What is sea buckthorn?
Sea buckthorn oil is a heavily featured oil in many of our Noosh Naturals products. So, what’s so special about the sea buckthorn anyway?
This vividly coloured berry has had its healing properties stated in ancient medical text dating back thousands of years. This hardy plant typically grows besides streams in the rocky foothills of the Himalayas but can also be found in Siberia, Mongolia and Europe. Due to its extreme temperature sensitivity and sharp spiny thorns, it has to be transported and processed immediately upon harvesting. This may be one of the reasons we in the tropics may not be as familiar with it.
The sea buckthorn berry has been touted as a miracle fruit for ages, in fact a legend states that Genghis Khan relied on three treasures - discipline, a well-organized army and the sea buckthorn berry as part his successful conquest. The Latin name Sea buckthorn (hippophea rhamnoides) translates to shiny horse as wild horses who fed on this plant were seen to have extraordinarily shiny pelts.
Sea buckthorn as a natural alternative to Steroid
As a doctor who practices functional medicine (a branch of medicine that focuses on finding the root cause of disease), I frequently encounter skin ailments that plague my patients. Most often they fall back onto steroids as the go to anti-inflammatory to soothe itching. Steroids can be quick acting and useful medication in some instances however, they are never ideal in chronic skin conditions do to their various serious side effects on long term usage. What then could be a useful alternative in helping my patients with their skin issues was my dilemma. I needed to find a natural anti- inflammatory without the side effects. As I worked on healing my patients from the inside out … I also needed to provide them with a useful topical cream that could heal from the outside in.
I realized that I needed to formulate an emollient barrier cream that would soothe the itch as it healed.
A good emollient is vital to distressed skin as its natural barrier function is disrupted, leading to moisture loss as well as increased stress from the external environment. Poor skin barrier can lead to secondary infections, as well as increased skin sensitivity.
A deep dive into various compounds that soothe inflamed skin led to the sea buckthorn plant over and over again. This amazing super food had almost all the nutrients needed by the human body … in one amazing plant! This piqued my interest in seeing how to incorporate the goodness of this natural plant oil into a cream that would help with improving skin barrier function as well as reduce inflammation and supply vital nutrients into the skin to bring about healing.
The properties of sea buckthorn
All in all, there are about 190 bioactive nutrients found in this fruit. Let’s go through some key nutrients found in sea buckthorn oil.
Compared to all the plants known to man, the sea buckthorn plant has the highest content of omega 7 fatty acid (also known as palmitoleic acid) is an oil not readily found in most other plant or animal compounds but is produced by the human body itself. It has shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and immune regulating properties when ingested as well as when applied topically.
The bright red colour of sea buckthorn oil imparts is due to its high beta carotene content. Beta carotene is a potent antioxidant as well as a natural source of vitamin A which is vital for skin health. Cold processed sea buckthorn like the ones used in our Noosh Naturals preparations have the highest bio available beta carotene content.
Sea buckthorn oil is also rich in other complex lipids like glycolipids and phospholipids that help to improve skin softening and elasticity it also aids in improving cell regeneration. The plant is also rich in flavonoids and plant sterols all which aid in skin repair and renewal.
So, there you have it, sea buckthorn and all its benefits in a gist. At Noosh Naturals, our moto “Nourish and heal naturally“ was truly inspired by this amazing plant. More than anything its heart warming to see the improvement of those with dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis upon the Noosh Naturals Sea buck balm and Sea buck black.
Nature and her many wonders have the ability to heal and replenish our bodies mind and spirit, we just need to respect and learn how to harness her goodness.