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Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea Buckthorn Oil
Natural Medicine and Skin Care

Tcitrine-gem.jpgraditional source of natural skin care used to rejuvenate and nourish the skin to promote the healing of skin and mucous.

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides) was known for centuries as a skin care remedy and cosmetic aid with nourishing revitalizing, and restorative action. It has been traditionally utilized by Eastern and more recently by Western medicine. Sea Buckthorn oil is used to promote the healing of skin injuries, such as burns, sunburns, wounds, eczema and help improve conditions of mucous membranes, including ulcers, lesions, erosions. Due to the richness in nutrients required for the metabolism of healthy skin, Sea Buckthorn oil helps combats wrinkles, dryness and other symptoms of malnourished or prematurely aging skin. It is also taken to improve the conditions of the mucous membranes of gastro-intestinal tract and as a natural dietary supplement.


1. Sea Buckthorn – historical background

The berries of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides) are so rich in vitamins and nutrients that it has been even speculated that the plant must have been cultivated by some ancient plant-breeder. Legends about Sea Buckthorn tell us how the ancient Greeks used it in a diet for race horses, hence it’s botanical name “Hippophae” – shiny horse. According to another legend, Sea Buckthorn leaves were the preferable food of the flying horse – Pegasus. One of the most striking legends refers to the custom in some ancient kingdoms to execute convicts by dropping them into barrel of boiling oil. The legend tells that if the oil in the barrel was substituted by the Sea Buckthorn oil, the convict had a chance to survive. That last property of Sea Buckthorn has not been recently tested, but clinical trials and scientific studies conducted during the 20th century in several countries confirm medicinal and nutritional value of Sea Buckthorn.

The references to medicinal use of Sea Buckthorn were found in the Ancient Greek texts attributed to Theophrastus and Dioskorid and in classic Tibetan medicinal texts, including “the RGyud Bzi” (The Four Books of Pharmacopoeia) dated back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Herbal remedies made of Sea Buckthorn are most frequently used for the treatment of skin and digestive system diseases.

Traditional use of Sea Buckthorn oil to promote the recuperation of skin injuries and support the healing of skin diseases well agrees with the data of modern clinical studies. Medicinal value of Sea Buckthorn oil is associated with its apparent ability to promote the regeneration of the skin and mucous membranes. Sea Buckthorn oil is widely used to promote the recovery of various skin conditions, including eczema, burns, wounds, skin damaging effects of sun, therapeutic radiation treatment and cosmetic laser surgery . The preparations from the berries are also utilized to prevent gum bleeding, to help recuperate mucous membranes of the stomach and other organs. Cosmetics and skin care products made of Sea Buckthorn are valued for their rejuvenating, restorative and anti-aging ability.

Sea Buckthorn is a traditional medicinal plant in many European and Asian countries. Its popularity in America is somewhat delayed due to the fact that Sea Buckthorn is not native to this continent. Interestingly enough, many medicinal plants were brought over the centuries to the New World by immigrants. Similarly, Sea Buckthorn was brought to America by Russian immigrants at the beginning of 20th century.

2. Sea Buckthorn biology and chemistry

Studies conducted in 20th century confirm numerous beneficial characteristics of Sea Buckthorn. The berries appear to be an unsurpassed natural source of vitamins A and several other carotenes, vitamin E and several other tocopherols, flavonoids. Sea Buckthorn berries are second only to Rose hips and Acerola in vitamin C content. They are also rich in several other vitamins, including B1, B2, K and P as well as in numerous microelements. Furthermore, the berries have remarkably high content of essential fatty acids and phytosterols.

Biological studies suggest that the restorative action of the Sea Buckthorn oil may be in part due to its high content of essential fatty acids, carotenes, tocopherols and phytosterols, which are all important for the maintenance of a healthy skin. The EFA content in the Sea Buckthorn oil extract is 80 – 95%. Major EFAs are oleic (C18:1) and linoleic(C18:2). Others are pentadecenoic (C15:1), palmitoleic (C16:1), heptadecenoic (C17:1), linolenic (C18:3), eicosenoic (C20:1), eicosadienoic (C20:2), erucic (C22:1) and nervonic (C24:1). Among the carotenes found in Sea Buckthorn are alfa- and beta-carotenes, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, taraxanthin and phytofluin. Tocopherols are mostly represented by vitamin E and gamma-tocopherol. Phytosterols of Sea Buckthorn include beta-sitosterol, beta-amirol and erithrodiol.

3. About the name

Sea Buckthorn is spelled sometime together as Seabuckthorn or SeaBuckthorn. The correct English spelling is Sea Buckthorn. The name might be related to the fact, that in England the spiny shrubs and trees (it can grow either way, depending of the soil and climate) of Sea Buckthorn used to grow on sand dunes along the sea beaches. Similarly, the German name for Sea Buckthorn – Sanddorn may be translated as sand spine. In recent years, due to the expansion of Sea Buckthorn products into many new markets, the combined spelling: Seabuckthorn or SeaBuckthorn became quite popular as well. It is also worth mentioning that Sea Buckthorn has nothing in common with Buckthorn. These are two different plants from different families.

Sea Buckthorn is called Oblepikha in Russia, Sanddorn in Germany, Argousier in France, Espino Armarillo in Spain, Finbar in Sweden, Tindved in Denmark, Rokitnik in Poland, Yashildoo Chatsargana in Mongolia. Tradition of medicinal use of Sea Buckthorn in Central Asia regions stretching around the Himalayas (Mongolia, Russia, China) was most likely acquired from Tibetan medicine. Sea Buckthorn is a traditional component of Tibetan herbal medicines where it is called Star-Bu or D’har-Bu.

