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Forget Red Bull, sea buckthorn’s what really gives you wings

Sea buckthorn benefits are beyond belief. With rare omega-7, more vitamin C than an orange and an array of other nutrients, find out the rafts of properties this Mediterranean berry offers.

April 01, 2019 9:19 pm

Humans, people, the modern man – call us what you will, the fact remains that today we see ourselves as separate and distinctly apart from our natural surroundings. And it seems normal to feel this way. But it wasn’t always like that. Take a moment to think of the cases where we’ve actually named parts of the world after our own bodies. In English, we might say the eye of a storm, the foot of a mountain or a body of water, and this metaphorical device transcends languages and cultures throughout history.

The city of Cuzco, or Q’osqo as it is in Quechua, quite literally translates to the ‘belly button’ or ‘naval’ of the earth because the city was believed to be right at the planet’s centre. But how can we know where these comparisons come from and when they began? Where was the first mountain foot, the first water body, or stormy eye? It’s difficult to say but they surely must have existed. One instance, however, exists where land, language, and body come together, joined for the first time.

The isthmus

Drawing its meaning from Greek, the word isthmus means ‘narrow’ or ‘neck’ of land separating two seas. It originally referred to a particular strip of land between the Aegean and Corinthian gulf in the eastern Mediterranean. So, it follows that we should look at this piece of land as the original isthmus.

Right at its centre, the ancient city of Corinth harbours the fountain of Periene, whose cold spring water offers precious energy and nourishment to passers-by amid the sun-drenched limestone and crunching Mediterranean tundra. Travel back just shy of three thousand years to classical Greece and allow its mythology to pervade your mind’s eye. Here the Corinthian setting plays stage to the hero Bellerophon’s capture of perhaps the most iconic mythological beast of all time – Pegasus.

Said to be a symbol of dignity and power, legend has it that Pegasus grazed through the day on common forage while holding a special place for the sea buckthorn plant whose tart, orange berries sustained arduous flights around the empire and Mount Olympus. It’s obvious that the ancient Greeks were familiar with and amazed by sea buckthorn’s benefits. Probably because it played a large part in the diet of Greece’s best racehorses, some scholars have referred to it humorously as ‘the Pegasus plant’.

"Some scholars have referred to [sea buckthorn] humorously as ‘the Pegasus plant’."

What is sea buckthorn?

The earliest Greek records of sea buckthorn described the benefits on horses who were fed this wonder berry. The weight-gain and shiny coat that was developed formed the basis for sea buckthorn’s latin name, Hippophae. ‘Hippo’ means horse and ‘phaos’ means to shine.(1) Interestingly though, only the female plants produce berries. There is a lot to unpack from the dense, orange sea buckthorn berry and you might be familiar with the term ‘seaberry’ or ‘sandthorn’, or perhaps the larger Hippophae genus plant family.(2)(3)

Sea buckthorn health benefits

The locals in the Himalayan mountains refer to sea buckthorn as the ‘holy fruit’ and we can definitely understand why. Firstly, the leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits are all used for their medicinal properties. Sea buckthorn boasts all of the omegas – 3, 6, 9 and the rare omega-7, as well as an array of vitamins, such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.

There are many reasons why you should include sea buckthorn berries into your daily diet. We have highlighted three key health benefits below.

1. Omega-7 fatty acid in sea buckthorn

The pulp of sea buckthorn berries is the richest plant source in the world for the omega-7 essential fatty acid. Omega-7, or palmitoleic acid, is rarely found in plants, yet it does wonders for our health. We hear all about omega-3 fatty acids but the excellent health benefits of omega-7 are not as widely known. Omega-3 fatty acids are largely beneficial because they become incorporated into anti-inflammatory molecules. Omega-7 acids have quite a different function. Most importantly, they act as signalling molecules which facilitate communication between fat and muscle tissue in our body.(5)(6)

Many studies on omega-7 fatty acids relate to their ability to fight the harmful effects of the metabolic syndrome and support cardiovascular health.(5) Metabolic disorders may include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.(7)(8)(9)

 

sea buckthorn pulp oil

2. Beta-carotene, the carotenoid in sea buckthorn berries

The vibrant orange colour of these little berries can be attributed to the beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that you can find in plants, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach. Beta-carotene is the most common type of pro-vitamin A, the type we source from plant-based foods. Preformed vitamin A is the kind found in animals. Our body must convert beta-carotene into vitamin A before reaping its benefits.(10)(11)

Active vitamin A or retinoid plays an important role in healthy vision, immune functions, as well as cell and bone tissue growth.(10)(12) For instance, studies at the National Eye Institute have shown that vitamin A, in combination with vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper reduced the risk of advanced macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of age-related blindness.(13)(14)

