Himalayan Superfruit: The Sea-Buckthorn Berry

A new-to-you (but actually quite ancient) “IT” superfood has arrived on the scene: sea-buckthorn berry.

A bright orange fruit that grows in dense clusters on low bushes, sea-buckthorn is actually a berry-like fruit that is soft, juicy and rich in healthy oils. Loaded with antioxidants and packed with more vitamin C per serving than an orange, this unique berry is showing up in both food and body treatments. Known for its skin-softening capabilities, sea-buckthorn berry has a mild taste of peach and citrus when sweetened, and has long been a popular nutritional, medicinal and beauty supplement in many parts of the world.

When eaten raw, sea-buckthorn berries are sour, astringent and downright unpleasant. To use this nutritional powerhouse, the berries must first be pressed to separate the juices into three layers. The upper two layers are creamy and slick with the fruit’s saturated and unsaturated fats, rich oils that are used extensively in skin lotions, face creams and other beauty ointments. The bottom layer is made up of sediment and juice, a strong and fruity concoction that is used in food products and nutritional supplements.

With a vitamin C content that is 15 times greater than that of oranges, sea-buckthorn berry is one of the very best natural plant sources of this crucial nutrient. The fruit also contains high levels of amino acids, carotenoids, minerals and vitamin E, along with important Omega-3 fatty acids. While no clinical research has been conducted to prove the benefits of sea-buckthorn berry, proponents of the fruit note that its phytochemical components can help with inflammatory disorders and cancer prevention. Without a doubt, its strong nutritional make up packs a hefty dose of needed vitamins and minerals that will benefit anyone who eats it.

Ninety percent of sea-buckthorn berries are produced in China, grown high in the Himalayas where they are considered a holy food. There, the tart little fruits have been used as folk medicine for many centuries to reduce pain, improve digestion, aid circulation and kill a bad cough. Considered hemostatic and anti-inflammatory, sea-buckthorn berries are often added to numerous medications in China for disorders of the lungs, heart, blood and gastrointestinal systems. The plant’s bark and leaves have been used to treat diarrhea, and the oil when applied topically can soften and protect the skin.

Today, sea-buckthorn berry is used in a wide range of products, including edible items like juice, jam, pies, liquors, beer, teas and baby food. Sea-buckthorn juice is widely available in Europe, and it will soon be making an appearance on grocery stores in the United States as well.

You’ll also start to see this unique little berry in beauty products: oils to soften the look of wrinkles, balms for dry elbows and knees, lotion for dry skin and hair treatments as well. All natural and all wild, this unique fruit oil product can be used all over the body – and inside the body – to improve one’s health and beauty.

Image: Sea-buckthorn