Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Humans have been using seabuckthorn for at least 12 centuries. The Tibetan medical classic, the Rgyud bzi ("The Four Tantras"), attributed to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), lists 84 prescriptions for the preparation of seabuckthorn medicines. The ancient Greeks named the plant Hippophaë "glittering horse", its leaves were part of the diet for racing horses, and they also believed that horses became plump and healthy when maintained on pastures with these trees. According to another legend, seabuckthorn leaves were one of the preferred foods of the Pegasus (flying horse). The plant was also widely used as a folk medicine in the Roman Empire, Mongolia and Russia.Seabuckthorn River Bank

Ghenghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, one of the largest empires in the 13th century, relied on three treasures: well organized armies, strict discipline and seabuckthorn. It was believed that seabuckthorn oil made Ghenghis Khan's soldiers stronger and much more agile than those of his enemies.

However, it is only in recent decades that people have had a better understanding of seabuckthorn. The scholars who are engaged in scientific research on seabuckthorn in various countries have "re-discovered" its important value to humans by carrying out a large number of scientific experiments. Russian and Chinese scientists particularly have made a considerable contribution to the research and development of seabuckthorn.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

FAQ

  • Q1. I have about 8-10 tonnes of seabuckthorn in Latvia and 12 tonnes in Estonia. I’m looking for exporting opportunities. Are you interested in buying? (Submitted on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 16:14:24)

    A1. No, We are not interested.

  • Q2. I want to grow seabuckthorn here in France I understand that I need male and female plants, on your site you don’t say what time of the year to plant the seeds/roots. As you can’t send roots till November there is no hurry for them but maybe I need the seeds now? (Submitted on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 21:54:59)

    A2. Seabuckthorn seeds can be seeded indoors in pots in January or early February, one seedling per pot is allowed to grow for 3 months before transplanting to the field in early May.

  • Q3. I live in the GU27 area, have recently tasted delicious seabuckthorn ice cream and would like to know if it is available anywhere locally, or who stocks it so I can contact them. Much appreciate a reply, thanks. (Submitted on Friday, August 12, 2011 at 15:27:20)

    A3. We are not aware of anybody in the UK who stocks seabuckthorn ice cream. But here is a simple recipe for cooking seabuckthorn ice cream. No ice cream maker is required!

    Ingredients:
    - 2.5 cups frozen seabuckthorn berries (available from some “Polish” shops)
    - 500 ml of water
    - 1 sachet (20-25gr) of gelatine
    - 1 tablespoon of sugar
    - 200ml of whipping (or double) cream

    Rinse seabuckthorn berries; drain, put in a blender and blend until the consistency of thick puree. Soften gelatine by soaking in 100ml of cold water for a few minutes and add sugar. Mix gelatine and sugar with seabuckthorn puree. Add remaining water. Warm up the mixture, but do not boil. Add carefully whipping cream. Stir until thoroughly blended and place in freezer. Mix occasionally with wooden spoon for even thickening. That’s it! Garnish with seabuckthorn berries or cranberries. Bon Appétit! (Source http://womanjournal.ru)

Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

About us

The experience of the past 20 years has proved that seabuckthorn is a wonderful plant, with significant potential. Seabuckthorn contains a huge array of nutrients in its fruit, seed, leaves and even bark.

However, because seabuckthorn is native to Asia, its nutritional, medical and cosmetic benefits remain largely unknown in Europe and the UK.

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The objective of this site is to promote an awareness of the importance of seabuckthorn in the United Kingdom, and eventually to become a platform for visitors to exchange and share their personal ideas and thoughts about seabuckthorn usage and its benefits. Our goal is that it will become a source for visitors to purchase online some of the best seabuckthorn products from all over the world.

This site is owned and maintained by Igor Gerner. Igor was born and raised in Russia, holds BA degree in Languages and BSc in Business Information Technology obtained in Moscow, Russia and Leicester, United Kingdom.

Seabuckthorn berries have been used in Igor's family for generations to prepare homemade cosmetics, and as needed, to cure various infections, or to heal wounds.

Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Contact page

I will be delighted to hear from you. Did you check my FAQ page? You might find it usefull. You can contact me via skype, or by simply calling me during daylight hours. Please bear in mind the time differences if you are live outside of UK.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

General description.