3. Sea buckthorn berries boast more vitamin C than an orange.

When we think of a natural source of vitamin C, often oranges comes to mind first. What if we told you that sea buckthorn berries contain eight to sixteen times more vitamin C than an orange? This is quite impressive considering the size discrepancy of the two.(15)(16) For example, a 100g serving of sea buckthorn boasts 400 to 800mg of vitamin C. Now, let’s compare that to an orange, with just 53mg per 100g of fruit.(16)

First and foremost, vitamin C is important to our immune system and heart health. For instance, it helps our body to convert cholesterol into bile acids and, as a result, lower blood cholesterol levels. Moreover, vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, a key component of hemoglobin, and protects our body from the damage caused by free radicals, toxins and pollutants.(17)

Also, vitamin C contributes to the formation of collagen. Collagen is essentially what keeps our body together; it is the component of growth and repair for our body. When we talk about the ability of sea buckthorn to improve skin health, bone strength and the resilience of our gums and teeth, this can all be partially attributed to the vitamin C.

 

energy boost

Top sea buckthorn benefits

In summary, sea buckthorn plays a key role in the immune system, normal vision and cardiovascular health. In addition, sea buckthorn berries support mucous membranes, help with healthy body responses to inflammation and contribute to collagen development, which in turn naturally slows ageing. Oh, and not to forget – sea buckthorn is excellent to nourish your skin.

How to add sea buckthorn into your diet?

Erbology makes it simple for you to reap the powerful sea buckthorn benefits. Not only this bush is a challenge to harvest, sea buckthorn berries are also very tart. If you’re new to sea buckthorn, start off with something more neutral in flavour that also includes sea buckthorn. For example, try our delicious Organic Tigernut Granola with Sea Buckthorn.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an instant energy kick, Erbology Sea Buckthorn Shot is a perfect punch. Erbology boosters are organic, free from added sugar and most importantly pure, meaning they are not diluted in water or fruit juices. So, you get the real value. You can add our Sea Buckthorn Shot to a drink or take it straight. It’s so convenient on the go, especially on or after a long flight.

If you’re a porridge lover or salad lover, Erbology Raw Sea Buckthorn Powder is a great sprinkle. Unlike the juice, sea buckthorn powder, which is essentially dried berry skin, is mildly tangy and very versatile. On the contrary, dried sea buckthorn berries have a sharp flavour with a strong crunch; add them into your baked goods or smoothies to strengthen your immunity and let your skin glow.

Finally, try our two sea buckthorn oils. We extract Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil using one of the oldest extraction methods where the skin and the seeds are soaked for weeks. As a result, a layer of sea buckthorn oil is formed and separated. This oil is an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin E. In contrast, our Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil, which is over a third omega-7 fats, is extracted from the pulp of the berry, and is highly concentrated. It also has a dark orange colour and viscous texture.

 

sea buckthorn energy balls

Organic products with sea buckthorn

  1. Sea Buckthorn Dried Berries
  2. Tigernut Granola with Sea Buckthorn On-the-go
  3. Tigernut Granola with Sea Buckthorn
  4. Pure Sea Buckthorn Juice
  5. Pure Sea Buckthorn Shot
  6. Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil
  7. Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil
  8. Raw Sea Buckthorn Powder

Recipes with sea buckthorn

We have prepared a wide range of wholesome sea buckthorn recipes for you. Discover:

 

Porridge breakfast with chia and sea buckthorn oil

A quick and easy breakfast recipe made with oats, homemade almond milk and healthy fats. This porridge is rich in omega-3, omega-6 and omega-7 fatty acids, as well as fibre and vitamin E.

 

Tropical smoothie bowl with sea buckthorn

Fuel your body first thing in the morning with this flavoursome recipe. Made with fresh pineapple, bananas, beetroot and figs, this smoothies bowl is packed with an array of vitamins and minerals essential for your wellbeing.

 

Wild fruit and chia parfait with sea buckthorn granola

Impress your family and friends with this delicious recipe, perfect as a Sunday brunch dessert. This parfait is made with layers of wild berry pudding, turmeric chia pudding and cashew cream.

 

Naked sea buckthorn bundt cake

Traditionally known as the gugelhupf cake, the bundt cake came from central Europe. Indulge in a slice of this delicious dessert with a cup of Viennese coffee.

 

asparagus salad

Asparagus and sea buckthorn berry salad

A light dinner meal packed with vitamins and nutrients. Made with asparagus, marinated radishes, mushrooms and spring onions and garden peas.

 

Sea buckthorn energy balls

A perfect snack in-between the meals or before a workout. These energy balls are raw, vegan and highly nutritious. Made with cashew nuts, hemp seeds, raisins, maca powders and more wholesome ingredients.

