If good things come in small packages, the sea buckthorn berry is bursting with goodness! Traditional Chinese medicine has turned to sea buckthorn to treat everything from digestive disorders to respiratory problems. Today, however, sea buckthorn’s vibrant orange fruit and oil have become a popular addition to moisturizers, cleansers, and body oils.
What It Is
Despite its name, sea buckthorn has nothing to do with the ocean. Instead it’s a nutrient-packed shrub that grows throughout the world. Sea buckthorn offers a unique mixture of active compounds, including a variety of carotenoids (such as lycopene and zeaxanthin); tocopherols; sterols; vitamins C, B1, B2, B5, B6, and folate; and flavonoids (such as quercetin and kaempferol). It’s also one of the very few botanicals that provides a wealth of essential fatty acids, including omega-3s, -6s, -7s, and -9s.
Sea buckthorn also contains high concentrations of palmitoleic acid—a fatty acid naturally found in sebum (the oil that lubricates the skin). This unique lipid supports skin cells and aids healing. Studies also show that palmitoleic acid is effective against gram-positive bacteria and may help tame skin infections.
What It Does
Throughout history, sea buckthorn has been revered for its nourishing, regenerative, and restorative properties. It’s been used to treat a wide range of skin ailments, including burns, wounds, eczema, lesions, and sun damage.
Several recent studies conducted in India show that topically-applied sea buckthorn can enhance the healing of both burns and wounds. Not only do these berries help keep infection at bay, sea buckthorn seed oil also provides potent antioxidants that appear to increase glutathione levels and reduce harmful free radicals.
Skin can also benefit when sea buckthorn is taken internally. A small placebo-controlled trial of people with atopic dermatitis found that those taking supplemental sea buckthorn oil had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their skin, which helped relieve their dermatological conditions.
A double-blind trial of 233 volunteers at the University of Turku in Finland found that those who took sea buckthorn experienced a significant drop in C-reactive protein—a marker of inflammation and a risk factor for heart disease. There is also preliminary evidence that sea buckthorn supports healthful cholesterol levels, helps protect the lining of arteries, may dampen the negative impact of high blood pressure, and may play a role in preventing cancer.
Where to Find It
Sea buckthorn can be found in cleansing lotions, soaps, moisturizers, and oils. But you can also benefit from taking this superfruit internally. Find it in capsule form, or enjoy its sweet, tart, and slightly spicy flavor in a daily dose of sea buckthorn juice.
Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil This revitalizing oil nourishes with antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and essential citrus oils that protect skin from free radicals.
Sibu Beauty Seabuckthorn Facial Soap This seabuckthorn-rich facial soap nourishes skin cells, promotes tissue recovery, and moisturizes.
Health King Seabuckthorn Seed Oil Softgels boast a special extraction technology that retains bioactive nutrients, including essential fatty acids and antioxidants.