Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) also called as Sandthorn or Seaberry is a thorny deciduous shrub with narrow glossy leaves and orange berries.
The growing popularity of this shrub is mainly due to its high nutritional value and potential health benefits of the berry, leaves and other parts.
There are about 7 species in the genus Hippophae almost all of them are referred as Sea Buckthorn. However, the species Hippophae rhamnoides is normally referred to as common sea buckthorn.
Sea buckthorn is being used since ancient times in Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian traditions for therapeutic purposes.
Native to Asia and Europe, Sea Buckthorn mainly grows in the temperate regions around the world mainly in Mongolia, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and several European countries.
Sea Buckthorn Benefits
It can cure gastric Ulcers
Gastric ulcers can sometimes be painful and are upsetting due to their burning sensation and other symptoms.
Sea buckthorn can help you in curing and preventing the gastric ulcers.
Research conducted by administering the Co2 extracted seed oil and pulp oil of the fruit had proven that sea buckthorn has protective and curative effects against gastric ulcers (1).
Another study conducted to know the efficacy of sea buckthorn seed oil against gastric ulceration and erosion had proven that the seed oil is better than the several standard drugs tested (2).
Can help you to fight against Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is a tropical disease caused by the dengue virus that can cause high fever, severe joint and muscle pains, fatigue, Nausea, Skin rash, and low blood pressure.
Dengue is a severe problem in the tropical countries because it can be transmitted by some Andes mosquitoes. The leaf extract of Sea Buckthorn is known to possess anti-dengue activity.
The anti-dengue activity was evaluated by testing the sea buckthorn leaf extract on the type 2 dengue virus affected cells and was successful in maintaining the viability of the cells when compared with the anti-viral drug Ribavirin (3).
Great source of Antioxidants
The antioxidant properties of sea buckthorn are a boon for the human health. Intake of sea buckthorn may help you in maintaining adequate amounts of antioxidants in your body.
Anti-oxidants help us in improving our health by neutralizing the damage caused by free radicles.
Sea buckthorn berries contain flavonoids, phenolic acids, and catechins and sea buckthorn oil (both pulp and seed) contain carotenoids, fatty acids, tocopherols, phytosterols and several other compounds known to exhibit antioxidant properties (4,5).
Can help in the treating coronary heart diseases
Sea buckthorn is a potential plant capable of treating cardiovascular diseases.
The bioactive compounds present in the fruits, leaves, and oils like the flavonoids, carotenoids, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols are known to exhibit positive effects on the cardiovascular health.
The Unsaturated fatty acids present in the sea buckthorn are known to reduce bad cholesterol in the body (8).
The flavonoids present could prevent ischemia, a symptom that arises due to the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels, which can cause restricted blood flow and can further lead to a heart attack. The antioxidant nature of the sea buckthorn also plays a major role in protecting the heart health (9,10).
It has Wound Healing Properties
Sea buckthorn is used as folklore medicine in several regions of Asia and it is considered as an effective medicine in treating wounds.
Sea buckthorn berry is a great source of this Vitamin-C, which is a key contributory factor in the wound healing process. Vitamin-C also acts as an important co-factor for several enzymes which control Collagen levels at a wound site.
In a study conducted on rats using CO2 extracted sea buckthorn seed oil had proven that the seed oil had increased the wound healing activity with no side effects or toxicity (11).
In another study, topical administration of flavones on wounds of rats has resulted in improved wound healing activity. In addition, flavones of sea buckthorn possessed antioxidant property that contributed to the healing process (12).
It can improve liver health and can treat several liver diseases
Sea buckthorn is taken a health tonic in China and Magnolia since ancient times.
It is a great source of vitamin A precursor’s and can help in improving liver health.
Clinical studies conducted on sea buckthorn had proven that the extract is capable of improving the liver functionality and also said that sea buckthorn is a hopeful drug for treating liver fibrosis (13).