Seabuckthorn is a deciduous, dioecious shrub, usually spinescent, reaching 2 – 4 m in height. It has brown or black rough bark and a thick grayish-green crown. Leaves are alternate, narrow, and lanceolate with a silvergrey colour on the upper side. The sex of seedlings cannot be ascertained until they start to flower. Flower buds are formed mostly on one-year old wood, differentiated during the previous growing season. The male inflorescence consists of four to six apetalous flowers. The female inflorescence usually consists of one single apetalous flower with one ovary and one ovule. The plant depends entirely on the wind for pollination, neither the male nor the female flower have nectaries, so do not attract insects.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Propagation.

The most common methods for propagating seabuckthorn are by seed, softwood or hardwood cuttings, and layering and suckers.

Propagation from seed is relatively simple and produces a large number of seedlings at fairly low cost compared with other propagation methods. Long term storage affects seed viability, up to 60% after 4 – 5 years. Prior to sowing, the seeds should be soaked in water for 48 hours, discarding any floating seeds. For early spring direct seeding, seeds are seeded at soil surface and irrigated periodically to prevent seeds from drying out. If seeding in the late spring, seeds should be covered with very light layer of soil. Seeds should start to germinate within 5 – 10 days based on the condition of the seeds and the species of seabuckthorn. Seabuckthorn seeds can be seeded indoors in pots in January or early February, one seedling per pot is allowed to grow for 3 months before transplanting to the field in early May. All other methods produce plants identical to parent.

Seabuckthorn hardtwood cutting

Cuttings produce rooted plants with the same genotype as the parent plant. The cuttings will bear fruit 1 – 2 years earlier than seed-propagated trees. Seabuckthorn can be propagated using either hardwood or softwood cuttings.

Hardwood cuttings should be chosen in Jan. – Feb. from healthy, well developed plants in fruiting stage, so the sex can be determined. Cuttings (15-20cm long) should be taken from the previous year’s growth during dormancy in the early spring. Bundles of cuttings are soaked in water (room temperature and changed once a day) and covering 2/3 of their length until the beginning of formation of roots. Cuttings can also be treated with IBA (50mg/L) or rooting hormone and placed in pots filled with peat in a bottom heated propagation box (15-20C). Cuttings can be transplanted when the roots are 1-2 cm long directly to the field.

A softwood cutting (15-20cm long) from sexed trees are taken when shoots begin to become woody, remove the lower leaves, leaving 2-4 leaves at the tip and dip into rooting hormone before rooted in media such as sand or perlite and keep special attention to the moisture of media. Rooted should be planted in pots for 1-2month before transplanting to field. Root cuttings also can be an effective propagation method for seabuckthorn. Root cuttings were planted in pots and placed in a greenhouse for six weeks before being transplanted to the field at a spacing of 8x20cm. Cuttings need to be acclimatized to field conditions prior to planting by placing pots in a shady area for one week. The best results were obtained in sandy loam at pH 6-6.5 with medium humus content. Seabuckthorn easily produces suckers within a few years of planting which is a good source for propagation of plants where the sex is known. Make sure you get the proper ratio of male and female plants within each plantation.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Harvesting.

Seabuckthorn - LandscapingHarvesting is difficult due to the dense thorn arrangement among the berries on each branch.

For commercial production in orchard like plantations, a common harvesting technique is to remove an entire branch, though this is destructive to the shrub and reduces future harvests. A branch removed in this way is next frozen, allowing the berries to be easily shaken off. The branches are cut, deep frozen to −32°C, then shaken or abraded for removal of the berries.

The worker then crushes the berries to remove up to 95% of the leaves and other debris. This causes the berries to melt slightly from the surface as the work takes place at ambient temperature (about 20°C). Berries or the crushed pulp are later frozen for storage.

The most effective way to harvest berries and not damage branches is by using a berry-shaker, which was developed in Estonia. Mechanical harvesting leaves up to 50% in the field and the berries can be harvested only once in two years. They only get about 25% of the yield that could be harvested with this relatively new machinery.

Since the 1960s Russian horticulturists developed new varieties with greater nutritional value, larger berries, different ripening months and a branch that is easier to harvest. Over the past 20 years, experimental crops have been grown in the United States and in Canada.

Many Russian gardeners have developed their own method of collecting seabuckthorn berries from the tree. They simply cut off some branches, then remove the berries from the braches in the comfort of the own home.This does no harm to the tree if certain conditions are met.Seabuckthorn - Cutting branches

First, all the dry branches should be cut from the tree. as this will make collection easier. Then cut off only “blind cops" with the berries, since these will not continue to grow and will die and wither away by the end of the growing season. This way you can collect half of the yield. When cutting, leave a stump sprouts with 2 - 3 buds for re-growth next spring.

