Sea Buckthorn (genus Hippophaë) belongs to the family Elaeagnaceae. It is a a medium-sized, hardy, deciduous shrub that grows 2 to 6 m in height. It is found along riversides, in mountainous areas, and in sandy and gravel ground at elevations of 3,300 to 4,500 m. The bark is thick and rough. Each leaf is elongate-oblanceolate or elongate-spatulate, green at the top, and silver-ash green on the underside. It flowers in April and the sour, pearl-shaped, yellowish-orange fruits are collected from August to October
The plant is naturally distributed in Central Asia, in Europe from the Black Sea coast to the Alps, and along the shores of northwestern Europe. It also is found in Canada and the United States.
Its botanical name, Hippophae rhamnoides, means “tree that makes the horse shine,“ referring to its ability to improve horses’ health and make their hair shiny and smooth.
Sea buckthorn has a long history of use in folk medicine, dating back thousands of years. Tibetan doctors during the Tang dynasty used it to help relieve various health problems. It is renowned in Ayurvedic medicine as far back as 5000 BC. In Tibet, Russia, Mongolia, and China, sea buckthorn is known to help relieve cough, promote blood circulation, aid digestion, and alleviate pain.
Sea buckthorn is used in a range of products, including oil, juice, cosmetics, shampoos, and as a food additive to candies and jellies.
There are many types of this oil, depending on what part of the plant is used to extract oil.
Sea buckthorn seed oil : This is extracted specifically from the seeds inside the berries.
Sea buckthorn pulp oil : This is taken from the berry pulp, discarding the seeds.
Berry with Seeds oil : This is the most common form of sea buckthorn oil which is made from whole berries, including the seeds.
All these oils have moderate differences in terms of their nutrition value, their color and aroma. They however have quite similar properties because they all come from the same plant.
Sea buckthorn berry has very impressive nutritional profile. It contains over 190 nutrients and phytonutrients, including vitamin C, which is 12 times higher than that of an orange. It also contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, making it a powerful superfood. This berry also has as much vitamin E as wheat germ, three times more vitamin A than carrots, and four times more superoxide dismutase (SOD), an important enzyme that helps prevent free radical damage, than ginseng. Plus, it’s the only plant source that contains omega 3, 6, 9, and 7.
Both sea buckthorn seed and fruit oil are rich in nutrients such as carotenoids, tocotrienols, and tocopherols. They are loaded with antioxidants like phenols, terpenes, and glucosides; vitamins A, C, and E; beta-carotene; plant sterols; and trace elements such as copper, iron, selenium, and manganese.
There is a major difference between the fatty acid composition of the two sea buckthorn oils. The major fatty acids in seed oil are omega 3 and 6, particularly linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid (comprising 70 percent). Meanwhile, the fruit oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids and omega 7 (palmitoleic and palmitic acid).
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