Sea buckthorn: benefits and harms

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Sea buckthorn history
Sea buckthorn is a small shrub or tree with small gray leaves. The plant is covered with thorns, and during fruiting, all branches are strewn with orange berries. They tightly stick around the branches, sitting in heaps, from which the name “sea buckthorn” came from.

Sea buckthorn is also called “northern pineapple” because many people smell this berry-like pineapple. Not all sea buckthorn varieties are edible.

Sea buckthorn is native to East Asia. The berry was also known to the Greeks and Romans and was widely used in Chinese and Tibetan medicine. But gradually they even forgot the berry and began to destroy the bushes, since they grew very actively and were extremely prickly. After the 19th century, the situation returned to normal, but at first, sea buckthorn was grown only as a decorative hedge. And only after a while, the berry and the oil from it were again appreciated.

Officially, sea buckthorn was introduced into the pharmacopeia only in the 70s, although even in ancient China this plant was known precisely as a medicinal plant. In Greece, sea buckthorn was fed to horses, noting that the quality of their skin and mane became much higher. The Greek name for this berry was translated as “shiny (or shiny) horse”. Until recently, sea buckthorn-based energy products were produced in Japan for athletes.

Currently, sea buckthorn grows throughout Eurasia, even in Altai and Siberia. Sea buckthorn is also found in the tropics of India and Pakistan.

The benefits of sea buckthorn
Sea buckthorn is one of the richest berries in vitamins and microelements. Moreover, it is one of the few berries that retain vitamin C even after heat treatment and freezing.

Sea buckthorn relieves inflammation and promotes wound healing. Vitamins E and A stimulate tissue regeneration, improve tissue metabolism and strengthen blood vessels. Just a few teaspoons of sea buckthorn oil will satisfy the daily requirement for vitamin E. It is not often found products in which vitamin E was in such a high concentration and at the same time with carotenoids (vitamin A).

There are a lot of vitamins of groups B, K, and R in sea buckthorn. The berry has a sour taste due to the abundance of various acids: malic, citric, tartaric, and others. They stimulate digestion and the production of gastric juice.
The properties of sea buckthorn are known to stimulate the immune system. This is due to the high concentration of vitamin C and phytoncides. Although the latter are few, they still have a positive effect on the immune system.

Berries and even the sea buckthorn bark itself contain serotonin. It is a “happiness hormone” necessary for the nervous system to function and to have a good mood. The leaders in terms of serotonin content are chocolate, bananas, although in fact there is several times more of it in sea buckthorn.

Caloric content per 100 grams 82 kcal
Protein 1.2 g
Fat 5.4 g
Carbohydrates 5.7 g

Sea buckthorn harm
The laxative effect of sea buckthorn fruits is known, so you should not lean on these fruits if you have a tendency to have diarrhea or have recently had food poisoning. If there are no contraindications, it is optimal to eat no more than 50 grams of berries at a time. From a year old, children can be given a little diluted sea buckthorn juice. If you are prone to allergies under 3 years of age, it is better not to risk it.
Sea buckthorn oil is extremely useful for peptic ulcer disease, but berries and juice are contraindicated. The acids in the berries greatly increase the secretion of gastric juice, which can provoke an exacerbation. For the same reason, sea buckthorn should not be eaten with gastritis with high acidity. Berries are prohibited for exacerbation of liver and pancreas diseases. If you have kidney stones or gallbladder stones, sea buckthorn berries should be eaten with caution. There is also a risk of allergies.

The use of sea buckthorn in medicine
Sea buckthorn oil is very famous, which can be found in any pharmacy. It is prepared by squeezing seeds from berries, although there is a certain amount of oil in the pulp.

The oil is used both in pure form and added to cosmetics and pharmaceutical preparations. Sea buckthorn oil has bactericidal properties, preventing the development of infection in damaged areas of the skin and mucous membranes. Also, this tool promotes skin regeneration, therefore it is widely used to recover from burns and wounds.

Cosmetologists recommend sea buckthorn oil and berry gruel as masks for face and hair – they nourish cells and heal micro damages.

Inside, oil is practically not used, although it can be supplemented with the treatment of gastritis and ulcers. Inhalation with sea buckthorn oil is used to treat the lungs, and they are also used to lubricate the affected tonsils.

The use of sea buckthorn in cooking
Fresh sea buckthorn is rarely eaten because it is rather sour and bitter. But this berry is perfect for fruit drinks and various preparations with sugar and honey.

Sea buckthorn has rather large bones, but you do not need to take them out – they are very useful, and it is impossible to get everything from each berry. Contrary to the myth about the risk of appendicitis due to the use of seeds, nothing terrible will happen, the appendix becomes inflamed for completely different reasons.

How to choose and store sea buckthorn
The sea buckthorn season in Russia is at the beginning of autumn. During this time, it is harvested, and it is important to keep the berries intact so that they do not spoil too quickly.

If you buy sea buckthorn, pay attention to the firmness of the berries – they should be soft and at the same time tight. Size is not so important, since there are very small varieties that are just as good as large ones in terms of taste. The aroma of sea buckthorn is also important – a good berry has a characteristic strong smell.

Fresh sea buckthorn is stored in the refrigerator for up to a month, longer than most berries. The main thing is to keep it dry.

In frozen form, sea buckthorn does not lose most of its vitamins and beneficial properties, so it can be safely frozen in containers or bags. The berries will last perfectly all winter.

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