Then collect the remainder of seabuckthorn berries. Put a polyethylene sheet or cloth under the tree to catch any berries which fall to the ground. Then, starting with the lower branches, remove Berries with your thumb and forefinger working from the beginning of the branch to the end of it.

You can make a simple and very popular wire hinge used by Russian gardeners (shown in the picture above) to help you with collection of the seabuckthorn berries.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Landscaping.

Seabuckthorn Red BerriesSeabuckthorn is a popular garden and landscaping shrub, particularly making a good vandal-proof barrier hedge with an aggressive basal shoot system exploited in some parts of the world as wind breaks and to stabilize riverbanks and steep slopes.

The wide adaptation, fast growth, strong coppicing and suckering habits coupled with efficient nitrogen fixation make seabuckthorn particularly suitable for planting in degraded soils. Seabuckthorn can control soil erosion and water loss effectively, and increased land reclamation. In many instances seabuckthorn has proved highly beneficial for enhancement of wildlife habitat, farmstead shelter belts, erosion control, and land reclamation.

Seabuckthorn has value in northern climates for their landscape qualities, as the colorful berry clusters are retained through winter. Branches may be used by florists for designing ornaments. The plant is the regional flora of the Finnish region of Satakunta.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Health benefits.

Hippophae (Seabuckthorn) in Greek means "shiny horse". References to the medicinal use of seabuckthorn were found in Ancient Greek texts "Enquiry into Plants", "On the History of Plants" and Book - Enquiry into Plants "On the Causes of Plants" attributed to Theophrastus (372-287 BC), the successor of Aristotle in the Peripatetic school.

Nowadays medicinal uses of seabuckthorn are well documented in Asia and Europe. Seabuckthorn oil is approved for clinical use in hospitals in Russia. In China, it was formally listed in the “Pharmacopoeia” in 1977. Many drugs have been developed from seabuckthorn in these countries and are available in different forms (e.g., liquids, powders, plasters, films, pastes, pills, liniments, suppositories, aerosols, etc.)

Oil from the Sea Buckthorn berry is a deep red colour due to its high carotene (41 carotenoids found so far in seabuckthorn) content which includes valuable lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene.

Seabuckthorn is the most potent source of palmitoleic acid (C16:1) with values as high as 34%. This fatty acid supports cellular regeneration as a component of the skin fat and creates a silky soft and smooth feeling to the skin.

In addition it contains tocopherols, tocotrienols and phytosterols. Seabuckthorn oil also contains flavonoids, omega 3 and 6, DHA and numerous trace elements. Flavonoids are extracted from the fruits and are used especially in the treatment of cardiovascular problems.

The oil is a valuable ingredient in topical applications as well as nutraceutical formulations.

Seabuckthorn oil has a natural sun protective power and is most useful as a healing oil for any kind of burn. It was used after the disaster at Chernobyl to heal radiation burns.

Seabuckthorn oil is also used to treat cancer, mucositis, ulcers, skin ulcers, burns, irritated, dry, itchy skin, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, inflammation, sores, etc. It supports prostate health too.

In addition to its medicinal applications, and because of its protective effects on the skin, seabuckthorn oil is also used in the preparation of cosmetics, including sun blocks.

The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content - in a range of 114 to 1550 mg per 100 grams with an average content (695 mg per 100 grams) about 15 times greater than oranges (45 mg per 100 grams) - placing seabuckthorn fruit among the most enriched plant sources of vitamin C. The fruit also contains dense contents of carotenoids, vitamins B (Folic Acid), B1, B2, B6, B12, B15, K, amino acids, dietary minerals, β-sitosterol and polyphenolicacids. Seabuckthorn naturally has serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate emotions.

Seabuckthorn oil is one of the best natural oils for rejuvenating mature and wrinkled skin due to its Vitamin E, C, and Vitamin A precursors, essential fatty acids, and phytosterols. It is an effective skin care remedy and cosmetic aid with nourishing, revitalising and restorative action. It can promote tissue regeneration, and reduce age-induced skin wrinkling and premature skin aging.