4. Sea Buckthorn oil extracts from Floraleads GR.

Sea Buckthorn oil extract has only two ingredients: Sea Buckthorn berries and high grade olive or almond oil. SeaBuckthorn oil extract is all natural product, free of artificial additives, residuals of organic solvents or synthetic contaminants. That is one of the reasons why oil extract works well with sensitive, easily irritated skin. Sea Buckthorn oil extract does not leave residuals as virtually all ingredients may be absorbed and assimilated by the skin. The nutrients are extracted from Sea Buckthorn berries in soluble form and the presence of insoluble ingredients is negligible. On line with applications in the treatment of skin and mucous injuries, Sea Buckthorn oil extract is beneficial in skin care and facial care, used to restore, improve and nourish healthy skin.

Sea Buckthorn oil extract is obtained from the wildcrafted berries of Sea Buckthorn by multistage extraction into high grade olive or almond oil. The extraction technology is based on the method originally designed in Russia, where Sea Buckthorn oil became available as a commercial product more than 50 years ago. It was further improved with advanced biocompatible techniques to develop safe, effective, stable, all-natural skin care product. As far as we know, this is the only Sea Buckthorn oil extract on the market, obtained without the use of organic solvents or CO2.

Various skincare, cosmetic and dietary products made of Sea Buckthorn are traditionally popular in different parts of the world. Besides Sea Buckthorn oil extract obtained with Olive oil, Floraleads GR produces Sea Buckthorn extract made with almond oil, valued as a unique facial care product, and blend of Sea Buckthorn oil with Rose hip oil. Sustainol is an herbal dietary supplement comprising nutritional benefits of Sea Buckthorn along with those of Bilberry and Rose hips.

5. Herbal oil extracts in traditional herbal medicine

Sea Buckthorn oil is an example of traditional herbal medicine formulation called oil extract. Just like alcohol extracts and tinctures are obtained by the extraction of herbs with ethyl alcohol, the oil extracts are manufactured by extraction of herbs with vegetable oils. Olive oil is used most frequently, Almond, Apricot and several others oils are occasionally utilized, butter was also employed in some recipes.

What is the difference between the herbal oils obtained by expression, solvent extraction, steam distillation or other methods? The overall content of oils in some herbs is not sufficient to make efficient the use of a press. On the other hand, steam distillation works only for volatile ingredients and may inactivate some temperature sensitive bioactive nutrients, essential for the healing action. Extraction with organic solvent is frequently utilized for the manufacturing of food additives and flavors from herbs.

Apparently, no one will argue that direct oil extraction is preferable to organic solvents for the skin care products. Supercritical CO2 extraction is sometimes mentioned as a viable alternative to direct oil extraction. But at the same time, it is known that chemical composition of supercritical CO2 herbal extracts is not identical to that of oil extracts. Thus, CO2 extracts may be depleted in nutrients, present in oil extracts, and responsible for the health beneficial action. Clinical trials and scientific research conducted to demonstrate biological activity, therapeutic efficiency and safety of several oil extracts were not repeated with CO2 extracts. So, at best it remains to be seen, how good CO2 extracts are as a substitute for traditional oil extracts. Last, but probably, most important, all knowledge of healing effects of oil extracts, acquired over the centuries of trial and error, are applicable only to oil extracts, until proven otherwise.

6. From “The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils” by Julia Lawless

“Many perfumes or oils, once obtained from flowers are nowadays produced almost entirely synthetically. In the pharmaceutical industry these chemically constructed products are called ‘nature identical’. … However, the so called ‘nature identical’ products and the naturally occurring essential oils are of an entirely different character, which is related in their relative cost – the synthetic types being much cheaper to produce than the genuine ones. … It is also the specific combination of constituents in a real essential oil, including the trace elements, which gives it value therapeutically. The reason for this might be that these minute amounts of trace elements have a synergistic or controlling effect on the main ones. ‘Nature identical’ oils can not be used therapeutically as a substitute for the naturally occurring aromatic materials, not only because the subtle balance of constituents is lost but also because they lack the vital life force of oils of natural origin.”

7. Some herbal oil extracts traditionally used in herbal medicine and cosmetics

  • Burdock root (Arctium Lappa) oil extract, also called Bur oil. Traditional hair care and scalp care remedy.
  • Marigold flower (Calendula officinalis) oil extract used to help reduce inflammation and promote the healing of skin injuries.
  • Celandine herb (Celidonum Majus) oil extract is traditionally used to help combat eczema, skin inflammatory disease, to reduce skin pigmentation and to help get rid of warts.
  • Mullein flower (Verbascum Thapsiforme) oil extract, also called King’s oil in Germany. Traditionally used to help get rid of eczema and inflammation of skin in and around the ear and as facial skin care aid for dry skin.
  • Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) oil extract. Traditionally used to help combat rheumatism, lumbago, to promote wound healing. Used internally to help calm down upset stomach.
  • Yarrow flower (Achillea Millefolium) oil extract traditionally used to help heal skin inflammation.
  • Plantain herb (Plantago major) oil extract was made in vegetable oil as well as in the butter. Used to promote healing of skin injuries, reduce inflammation.


8. Growing Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn is undemanding, cold resistant plant, which can grow into the beautiful bush or tree depending of the soil, climate and watering. The plant will reward the grower with nature made multivitamins around the age of 5 years. Berries of Sea Buckthorn are one of the best known natural sources of vitamins A, C, E, carotenes, and are rich in several B vitamins, EFAs, flavonoids etc., etc. Both male and female plants are required to have the berries.