The Sea Buckthorn is becoming increasingly popular for its impressive range of healing properties! Sea-Buckthorn is a thorny shrub that grows near rivers and in sandy soil along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and throughout Asia, where it has been used for centuries in traditional medical applications.
The leaves, flowers, fruits and oils from the seeds are all used for remedies.
There are seven varieties of the Sea Buckthorn, the most common of which are the Hippophae rhamnoides (common sea buckthorn), and the Hippophae salicifolia (willow-leaved sea buckthorn)The others not so common species are Hippophae goniocarpa, Hippophae gyantsensis, Hippophae litangensis,Hippophae neurocarpa and Hippophae tibetana.
Most of the world's sea buckthorn plantations are located in China. There, the shrub is used for soil and water conservation in addition to its healing properties. The fruit of the Sea Buckthorn is difficult to harvest, due to the thorny nature of the shrubs themselves. The harvested fruit is quite acidic and its juices are often combined with those of sweeter fruits, such as grape or pear, to make it more palatable.
In natural medicine, there are many uses and indications for the Sea Buckthorn. Leaves and flowers are utilized for arthritis, GI ulcers, gout and skin rashes and irritations. Tea made from the leaves contains vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and fatty acids. The tea is typically used for lowering blood pressure and serum cholesterol, prevention and treatment of diseases of the blood vessel, and for increasing immunity.
Buckthorn is a supplemental source of vitamins C, A, and E, beta-carotene, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. One recent study suggests that Sea Buckthorn seed oil may be effective for assisting in weight loss. Chinese researchers have completed a study suggesting that Sea Buckthorn oil extract can lower cholesterol, reduce angina and improve heart function in patients with cardiac disease. Research on Sea Buckthorn as it relates to weight loss, cardiac disease and cholesterol levels are ongoing and appear to be promising based on initial results.
Sea buckthorn berries are used for preventing skin infections, improving sight, and slowing the aging process. The tea is commonly applied to sunburns to reduce swelling and irritation while promoting healing.
Seed or berry oil is used for asthma, angina, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), as an antioxidant and as an expectorant. Sea Buckthorn oil is used in traditional medicine to slow the reduction of mental agility associated with aging and to reduce the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. It may be used to treat human gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) diseases including ulcers, GERD, upset stomach, dyspepsia and constipation.
There are several special precautions and warnings that should be heeded when using Sea Buckthorn. There is insufficient data regarding the use of sea buckthorn during pregnancy to ensure its safety, and whether it crosses over into breast milk is unknown. It is currently recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid the use of Sea Buckthorn supplements until additional data is available.
There are some initial indications that Sea Buckthorn has the ability to slow blood clotting. While in some instances this may be beneficial, it is important to stop taking this supplement at least 2 weeks prior to any scheduled surgery to reduce the risk of excess bleeding during and after an operation.
Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs administered to slow blood clotting may interact with Sea Buckthorn, causing an increase in anti clotting activity. Taking Sea Buckthorn in addition to these medications may increase the potential for excess bleeding and bruising. Some of the medications which may interact in this manner include aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, and warfarin. This is not a complete list. It is therefore very important to consult a physician before taking Sea Buckthorn products with any blood thinners or NSAID drugs.
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