By Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.
First, a disclaimer: I must inform you that nothing that follows should be construed to imply that this plant, nor its constituents, cures or prevents any disease. Also, this article is not a substitute for going to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis of your health concerns. Before you use any nutritional supplement or herbal remedy, see your physician to make certain it is safe for you to do so, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, very old or very young.
Okay. With that out of the way…
Sea buckthorn (Dutch: duindoorn) has been on the berry landscape for thousands of years now, but only recently recognized as a veritable superberry in the last decade.
I heard of it five years ago because a hypnotherapist friend of mine spread a rumor about Omega-7 fatty acid (FA). The rumor was: If you are a woman suffering from dry vagina and subsequently painful sexcapades, that Omega-7 is the FA for you. This fatty acid, the rumor purported, is a handy-dandy natural lube manufacturing enhancer. In other words… well… it helps you get wet.
Being a doctor and a woman in the harrowing throes of perimenopause at the time, I was intrigued; so I did a bit of research on Omega-7. It turns out that the easiest, best way to obtain the benefits of Omega-7 is from the sea buckthorn plant.
Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is native to Europe and Asia’s high temperate zones, and it is very high in everything that makes a food a superfood.
There are documented benefits in more than 130 scientific studies worldwide on sea buckthorn oil. It turns out that the sea buckthorn is a very versatile superberry! In fact, it is one of the most nutrient-rich berries known to mankind.
Apparently, it helps coordinate the reproductive system with the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems (resulting in a happy, lubricated vagina), and helps with menopausal changes. It is also useful in combating urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and related gynecological problems.
But wait… there’s more!
Sea buckthorn is said (by almost every other country except the United States) to diminish inflammation, is an antimicrobial, a pain reliever, and promoter of tissue regeneration. It is good for heart and vascular health and preventing cardiovascular disease. It balances cholesterol and lipid content in the blood and thus helps prevent fatty liver. It helps to increase appetite and stomach digestion, is great for skin health and acne, and is a powerful natural antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory.
It is a natural stool-softener and is used in Asia for gastrointestinal disease, autoimmune diseases, respiratory disease, and skin disease. It has anti-aging properties and is commonly used overseas to smooth wrinkles and discoloration of the skin. It is wonderful for balancing hormones and the nervous system. If you have cold hands and feet, sea buckthorn seems to be good for preventing chilblains. It also seems to be great for eye health.
It has been used medicinally in China and Russia since 1977 to treat the adverse symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation; including oral mucositis, vaginal mucositis, cervical erosion, radiation damage, burns, scalds, duodenal ulcers, gastric ulcers, and skin ulcers caused by malnutrition. Additionally, the leaves and bark have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.
Aside from the alleged encouragement of vaginal mucosa lubrication-producing qualities, clearing these health concerns would make you feel pretty sexy anyway… don’t you think?
This is a great food for all ages, as it contains more than 100 nutrients and extra-nutritional constituents that are normally in limited quantities in food, such as flavonoids, linolenic acid, glucosides, phenols, polyphenols, terpenes, and carotene.
The berry pulp and the seeds are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins (very high in A, C and E), minerals (including trace minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, selenium), which all neutralize free-radicals (are anti-oxidants).
They have lots of omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids which make them a viable alternative to fish oil for vegetarians. However, like the other good vegetarian source of omegas — flax seed, the time between harvest and consumption is short. Unless prepared in a preservative matrix, the berries and seeds need to be flash-frozen, refrigerated, and their oils need to be consumed within two weeks of harvest.
It does have a nice amount of Vitamin K per 100 gram serving: 110-230 mg in the seed oil and 54-59 mg in the pulp oil. Vitamin K – in particular, Vitamin K2-7 – is very important to help Vitamin D3 absorb properly.
A bit of trivia: A legend says the ancient Greeks found that sick horses that were “let out to pasture” surprisingly regained their health and vitality by eating this berry. They named the shrub Hippophae rhamnoides L., meaning “trees that make horses shine,” and consequently used sea buckthorn leaves as a constituent in the diet of racehorses. According to another legend, Pegasus used sea buckthorn leaves to help him fly. Additionally, it is called “the Holy Fruit of the Himalayas” in Tibet.
You can get these sea buckthorn goodies and many other fine supplements in your friendly neighborhood supplement shop. (Remember: in Dutch, the name is duindoorn.)
Happy lubricating! (Did I just say that?)