Applied on the scalp, the oil strengthens hair roots and improves the quality of hair growth and luster. Taken internally, the oil is useful for coughs, sore throat and bronchial problems. The most important functions of seabuckthorn oil can be summarised as diminishing inflammation, disinfecting bacteria, relieving pain, and promoting regeneration of tissues. It also can be used for skin grafting, cosmetology, and treatment of corneal wounds.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Traditional medicine.

Humans have been using seabuckthorn for at least 12 centuries. The Tibetan medical classic, the Rgyud bzi"The Four Tantras"), attributed to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), lists 84 prescriptions for the preparation of seabuckthorn medicines.Seabuckthorn - Traditional Medicine

Seabuckthorn is used as a traditional medicinal plant in the Hindu-Khush-Himalayan mountain region, especially in India, Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal and China. Local people in this region still collect berries for medicine, graze animals in the forest, and plant seabuckthorn to protect water channels and to fence their farmland.

Different parts of seabuckthorn have been used as traditional therapies for diseases. Grown widely throughout its native China and other mainland regions of Asia, seabuckthorn is an herbal remedy reputedly used over centuries to relieve cough, aid digestion, invigorate blood circulation and alleviate pain.

Bark and leaves may be used for treating diarrhea and dermatological disorders. Berry oil, taken either orally or applied topically, may be used as a skin softener.

For its anti-inflammatory> effects, berry fruits are added to medications for pulmonary, gastrointestinal, cardiac, blood and metabolic disorders in Indian, Chinese and Tibetan medicines. Seabuckthorn berry components have potential activity against cancer and dengue virus.

Fresh juice, syrup and berry or seed oils may be used for colds, fever, exhaustion, as an analgesic or treatment for stomach ulcers, cancer, and metabolic disorders.

Called 'Chharma' in Himachal Pradesh, India, oil from fruits and seeds is used for liver diseases, disorders of the gastrointestinal system, including peptic ulcers and gastritis, eczema, canker sores and other ulcerative disorders of mucosal tissues, wounds, inflammation, burns, frostbite, psoriasis, rosacea, lupus erythematosus, and chronic dermatoses.

In ophthalmology, berry extracts have been used for keratosis, trachoma, eyelid injuries and conjunctivitis. The seabuckthorn is also known to kill parasitic mites called demodex.

Seabuckthorn is a source of raw materials for nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, and veterinary applications. The berries, leaves, cork, and roots of sea buckthorn are highly appreciated for the rich content of vitamins, carotenoides, flavonoids, steroids, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential oils, essential fatty acids, and serotonin. These constituents, separately or combined, may have unique health-supporting or healing properties.

Seabuckthorn oil is one of the most frequently prescribed phytomedicines by Russian and Chinese physicians for a plethora of ailments, including stomach ulcers, burns, hemorrhoids, and as an ingredient for skin and hair care products.

In traditional Siberian medicine, the seed oil and leaf extracts of sea buckthorn are frequently used to maintain eye sight, hearing ability, fight off cataracts, cure eczema, improve physical performance, and ward off winter depression. Dozens of sea buckthorn cultivars were developed for their agronomic traits, chemical composition, and adaptation to poor dry and sandy soils, higher altitudes, wasted lands, and extremely cold areas in Russia. Each cultivar is known to have its own unique morphological traits, colour, flavour, carotenoids, oil composition (mostly unsaturated essential fatty acids), and vitamin content.

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Everything you need to know about seabuckthorn

Consumer products

Both the berries and leaves of seabuckthorn are used to manufacture various products. The food products include:Seabuckthorn berries woman holding

Juice, oil, jam, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages such as wine and vodka; breakfast cereals, powder, rice pops, juice powder, toffees, biscuits; candies, gums, and fruit chews; cosmetic products such as facial cream and shampoo.

The seabuckthorn leaves can be used to make sea buckthorn tea.

When the berries are pressed, the resulting seabuckthorn juice separates into three layers: on top is a thick, orange colour cream; in the middle, a layer containing seabuckthorn's characteristic high content of saturated and polyunsaturated fats; and the bottom layer is sediment and juice.
Containing fat sources applicable for cosmetic purposes, the upper two layers can be processed for skin creams and liniments, whereas the bottom layer can be used for edible products.

Seabuckthorn fruit can be used to make pies, jams, squashes, lotions, liquors, etc.

The juice or pulp has other potential applications in foods or beverages. For example, in Finland, it is used as a nutritional ingredient in baby food.

Fruit drinks were among the earliest seabuckthorn products developed in China. Seabuckthorn based juice is popular in Germany and Scandinavian countries.

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