 

Sea buckthorn and apricot ice cream

A delicious vegan summer dessert option made with raspberries, blueberries, apricots and bananas.

Erbology Origins

Enjoyed reading this article? We love exploring and bringing you nature’s marvels that can help you lead a wholesome and happy life. Learn more about some of the plants that have been cherished and used for centuries.

Maya Chia, Here I Go Again

In at least one Mayan language, ‘chia’ means ‘strength’, and seems reasonable to conclude that this probably derives from the huge amounts of energy stored within the tiny seed’s body. In the past, the chia seed held a supernatural aura. Today the acclaim and prestige it carries acts as a kind of twenty-first-century version of this. Continue reading

The incredible benefits of aronia berries

Aronia berries were an important and frequently used food staple for many American first nations and the berry itself was usually eaten raw or dried and mixed with pemmican. The Jicarilla particularly, dried the fruit and pressed them into cakes which they stockpiled for the winter months. The fresh berries could be mashed and made into a jam, or simply left to ferment and used as cherry wine. Every single part of the plant had a use and even its bark and roots can be boiled to produce a form of medicinal tea. Continue reading

Aloe vera, from Alexander the Great to the 21st century

Legend has it that acting upon the advice of Aristotle, Alexander the Great besieged and conquered the aloe vera capital of the ancient world. Lying roughly 150 miles east of the Cape Guardafui coast, the Island of Socotra produced a large portion of the Mediterranean’s aloe vera. In doing so, Alexander secured a steady stream of the healing plant to his army. Continue reading

Amaranth, a symbol of Aztec power and a staple in the modern kitchen

For the people of Mesoamerica, gods and nature where not distinctly separate as they are in Judaeo-Christian faiths. Character traits of nature were projected into the personalities of different gods and conversely, parts of these gods were seen in natural objects found throughout the region. One significant crossover lay in the amaranth plant. So important was this tall plant, with its broad green leaves, that during the festivities of Huitzilopochtli a divine statue was built from its seeds. Continue reading

 

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References

(1) History and Classical Note of Sea Buckthorn, 2014, https://bit.ly/2DvY1NS.

(2) “Sea-Buckthorn – Hippophae Rhamnoides – Overview”, Encyclopedia of Life, eol.org/pages/488204/overview.

(3) Edwards, Sarah E, et al. “Sea Buckthorn”, Wiley Online Library, Wiley-Blackwell, 20 Feb. 2015, https://bit.ly/2E6BfxC.

(4) Sarich, Christina. “23 Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn: The Miracle Berry”, Natural Society, 2014, https://bit.ly/2I6CJfi.

(5) “Omega-7 Protects Against Metabolic Syndrome”, LifeExtension.com, 2014, https://bit.ly/2EWcYZq.

(6) Cao H, Gerhold K, Mayers JR, Wiest MM, Watkins SM, Hotamisligil GS. Identification of a lipokine, a lipid hormone linking adipose tissue to systemic metabolism. Cell. 2008 Sep 19;134(6):933-44.

(7) Grundy, Scott M., et al. “Definition of Metabolic Syndrome”, American Heart Association, American Heart Association, Inc., 2004, circ.ahajournals.org/content/109/3/433.full.

(8) “About Metabolic Syndrome”, American Heart Association, https://bit.ly/2SKAXV0.

(9) “Metabolic Syndrome”, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2018, https://mayocl.in/2GCxwcx.

(10) Wong, Cathy. “The Health Benefits of Beta-Carotene”, Verywell Fit, www.verywellfit.com/the-benefits-of-beta-carotene-88314.

(11) Dabfm, et al. “Vitamin A: Health Benefits, Best Foods, and More”, Dr. Group’s Healthy Living Articles, Global Healing Center, 2016, https://bit.ly/2WX4UAE.

(12) Harvard Health Publishing, “On Call: Vitamin A and Macular Degeneration”, Harvard Health, https://bit.ly/2WUlWPH.

(13) “Macular Degeneration | AREDS and AREDS2”, National Eye Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://bit.ly/2GI67pw.

(14) Gutzeit, D, et al. “Vitamin C Content in Sea Buckthorn Berries (Hippophaë Rhamnoides L. Ssp. Rhamnoides) and Related Products: a Kinetic Study on Storage Stability and the Determination of Processing Effects”, Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19021790.

(15) “Sea Buckthorn Berries – Sea Buckthorn Health Benefits”, Fermented Foods and Probiotics, www.fermented-foods.com/sea-buckthorn-berries-sea-buckthorn-health-benefits.

(16) “Vitamins and Minerals”, United States Department of Agriculture, www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/vitamins-and-minerals.

(17) Chambial, Shailja, et al. “Vitamin C in Disease Prevention and Cure: An Overview”, Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, Springer India, 2013, https://bit.ly/1Pp89qq.

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