Should you be taking a brisk walk along the coastline, you might come across a little shrub with spiky leaves and a bright orange berry. It might just be sea buckthorn! If you’re new to it, you’ll be amazed by just how powerful this tiny berry really is. Here, we answer the most common questions about sea buckthorn.
What are the benefits of sea buckthorn?
This bright little berry comes packed with nutrients which give it some impressive health benefits. As an overview, sea buckthorn is thought to support your immune system and protect your skin, eyes and mucous membranes.
The main healthy nutrients in sea buckthorn are vitamins C and E, folate, beta-carotene and omega-7.
Luckily for you, we have a full article dedicated to the benefits of sea buckthorn, along with its history and nutrients.
How to take sea buckthorn?
Really, it depends on which benefits appeal to you most. At Erbology, we make four different sea buckthorn products, which we recommend for slightly different results.
For example, if you would like to use sea buckthorn for its incredible quantity of vitamin C, we’d recommend drinking the juice. We make this in a 40ml shot or in a larger 250ml bottle, if you like to drink it every day. Lots of people also love using sea buckthorn juice in baking or cocktail making, as it’s a fantastic flavour.
We also stock dried sea buckthorn berries. These contain vitamins C and E and folate, which is the naturally-occurring form of folic acid. They are great for stirring into your porridge or sprinkling over salads.
Similarly, we make sea buckthorn powder which is simply crushed, dried sea buckthorn berries, with the seeds removed. It is really convenient and easy to use. You can add a spoonful of sea buckthorn powder to just about anything, from breakfast bowls to baking, so it’s probably the easiest way to get some sea buckthorn into your diet.
Finally, we make sea buckthorn berry oil. The oil is rich in beta-carotene and omega-7, which are fabulous for your skin, eyes and mucous membranes.
You can take it neat, drizzle it over yoghurt or porridge, or dilute it in a carrier oil and apply it directly to your skin.
The oil is also the product we recommend for easing symptoms of the menopause, as it is particularly high in omega-7 which helps care for your mucous membranes.
Will sea buckthorn clog pores?
Sea buckthorn oil scores a 1 out of 5 on the comedogenic scale, which means it’s very unlikely to clog your pores.
The scale ranges from 0 (completely non-comedogenic) to 5 (likely to clog your pores). So, you can see that sea buckthorn ranks very low on the scale and most skin types are likely to be able to tolerate it.
It absorbs easily into your skin and contains lots of skin-loving nutrients. So, if you’d like to add it to your skincare routine, you can do so without worrying about breakouts.
This is true for all skin types, from dry to oily.
Can sea buckthorn cause acne?
Consuming sea buckthorn, or applying sea buckthorn oil topically, is very unlikely to cause acne. Indeed, it may be beneficial for acne sufferers.
Acne is often caused by an increase in sebum (skin oils) thanks to changes in your hormones.
If you suffer from acne, you should be especially mindful of the comedogenic scale and look for skincare which won’t contribute to blocking your pores. As mentioned above, sea buckthorn oil is widely tolerated.
What’s more, some studies suggest that sea buckthorn can actually help fight acne. One study found that a topical skincare cream containing sea buckthorn extract had anti-sebum secretion effects over the eight week observation period.(1)
Meanwhile, a summary of the active ingredients in sea buckthorn found that the oil treats eczema, reduces spots, acne and skin inflammation.(2) This might be to do with its high concentration of linoleic acid; acne sufferers often show a decrease in linoleic acid, which is linked to increased breakouts.
In conclusion, if you suffer from acne, sea buckthorn oil is likely to be more of a friend than a foe!
Does sea buckthorn oil stain your skin?
Sea buckthorn oil has a vivid yellow to orange colour. Rest assured, though, it will not stain your skin if you use it as part of your skincare routine!
It will, however, give your skin a yellow/orange tinge while you have it on. Because of this, most people like to use it before they go to bed and leave it on overnight. You can safely wash it off in the morning without leaving any pigment on your skin.
You should be careful with your sheets, pillow cases and clothing, however, as sea buckthorn will also impart its colour to these. If you like to use it overnight, we recommend choosing a dark-coloured pillow case.
You can also reduce the vibrancy of the colour by diluting it in a carrier oil. Choose a non-comedogenic oil such as hemp seed or sweet almond oil, which have their own benefits for your skin, too.
“Phytoestrogens are naturally-occurring plant compounds which work similarly to the estrogen in our own bodies. As a result, your body may react in the same way to phytoestrogens as it would to your own estrogen.”
Can sea buckthorn cause constipation or diarrhoea?
There is little evidence that sea buckthorn can cause constipation, but it may have a mild laxative effect if you consume it in large quantities.
Sea buckthorn has been traditionally used to soothe digestive ailments.(3) There is some scientific evidence to back this up.
For example, one review claims that sea buckthorn oil can soothe inflammation in the alimentary system and duodenum and treat diarrhoea.(1)
Another study notes that sea buckthorn can help with ‘gastric emptying, gastric mobility and gastrointestinal digestive function.’(4)
Therefore once again, sea buckthorn is more likely to be a help than a hindrance in this area. Just don’t overdo it.
Does sea buckthorn help with menopause?
There is some evidence to suggest that sea buckthorn can help with vaginal atrophy and symptoms of dryness during or after menopause.
As we know, sea buckthorn is particularly good at caring for your mucous membranes. This is especially important for women who are experiencing discomfort as a result of going through menopause.
These symptoms are commonly treated with estrogen, however, this treatment isn’t right for everybody and can be ineffective in some people.
A double-blind, randomised trial of 116 post-menopausal women found that participants who consumed 3g of sea buckthorn oil daily had improved vaginal health. The researchers identified it as a potential treatment for women who are not able to undergo treatment with estrogen.(5)
Another promising study found that three out of five patients showed improvement of chronic vaginal inflammatory atrophy. However, more clinical trials would be needed to confirm the result of a study with such a small number of participants.(6)
In short, the results look promising but have yet to be confirmed by the scientific community.
Is sea buckthorn a phytoestrogen?
Yes, sea buckthorn does contain natural phytoestrogens, including quercetin.(7)(8)(9)
Phytoestrogens are naturally-occurring plant compounds which work similarly to the estrogen in our own bodies. As a result, your body may react in the same way to phytoestrogens as it would to your own estrogen.
Phytoestrogens are quite common in the plant world, and can be found in foods such as soybeans, flaxseed, sweet potatoes, garlic, pomegranates and apples.(7)
Estrogen is involved in sexual development, reproduction and your menstrual cycle. During menopause, your body produces less estrogen, which can lead to some unpleasant symptoms like headaches and hot flushes. Estrogen is commonly prescribed to help relieve these symptoms.
It’s important to remember that phytoestrogens can be just as powerful as synthetic estrogen, so speak to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements or remedies sold as phytoestrogens.
The amount of phytoestrogens you consume in the form of whole foods, however, is generally considered to be safe.
Everything you need to know about sea buckthorn
If you’d like more information about sea buckthorn, don’t forget to check out our article on the origins and benefits of this powerful berry.
Alternatively, you can view our full range of sea buckthorn products to find the right one for your needs.