Sea buckthorn has become extremely popular for a variety of reasons, including its sea buckthorn oil benefits. However, sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is not a new invention as a natural remedy. For thousands of years, sea buckthorn berries have been used as a natural medicine against various health issues and illnesses. Sea buckthorn has been a popular remedy in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines, as well as in the era of Alexander the Great. If you want to learn all the interesting facts about sea buckthorn, you can read our previous post here.
In this article you will learn about the following topics:
- What is sea buckthorn oil and how is it made?
- Alternatives to sea buckthorn
- Health benefits of sea buckthorn oil
Sea buckthorn oil – what it is and how it is made
Sea buckthorn is very rich in omega fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 7, and 9), vitamins (especially vitamin C), antioxidants (e.g. tocopherols), minerals, and amino acids. As with any other fruit, different parts of the sea buckthorn contain different nutrients and at various concentrations. One such example is the sea buckthorn oil, which can be extracted from two parts of the berry, the pulp, and the seeds. Briefly, the pulp is separated from the seeds during the processing and then both parts are dried and processed to extract the oil. Both the sea buckthorn pulp and seed oils contain most of the healthy omega fatty acids; however, they have a different nutritional profile overall. For example, certain vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids are only present in the pulp oil and not the seed oil, whereas other nutrients are only present in the seed oil.
Alternatives of sea buckthorn oil
One critical thing to know is that the healthiest and most holistic way to enjoy the amazing health benefits of sea buckthorn is often not in the format of oil or just one part of the fruit. The main cons of using sea buckthorn oils only are:
- Highly processed products, which often contain preservatives and fillers
- Using only parts of the berry instead of the whole berry, which gives the most comprehensive health benefits
- The quality of sea buckthorn berries used in the process may be low and country of origin unclear
- Mixing sea buckthorn oils with other oils to make up for the final volume
To choose a better alternative to sea buckthorn oil, try to find a product that uses the whole sea buckthorn berry instead of only the seeds or the pulp. In fact, all parts of the berry have their unique nutritional value, and only by enjoying all parts, you get the maximum benefit. Options that usually use the whole berry are:
- Whole sea buckthorn berries: Depending on where you live, you can ovvasionally buy fresh or frozen sea buckthorn berries. While this is the most natural way to enjoy them, it is quite rare to find them fresh or frozen.
- Sea buckthorn powder: Freeze-drying and powdering whole sea buckthorns (not from juice or parts of the fruit) immediately after they had been picked is one of the best ways to preserve their nutritional value and taste. Wild sea buckthorn powder is a sustainable choice, too. When the berries grow wild, no irrigation or pesticides are present. Furthermore, the powder requires no refrigeration, and its shelf life is long, minimizing food waste.
- Sea buckthorn juice: When juice is made by using the whole sea buckthorn berries and with no added sugar, it is also a good choice for enjoying its health benefits to the maximum. Unfortunately, many sea buckthorn juices have a lot of added sugar and/or preservatives, making them a less healthy option.
If you would like to find out more about its alternatives, read our post about the best sea buckthorn products, including their pros and cons and recommendations for what to choose.
Sea buckthorn oil benefits
Below are 5 benefits of sea buckthorn oil:
1. Improves skin and hair health
Sea buckthorn oil is rich in omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids and other oils that play an important role in keeping our skin and hair healthy. The human skin comprises lipids and one of those is palmitoleic acid or omega 7. Sea buckthorn oil is one of the very few foods that contain this lipid. Omega 7 plays an important role in skin regeneration, wound healing, skin dryness, and the overall health of our skin. In addition, sea buckthorn oil helps support our hair’s structure and regeneration. More specifically, it helps with hair recovery issues, dryness, and the overall smoothness of the hair. Because of its unique health properties, sea buckthorn oil is a very common active ingredient in cosmetics and skin and hair care products too.
2. Boosts immune system
Thanks to its extremely high vitamin C content (4-5 times higher than orange) as well as excellent flavonoid and antioxidant contents, sea buckthorn oil is beneficial in boosting your immune system. Flavonoids and antioxidants are compounds that improve resistance to illnesses and reduce inflammation in your body. Vitamin C is a key player in supporting and boosting your immune system, as well as fighting infections and microorganisms that enter your body.
3. Good for heart health
Studies have shown that sea buckthorn oil may protect the heart in many ways. Firstly, the sea buckthorn seeds are rich in quercetin, which helps lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Secondly, the high levels of omegas help with blood cholesterol level regulation, which is vital to heart health. Thirdly, the high levels of antioxidants help reduce stress and inflammation of the body, which is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular conditions.
4. Improves digestive health
Having a happy gut makes a big difference in your daily life. Most people have experienced some sort of digestive issues, for a short or extended period of time. Everyone agrees those are not fun times. Sea buckthorn berries are rich in healthy oils, natural fibers, and many more micronutrients that are essential for the wellbeing of your gut. Several studies have shown that sea buckthorn oil can help with chronic gastric ulcers, digestive and metabolic conditions, autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and other diseases of the stomach, intestines, and liver.
5. Supports liver health
Your liver may not be top of your mind every day, but its health is vital to you. It is the filter of the body that regulates which nutrients stay and which toxins are removed. By including sea buckthorn and sea buckthorn oil in your diet you help your liver to stay healthy. This is mainly due to the high amount of carotenoids, antioxidants, healthy fatty acids, and vitamin E that are present in sea buckthorn oil. By consuming sea buckthorn oil regularly, it helps protect your liver from any toxins and cellular damage.
The take-away message from this article is that sea buckthorn is an amazing berry with remarkable health benefits. It is no wonder it has been used as a natural medicine for thousands of years.
In conclusion, to enjoy the full benefits of sea buckthorn oil, the most important thing to bear in mind is to choose a product that:
- Is minimally processed
- It comes from whole sea buckthorn berries instead of parts of the berries only
- Contains no other ingredients than sea buckthorn berries
- Coming from a trustworthy country of origin
- Is preferably made of wild berries instead of cultivated ones
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