea buckthorn leaves and berries play a major role in improving word recall, attention span, mood swings, increasing production of inflammatory and oxidative markers thereby protecting the brain against oxidative damage and significantly reversing symptoms of brain degeneration.
- Sea buckthorn extract decreases the effects of toxins that are known to suppress the immune system in combination with the fibre called glucomannan. Experiments conducted on sea buckthorn leaf extract show that it stops the growth of a vast number of potentially harmful bacteria like Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus.
The products manufactured from sea buckthorn include extracted berries which can be made into a juice which are later filtered to produce oil. The leaves contain flavonoids which can be made into tea. The seeds can be processed into highly concentrated oil which is the major ingredient in many cosmetic products like skin creams and soaps.