When we hear the name “sea buckthorn,” images of a mysterious plant with magical properties that grow in the depths of the ocean spring to mind, however, sea buckthorn does not come from the sea. It is a shrub that is native to the mountains and coasts of Asia and Europe.
The sea buckthorn plant yields a remarkable oil that is renowned for its healing properties and health benefits. For ages, sea buckthorn oil has been extensively used in traditional and folk medicine in Tibet, India, and other parts of South-East Asia to treat various ailments and health conditions.
Read on to find out all about this magical oil and its various uses, including those in health and skincare.
What is Sea Buckthorn Oil and How Is It Obtained?
The sea buckthorn plant belongs to the genus Hippophae, which are also called seaberry plants. They are shrubs with silver-green pointed leaves and fleshy orange berries. Sea buckthorn plants thrive in sunny areas and are highly resistant to drought and adverse weather conditions.
Oil for medicinal purposes is extracted from the seeds and berries of the Hippophae Rhamnoides variety of this species. Although different types of extraction methods can be used to obtain oil, the most commonly followed process is subcritical oil extraction.
Freshly extracted sea buckthorn oil has a nutty flavor and deep orange or red color due to the presence of carotenoid pigments in it.
Most Important Constituents of Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea buckthorn oil finds extensive use in health and skincare treatments due to the fantastic properties of its following ingredients:
- Unsaturated fattyacids, such as palmitoleic acid (omega-7) and gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12
- Carotenoidslike lycopene, cryptoxanthin, physalien, zeaxanthin
- Trace elements like Copper, Selenium and Manganese
Amazing Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea buckthorn oil offers a diverse range of health benefits when consumed or applied topically. Here are some of the advantages of this miraculous natural ingredient.
- Cleanses the liver: Studies reveal that sea buckthorn oil protects the liver against diseases, due to the presence of powerful phytonutrients in it. Sea buckthorn extracts produce hepatoprotective action in the body, which enhances the elimination of toxins and improves the overall functioning of the liver.
- Helps with weight management: The presence of essential fatty acids in sea buckthorn oil reduces the body’s tendency to store fat. By directing the authority to stop fat retention, it helps to control weight gain. As an active agent in hormone therapy, it also inhibits hormonal activities that cause the body to store fat.
- Enhances brain health: Sea buckthorn oil is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which improve overall brain health and cognitive activity. It also has Vitamin B12 that enhances brain activity. Hence it helps to control and reduce the occurrence of conditions like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
- Helps to treat GERD and acid reflux: Sea buckthorn oil prevents the mucous lining in the digestive tract from getting irritated by acidic food. This action helps to control uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms and conditions like GERD.
- Helps control diabetes: By increasing insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity, sea buckthorn oil helps with the management of diabetes and related conditions. Continued use will reduce the chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
- Improves immunity: As a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants, sea buckthorn oil has the right mix of ingredients to improve overall protection. It prevents bacteria like E. coli and other types of microbes from growing in the body, thus defending your immune system from diseases and illnesses.
- Reduces inflammation: The presence of Omega-3 and Omega-7 fatty acids in sea buckthorn oil helps to reduce swelling, puffiness, and inflammation related to injury or illness in the body. It also helps wounds to heal and repair faster.
- Effective in hair care: Elevated levels of essential fatty acids and Vitamin A in sea buckthorn oil improves hair growth. Regular use of the oil promotes better scalp health, improves hair follicle strength, and enhances hair growth. It also acts as an excellent natural conditioner and improves the texture and strength of hair.
- Skincare benefits: Topical application of sea buckthorn oil provides extensive skincare benefits. Apart from controlling and helping with various types of skin problems, it also corrects sun damage and promotes better skin tone and complexion.
Let us discuss the various skincare benefits of this oil in greater detail in the next section.
Fantastic Skin Care Benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil
Although sea buckthorn oil is well-known for its various health benefits, it is especially useful as a skincare product. Being 100% natural, this oil is free from the side-effects of synthetic products and can be safely used even on sensitive skin.
Here are some of the benefits of including sea buckthorn oil in regular skincare.
1. Acts as a Natural Moisturizer
The creamy, oily texture of this oil makes it an excellent emollient that leaves the skin feeling supple and soft. Add it to your regular moisturizer or use it on its own to keep your skin hydrated and well-toned.
2. Addresses Signs of Ageing
Sea buckthorn oil has flavonoids and anti-oxidants that effectively combat the signs of aging. By preventing the occurrence of free radicals in the skin, it slows down the aging process. Topical application of sea buckthorn oil to areas that are prone to wrinkles and fine lines will improve the elasticity of the skin and encourage it to repair and rejuvenate itself.
3. Protects Against Sun Damage
Sea buckthorn oil is an excellent source of carotenoids that reduce signs of photo-aging and UV damage. By continuously using this oil in your skincare routine, you can create a protective barrier for the skin that protects it from sun damage and reverses existing sun damage conditions.
