“ It’s a good thing that beauty is only skin deep or I’d be rotten to the core.”
– Phillis Diller
For centuries the herbal buckthorn oil has been used in Asia and Europe and is gaining popularity in the U.S. This is because of its many benefits, especially its potential anti-aging action. Even though the name indicates it’s from the sea, it isn’t. This oil is actually derived from sea buckthorn, a shrub that belongs to the Elaeagnaceae family and grows in the mountainous and coastal areas of Asia and Europe. Hippophae rhamnoides is the botanical name and means “tree that makes the horse shine”. They are referring to this plant’s ability to improve horses’ health and make their hair shiny and smooth, and also to cure blindness in horses.
Seed oil and fruit oil are two different kinds of sea buckthorn oil. Both of them are derived from the small, nutrient-rich and yellow-orange berries that are only about 1/3 the size of a blueberry. Oil is extracted from these small dark seeds and the fruit oil comes from the fleshy pulp.
They do have some characteristics in their nutrient profit. Fruit oil is dark red or red orange and quite viscous, and the seed oil is yellow or pale orange and more fluid. Both of these oils have a strong and musky scent.
There is a long history of use in folk medicine, dating back thousands of years, for the sea buckthorn. It was used to help relieve various health problems. It is also known to have helped relieve cough, promote blood circulation, digestion and alleviate pain and used in Tibet, Russia, Mongolia and China. This plant use is traced back as far as 5,000 BC.
This oil is well known today for the healthy and rejuvenating effects it has on the skin. It’s a great natural cleanser and exfoliator when used topically, and can help heal burns, cuts, wounds, sunburn, rashes and other skin damages. Daily use of the sea buckthorn helps to slow down the signs of aging by nourishing the tissues in your skin and body.
Sea buckthorn contains over 190 nutrients and phyfonutrients, including vitamin C, which is 12 times higher than that of an orange. High amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein are also contained in the oil, making it a superfood. There is as much vitamin E as in wheat germ, 3 times more vitamin A than carrots and 4 times more super-oxide dismutase, which is an important enzyme that helps prevent free radical damage. It is the only plant source that contains omega-3, 6, 9 and 7.
Some benefits of sea buckthorn oil are to promote skin health, help with weight management, helps prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, promotes healing of ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux disease, relieves dry eyes and prevents liver damage.
Always consult your doctor but it is said that you can take sea buckthorn oil either internally or as a topical, to receive the benefits. Apply as a topical on the affected areas. Internally, the dose is usually 5 ml taken two to three times daily, but consult with your heath care provider before self-dosing. Use caution when using sea buckthorn oil, especially if you are dealing with specific health conditions. This oil is NOT recommended for those with diseases of the intestines, kidney or liver, and it is not recommended for children ages 12 and younger. Do not use for more than 3 months, as there are some reports of adverse effects in those who used for prolonged periods. Also, your urine may turn a dark yellow or reddish color, with a slight musty smell, but usually harmless.
There may be some side effects in some people as diarrhea, abdominal spasms and other gastrointestinal problems. Taking this oil in high amounts may lead to dehydration and loss of beneficial electrolytes.
Taking sea buckthorn oil might promote blood flow in the veins and arteries, so if you are taking any vasodilator medication, do not use this oil. Blood sugar-lowering properties are also an effect, so if you are taking insulin or diabetes medications, this oil should be used with extreme caution.
-Dr Fredda Branyon