If you are a Western reader, most likely, you've never heard about this berry even though it’s been used in traditional medicines for centuries.
The first mention of sea buckthorn can be found 5000 BC in Ayurvedic medicine; during the Tang Dynasty in China (VII – X centuries) it was recorded as a “The Holy Fruit of Himalayas”. According to the Greek legend, this berry was the major part of winged horse Pegasus diet.
Genghis Khan discovered buckthorn berry with it rejuvenating and stamina boosting properties during his conquest of Tibet and introduced it as a part of the diet to his army during his incredible and successful venture.
During the height of the space race between USA and USSR, sea buckthorn was an essential part of Soviet astronauts’ diet, to prevent them from radiation and also as a vitamin supplement.
In very recent history – Sea Buckthorn drink was a sponsored drink for Chinese athletes during Beijing Olympics.
Sea Buckthorn has an impressive list of more than 190 components. It contains Omega 3, 6, 9 and rare Omega 7. It has also flavonoids, lipids, essential minerals and vitamins. It is rich in vitamin C: has 12 times more vitamin C than oranges; the same amount of vitamin E as wheat germ; three times more of vitamin A than carrots and the highest ever recorded instance of vitamin K (important for blood clotting). Protection against free radical damage is four times stronger than from ginseng and the berries are loaded with anti-oxidants like phenols, terpenes and glucosides.
Besides boosting stamina, endurance and immune system, this super berry can prevent and reduce inflammation, protects liver, alleviate radiation, fights oxidative stress and bacteria, improves health of heart, assists in wound healing and prevent diabetes; there is also research on the way of the possible cancer fighting properties of this berry.
As it contain many fatty acids, vitamin A, C and E it's a truly a beauty berry that will nourish and heal you from inside and outside.
This wonderful berry is also comparatively low on calories – 82 calories per 100 gram.
How to plant, grow and harvest.
Sea buckthorn is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the family of Elaeagnaceae. Sea buckthorn has many varieties, but they all have a similar characteristic with the only difference that some species are tarter than the other.
Shrub can grow around 2 – 5 meters long, has lance – like silvery green leafs, thorns with a berries of orange colour and the size of smaller than blueberries.
For planting, this shrub requires a sunny position, its also tolerates a light shade, but the you will yield a poorer harvest.
This plant is quite hardy as it tolerates wide varieties of soil, from clay to sandy. Be careful not to water clog the roots.
It should be planted in rows, 3 metres between rows, and 1 metre between plants. Spread evenly male and female plants with 1 male to 8 – 10 females for the best pollination results. It is pollinated mainly by wind.
Sea Buckthorn will begin to yield in 2 – 3 years time, with the maximum harvest bearing in 3 – 5 years. It produces around 20 kg of berries per plant.
You can cultivate it by seeds or by cutting, but it spreads quite easily by root suckering.
It’s quite a hassle to harvest the berry, as the shrub is thorny A mechanical picker will squash delicate berries and if you shake it only half of berries will drop. This berry is definitely not for industrial production.
Prune it for the best results as needed for the foremost sun exposure. Be careful with the root suckering, they can be quite invasive.
This plant has a lot of secondary uses:
The whole plant can be used in medicine: berries, seeds, bark and leaves.
Oil is made from berries or seeds. The oil that is derived from the berries is reddish colour, the oil that comes from the seed is an orange colour and has a thinner consistency. The best oil is made from both seeds and berries as it contains most of goodness of the berry. Read the label carefully when you buying this product.
The leaves make a wonderful tea, from the bark or finely ground branches you can make healing powder, tincture or decoct.
Against diarrhea you can make: 35 g of berries, 250 ml water: brew them together for 10 minutes, strain and have it 20 ml 4 – 5 times a day.
For boosting immune system: 1 tablespoon of leave, 1 glass of boiling water; keep it warm au bain marie for 10 minutes; drink once a week.
Against gum inflammation and peritonitis: infuse 1 tea spoon of leafs and have it a tee once a day.
Various dermatitis: take 30 – 40 drops of Sea Buckthorn oil twice a day.
Sea Buckthorn jam: mix together 1 cup of berries with 1.5 cup of sugar and boil it till all sugar dissolve, keep refrigerated.
Sea Buckthorn compote: boil together 1200 ml of water and 1 kg of sugar, add to 1 kg of fresh berries; place the pot with compote into a boiling water for 10 minutes.
As with all the new biologically active substances be careful. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding consult with you doctor. Use of Sea Buckthorn can lower blood pressure, so if you already have a low blood pressure problem, better to avoid use. If you have a bleeding disorder be careful, this plant slows down blood clotting.