Sea buckthorn oil has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years. Extracted from the seeds, berries, and leaves of the sea buckthorn plant (Hippophae rhamnoides), which grows at high altitudes in the Himalayan region, sea buckthorn has been been called “the holy fruit of the Himalayas.” Whether ingested or applied topically to the skin, sea buckthorn oil is a popular natural remedy in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, and sea buckthorn benefits have been scientifically proven in modern times. Read on to discover the top 12 benefits of sea buckthorn oil.
The Top 12 Sea Buckthorn Benefits
The health benefits provided by sea buckthorn berry oil range from supporting your heart to protecting against stomach ulcers, skin damage, and diabetes. Here are the scientifically-sourced uses of this powerful oil.
1. Rich in Various Nutrients
Sea buckthorn oil is full of nutrients and plant compounds that are beneficial to the human body. Naturally rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from dangerous free radicals (which contribute to aging and diseases like heart disease and cancer), the sea buckthorn’s seeds are particularly high in quercetin, a flavonoid associated with a reduced risk of lower blood pressure and heart disease.
The sea buckthorn berry contains magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus, along with biotin, folate, and the B vitamins B1, B2, B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Sea buckthorn oil also contains two kinds of healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated), and sea buckthorn may be the only known plant that can give you all four of the omega fatty acids (that includes omega-3, -6, -7, and -9). With so many vitamins and minerals in one plant, its oil is powerful for your health on many fronts.
2. Helps Promote Heart Health
Sea buckthorn oil benefits your heart’s health in more ways than one. First, its antioxidant properties can help reduce the risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and blood clots. In one small preliminary cross-over study of 12 men in good health, the half that were given 5 grams of sea buckthorn oil rather than coconut oil had lower markers for blood clots after 4 weeks.
Another study found that ingesting 0.75 milliliters of sea buckthorn oil per day for a month helped to lower blood pressure levels in participants experiencing high blood pressure, and also lower their levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol and their levels of triglycerides.
Yet another review was able to determine that sea buckthorn extract helped reduce cholesterol levels in those with poor heart conditions. By improving cholesterol levels, helping to prevent blood clots, and lowering blood pressure, sea buckthorn oil is a boon to your heart’s health.
3. May Protect You Against Diabetes
Sea buckthorn oil protects against diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels, as shown in several animal studies. It reduces blood sugar levels by upping insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion. A human study revealed that it can work to reduce blood sugar spikes if ingested after a meal rich in carbohydrates. Because a long-term pattern of frequent spikes in blood sugar increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, averting these blood sugar surges is another way this oil can guard against diabetes.
4. Shields Your Skin
The compounds in sea buckthorn oil help to improve your skin’s health when topically applied, a benefit revealed in multiple animal and laboratory studies that showed sea buckthorn oil helped to promote skin regeneration and stimulate wound healing.
Sea buckthorn oil could also contribute to reducing inflammation after UV exposure and protect the skin from dangerous sun damage. Researchers suggest that each of these outcomes are due to sea buckthorn’s omega-3 and omega-7 fat content.
A combination of sea buckthorn oil and water applied topically to the skin daily for 7 weeks helped promote elasticity. There is even more evidence of sea buckthorn oil preventing epidermal dryness and accelerating healing from frostbite, burns, and bedsores. Sea buckthorn seed oil is able to do all of this, without any associated toxicity or side effects.
5. May Help Boost the Immune System
Due to sea buckthorn oil’s flavonoid content, it may help defend against infection. Flavonoids are plant compounds that boost your immune system’s ability to resist illnesses. One laboratory study showed that sea buckthorn oil inhibited the proliferation of E. coli, the leading cause of food poisoning, along with possible protection against the viruses herpes, HIV, and influenza. With sea buckthorn oil’s antioxidant content factored in as well, sea buckthorn products are excellent at defending the body against invading microbes.
6. May Help Support Liver Health
There is evidence that sea buckthorn oil may contribute to liver health thanks to its content of carotenoids, vitamin E, and healthy fats, which all work to defend the liver’s cells from destructive influences. One study showed significant improvement in the markers of liver function in test animals, while a human study revealed that those with cirrhosis (advanced liver disease) who took 15 grams of sea buckthorn each day for 6 months also experienced increased blood markers for liver function over the placebo group.
In two more clinical trials, participants with non-alcoholic liver disease who were given between 0.5 and 1.5 grams of sea buckthorn per day saw improved levels of liver enzymes and triglycerides and healthier blood cholesterol numbers.
7. May Have Anti-Cancer Effects
The plant components in sea buckthorn oil may contain anti-cancer properties due to the protective effects of its antioxidants and flavonoids. The flavonoid quercetin, for example, appears to exterminate cancer cells, while the antioxidants in sea buckthorn like vitamin E and various carotenoids offer protection against this insidious disease. A few animal and test-tube studies have shown the effects of sea buckthorn extract working to prevent the spread and proliferation of cancer cells, all with significantly fewer adverse side effects than those associated with chemotherapy drugs.
8. May Improve Digestion
Animal studies of sea buckthorn extract have shown beneficial effects on treating and preventing stomach ulcers, which leads to improved digestion and gut health. There is evidence that CO2 from sea buckthorn seeds and pulp oils may help prevent and treat gastric ulcers, with the prophylactic efficacies of sea buckthorn oil performing well in comparison to standard drugs for gastric ulceration and erosions.
9. May Help Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause
Sea buckthorn has been shown to help reduce vaginal dryness and to serve as a safe alternative for postmenopausal women who, for whatever health-related reason, are unable to take estrogen. A beneficial trend was noticed in a study that included 98 participants who consumed 3 grams of sea buckthorn oil or a placebo each day. Those taking sea buckthorn oil had an improved vaginal health index over the placebo group.
10. May Help Treat Dry Eyes
A double-blind, randomized, parallel trial of men and women between the ages of 20 and 75 showed that 2 grams of sea buckthorn taken each day for 3 months between fall and winter reduced eye burning and redness. The conclusion reached was that sea buckthorn oil positively affected the dry eye symptoms of the participants.
11. May Work to Lower Inflammation Levels
Animal research has shown sea buckthorn leaf extracts may help reduce joint pain and inflammation. The data led researchers to conclude that sea buckthorn leaf extract possesses significant anti-inflammatory activity, as well as the potential to act as a treatment for the symptoms of arthritis.
12. May Reduce the Symptoms of Depression
Studies done on animal models have revealed evidence that sea buckthorn oil could have an antidepressant effect. While the effects of sea buckthorn have not been tested in humans, researchers nevertheless suggest that the antidepressant-like effects of sea buckthorn extract seem to be mediated through an interaction with the dopamine and serotonin-regulating systems, and they encourage future studies be done in the area to confirm.
Sea Buckthorn: Improve Your Health Inside and Out
Herbal remedies and dietary supplements like sea buckthorn oil can often supply health benefits equivalent to pharmaceutical drugs without as many of the adverse side effects. The health effects of sea buckthorn oil are still being scientifically studied to unearth the depths of their benefits. So far your liver, heart health, and immune system can be improved by adding sea buckthorn tea or sea buckthorn juice to your daily regimen, and your skin too may benefit from applying it topically. Consult with a health care professional if you have any questions about sea buckthorn’s potential impact on your health.