It has Antihypertensive properties
Uncontrolled high blood pressure may lead to several complications like Heart and Kidney diseases and pose a serious threat to life expectancy.
There are several natural sources that can create a positive impact in maintaining healthy blood pressure, Sea buckthorn is one such natural source that can help you.
The bioactive constituents present in Seabuckthorn known to exhibit Antihypertensive activity.
A study conducted on high sucrose-fed rats had shown that flavones extracted from sea buckthorn seed residue had suppressed the hyper insulin and lipid levels and also controlled angiotensin levels in the bloodstream (14).
It helps in strengthening the Immune system
Sea buckthorn is a great source of immunity building factors.
It contains considerable amounts of minerals like Zinc, Iron, Selenium and Manganese along with several bioactive compounds like Flavonoid’s, Phenols and glucosides that are known to exhibit immunity boosting properties (15).
It has Antiviral Activity
Sea buckthorn leaves can act as a great anti-viral agent. This is due to the presence of great amounts of Ellagitannin and Gallotannins that are known to exhibit potential anti-viral activity.
The leaf extracts of the sea buckthorn are also used to prepare a phyto drug called Hyporamin, which is used for the treatment of influenza A & B, Simple Herpes Virus, Adenovirus, and several other respiratory viruses like paramyxoviruses (16).
It can treat several Skin Problems
Sea buckthorn is great in treating several skin problems and is being used since ancient times in Tibet and Mongolia for treating several skin diseases and to heal wounds.
Studies conducted had proven that sea buckthorn can be used to treat several skin problems like Atopic Dermatitis, Skin infections, scalds, and burns.
The sea buckthorn Fruits contains high amounts of fatty acids in its oils. It also contains several phytochemicals and peculiar types of fatty acids like palmitoleic acids and linolenic acids that can nourish the skin and can treat several skin diseases (17).
It has Anti-Inflammatory properties
Presence of several bioactive compounds in the Leaf and oil extract of sea buckthorn contribute to Anti-inflammatory nature.
In-vitro studies have revealed that seed and pulp oil contains bioactive compounds like carotenoids and phytosterols that are known to exhibit Anti-inflammatory activity (18).
In a study conducted, administration of sea buckthorn leaf extract to an Adjuvant-induced Arthritis rat model has shown to significantly reduce inflammation when compared to the untreated animals. This suggests sea buckthorn can be a potential source in treating Arthritis (19).
Has Anti-cancer properties
Sea buckthorn looks like a promising natural source in treating cancer. Sea buckthorn is known to exhibit Anti-cancer activity in different ways by Eliminating free radicals, arresting the cell cycle and also by inhibiting Oncogenes.
Studies conducted had proven that sea buckthorn extract had inhibited the proliferation of prostate and breast cancer cell lines.
In another study, sea buckthorn juice also exhibited the Anti-cancer properties by inhibiting the growth of human gastric carcinoma cells and lymphatic leukemia (20).
Research is still ongoing to know the full potential of sea buckthorns anti anticancer activity.
It possesses Antimicrobial activity
Sea buckthorn is rich in several bioactive compounds that are known to exhibit antimicrobial properties.
Several studies indicate that sea buckthorn exhibits antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Studies have shown that sea buckthorn leaf extracts work effective against several pathogenic bacteria like Bacillus cereus that can cause foodborne illness, Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is known to cause respiratory and urinary infections, Staphylococcus aureus that causes pneumonia and several other infections and Enterococcus faecalis that can cause UTI (21).
The seed extract of sea buckthorn had shown antibacterial activity against Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica and also significant antifungal activity against Mucor and Tilletia fungus (22,23)
It can exhibit hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic properties
A Study conducted on mice using the aqueous extract of sea buckthorn seed residues has shown that the extract processes hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic properties.
The Study also said that the extract had lowered the serum glucose, nitric oxide, and triglyceride levels significantly and increased superoxide bismutase activity along with glutathione levels (24).