Sea Buckthorn: Anti-Inflammation & Cancer Fighting SuperFruit

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Say hello to Sea Buckthorn, the cancer assassin & agent 007 of the superfruit world.   Tweet This.

Super Powers & Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn

  1. Anti-Aging
  2. Anti-Inflammatory
  3. Cancer Assassin
  4. Speeds recovery of skin conditions
  5. Protects against cardiovascular diseases
  6. Prevents/treats liver injury

Secret Compounds in Sea Buckthorn

Vitamin C - boosts immunity and helps the body fight diseases and cancer more effectively. Also helps repair damaged tissues, the formation of blood vessels and the absorption of iron. (Sea Buckthorn has 12 times the amount you get in the equivalent amount of oranges).

Vitamin E – has well known anti-cancer properties.

Kaempferol - has well known anti-cancer properties.

Antioxidants - prevent volatile free radical reactions like oxidative damage, mutations, and ultimately cancer.

Carotenoids - organic compounds that exhibit anti-oxidant properties in the human body.

Flavonoids - a special group of antioxidants.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids – Among other things, they have well known anti-cancer properties…notice a trend here?

Identifying the Sea Buckthorn

The sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a shrub that is native to wide areas of Europe and Asia. It is a largely coastal plant that can also grow in semi desert conditions as it is tolerant to harsh conditions. The sea buckthorn produces edible berries which are orange in colour when ripe.

The berries are soft, juicy when ripe and they are also abundant in many oils which the human body requires. The berries are small (about a quarter of an inch in diameter) while the plant is riddled with thorns. This often makes the plant trickier to harvest and because of this, the berries are not commonly found in shops.

As you will soon see, the sea buckthorn is a highly potent fruit. It has an extremely high concentration of nutrients that lends it the super fruit moniker. That being said, you’ll need a bit of luck to find it. Most likely due to its challenging taste and difficulty to harvest, the sea buckthorn is not a hugely popular fruit nor is it widely available.

You’re more likely to find juices or extracts of the fruit and you don’t need me to tell you that those are never as good as the real thing. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some sea buckthorn regularly, by all means do so! If you can’t, don’t despair as there are many other super fruits out there. Remember; the best super fruit is the one you eat regularly!

The Nom-Nom Factor

The fruit itself is edible and is densely packed with nutrients. There’s one problem. It doesn’t taste all that great! You see, the berries of the sea buckthorn are highly astringent (that dry feeling you get in your mouth when you eat an unripe fruit) and acidic. This makes them pretty sour.

They also have an unusually oily consistency for a fruit. Combine all this together and you have a pretty interesting flavour. Of course, for the sea buckthorn fruit to be a classed a ‘super fruit’, it has to exhibit exceptional nutritional content and a long list of potential health benefits. Does it make the cut?

The Sea Buckthorn: Plato’s Favorite Fruit?

Who knows?! After all, the botanical name for this fruit is derived from the latin “hippo” + “phaos”. When roughly translated, this means “shiny horse”. Sounds weird, neigh? When our ancient Greek scholars wrote about it, they commented on the fruits dramatic affect on their horse’s skin and coat.

Since everyone steals borrows from the Greeks, it didn’t take long for this little superfruit to rack up some frequent flyer miles. The Chinese began investigating its human medicinal properties in the 8th century. Later, the Russians adopted it for their own, calling it the “Siberian Pineapple” (because of the fruit’s taste) in the 1940s. Today, the fruit is cultivated and harvested around the globe.

Sea Buckthorn Research from the Lab

The stand out vitamin in sea buckthorn is of course our resident favorite: Vitamin C. On average, sea buckthorn berries contain just under  700mg of vitamin C per 100g. That’s over 12 times the amount you get in the equivalent amount of oranges. Some varieties can contain as much as 1550mg per 100g of fruit and that’s an absolutely staggering amount.

It comes as no surprise that sea buckthorns have a wide variety of applications. The berries have an unusually high saturated and poly unsaturated fat content which can be used to create various creams and cosmetics.

Anti-Aging. Sea buckthorn berries are also a great source of carotenoids which are organic compounds that exhibit anti-oxidant properties in the human body. It has been shown that populations which consume a diet high in carotenoids suffer fewer illnesses, are generally healthier and actually live longer. This of course, is likely due to the fact that anti-oxidants protect the body from damage and life threatening illnesses like cancer that result from that damage. Carotenoids also play highly essential roles in preventing degenerative eye conditions.

Anti-inflammatory. Sea buckthorn extracts were also found to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties in the human body. This means that people who suffer from inflammatory conditions like arthritis may find their symptoms soothed/off-set by factoring sea buckthorn berries/juice into their diets. It is also widely used in Asian traditional medicine as treatment for diarrhoea and pain.

Cancer Assassin. Because of the high anti-oxidant content of the fruit, it has been shown to have extraordinary anti-cancer properties as well. At least one study involving human subjects revealed that juice from the Sea Buckthorn can kill and prevent certain types of gastric cancers. Furthermore, numerous studies with rats yield identical results in the presence of even more types of cancer.

Speeds recovery of skin conditions. In humans, seed oil from the Sea Buckthorn has been found speed recovery for conditions like burns, eczema, skin damaging effects of sun, therapeutic radiation treatment and cosmetic laser surgery, and wounds that have trouble healing.

Protects against cardiovascular diseases. Arterial thrombosis (strokes), coronary disease, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can all be counted among conditions that appear to respond well to the secret compounds in this fruit.

Prevents/treats liver injury. Clinical evidence suggests the fruit can be useful in both the prevention and treatment of liver scarring caused by alcohol-induced cirrhosis and other chronic liver conditions.

Sea Buckthorn Research References

  1. “Sea-Buckthorn – A Promising Multi-Purpose Crop For Saskatchewan”. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
  2. Zeb A. Anticarcinogenic potential of lipids from Hippophae–evidence from the recent literature. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jan-Mar;7(1):32-5. Review. PubMed PMID: 16629511.
  3. Guliyev VB, Gul M, Yildirim A. Hippophae rhamnoides L.: chromatographic methods to determine chemical composition, use in traditional medicine and pharmacological effects. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2004 Dec 5;812(1-2):291-307. Review. PubMed PMID: 15556505.
  4. Beveridge T, Li TS, Oomah BD, Smith A. Sea buckthorn products: manufacture and composition. J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Sep;47(9):3480-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 10552673.
  5. Aitzetmuller K, Xin Y. [Sea buckthorn and sea buckthorn oils--recent developments in China and central Asia]. Nahrung. 1999 Aug;43(4):228-32. Review. German. PubMed PMID: 10481819.
  6. Pashchuk AIu, Kostrikova EV, Shraĭber MS. [Drug preparations of sea buckthorn (a review of the literature)]. Vrach Delo. 1979 Sep;(9):3-7. Review. Russian. PubMed PMID: 386616.
  7. Majewska I, Gendaszewska-Darmach E. Proangiogenic activity of plant extracts in accelerating wound healing – a new face of old phytomedicines. Acta Biochim Pol. 2011;58(4):449-60. Epub 2011 Oct 27. Review. PubMed PMID: 22030557.
  8. Bath-Hextall FJ, Jenkinson C, Humphreys R, Williams HC. Dietary supplements for established atopic eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;2:CD005205. Review. PubMed PMID: 22336810.