4. Treats Open Wounds, Cuts and Scars
Sea buckthorn oil is a powerful skin regenerative agent. When applied to open wounds and raw cuts or scars, it promotes skin repair in that area. As a result, wounds heal faster, and it restores the skin to its original appearance. Sea buckthorn oil also helps to treat skin affected by cold sores, burns, and frostbite.
5. Cleanses the Skin
Being non-comedogenic, sea buckthorn oil can be easily absorbed by the skin. It is an excellent skin cleanser for normal to dry skin. This oil opens pores and enhances the removal of dead cells and surface impurities. Since it is a mild cleansing agent, sea buckthorn oil can be used every day without any side-effects.
6. Reduces Inflammation and Redness
The ingredients in sea buckthorn oil have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, it helps to reduce swelling, redness, and puffiness associated with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It is a non-irritant and can be safely applied on skin that is prone to allergies and rashes to reduce inflammation and signs of redness.
7. Reduces Appearance of Wrinkles and Fine Lines
The high Vitamin E content of this oil helps to slow down the aging process. It promotes skin repair, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles, creases, and fine lines.
8. Helps With Skin Conditions and Infections
Sea buckthorn oil effectively soothes irritated and infected skin, relieving it of redness and itching. As a result, it is highly useful in the treatment of skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Sea buckthorn supplements are also an effective remedy for this condition. However, before taking these, it is wise to check with your medical practitioner.
9. Removes Blemishes, Scars and Other Marks
Sea buckthorn oil has fantastic skin restorative properties. By stimulating skin regeneration and regrowth, it heals scars and wounds. This oil is also useful in reducing scars caused by conditions like acne vulgaris and rosacea.
10. Brightens the Skin
The presence of carotenoids in sea buckthorn oil causes it to impart a beautiful color to the skin. By healing blemishes and scars on the surface, sea buckthorn oil also improves overall skin tone and makes it appear clean and blemish-free. It nourishes from deep within, thus helping the skin look refreshed and healthy.
The Right Way to Use Sea Buckthorn Oil in Skin Care
Regular use of sea buckthorn in skincare yields marvelous results. This is a soothing oil that is non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin. Hence, you can apply it directly to the skin surface. Gently rub it in your palm to make it warm and then massage it into your skin with circular strokes.
You can either use Sea buckthorn oil on its own or in combination with other natural ingredients to yield effective skin results. Here are two recipes that give the benefits of this natural product.
Recipe for Reducing Scars and Blemishes
- Sea buckthorn oil: 3 – 4 drops
- Rosehip oil: 1 tbsp
Blend the suggested quantities of sea buckthorn oil and rosehip oil in a container. Apply with a clean finger or using a cotton ball to areas displaying scars and blemishes on your skin. Leave the mixture to absorb completely. Repeat every day to see your blemishes and scars disappear entirely.
Daily Facial Moisturizer Recipe With Sea Buckthorn Oil
- Coconut oil/Jojoba oil/Grapeseed oil or any carrier oil of your choice: 1 heaped tablespoon
- Sea buckthorn oil: 3 – 4 drops
- Lemongrass oil: 4 drops
Fill the lower part of the storage container with a carrier oil of your choice. Next, add sea buckthorn oil followed by lemongrass essential oil. Close the box and shake it well to ensure all the ingredients combine well.
Apply it to cleansed skin and let it absorb completely.
Store the container away from sunlight, and it will stay intact for several months.
You can also add a few drops of other nourishing oils like rosehip oil or geranium oil into this mixture for added skin benefits.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing and Using Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea buckthorn oil is available either in its pure form or in combination with other ingredients. It is always advisable to select pure and organic sea buckthorn oil since it will be free from chemical components that can cause skin sensitivity issues.
Sea buckthorn berry oil with 30% or more of Omega-7 content is ideally suited for skincare treatment. For most effectiveness, choose pure sea buckthorn oil that will produce the results you desire. Additives may also trigger unwanted skin breakouts and rashes.
Side-effects of Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea buckthorn is generally safe for oral consumption and topical use. Hence this herb is widely used to prepare jams, beverages, and teas.
Pure, organic oil derived from the sea buckthorn plant is non-irritating and chock-full of flavonoids, antioxidants, Omega fatty acids, and other nourishing ingredients. It is highly unusual for this oil to trigger allergic reactions.
Nevertheless, it is always advisable to start with a patch test when using the oil for the first time. Apply it to a small part of your skin and look for any reactions before applying it to large areas. It can sometimes trigger a rash if used to wound sites and burns. So, be cautious when applying it to broken or irritated skin.
There are limited studies on the effectiveness and side-effects of this oil on pregnant and lactating women. Hence it is best to avoid using this oil if you are pregnant or nursing.
Sea buckthorn is known to delay blood clotting when consumed orally. So, avoid use if you are suffering from fresh wounds or taking medication for bleeding disorders. However, the topical application of sea buckthorn oil should not be a concern in either situation.