It never fails to amaze me what a miraculous, diversely vibrant world we live in, pulsating with all forms of energetic life. Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is but one of these astonishing discoveries especially for the beauty and wellness realms. This remedy—indigenous to the high mountainous regions of the Himalayans and Siberia—has made its way to North America, emerging as the latest trendy ingredient in cutting-edge beauty and health products. Why, in some quarters, sea buckthorn (sbt) has been called the Swiss Army knife (multi-faceted, multi-usage ) of plants, with well over 200 products being manufactured from it including facial serums, body oils, creams, hair conditioners, and “ingestibles” like teas, juice, tinctures, capsules, and jams (crazy about my tangy sbt jam! —www.mondoberry.com).
Like schisandra, ginko biloba, and the many other Eastern European and Asian ingredients now widely used in Western cosmetics, sbt has over a 1,000-year history of use. Talk about empirical knowledge! First records date back to the classical Tibetan medical book Sibu Yidian in which it was recommended for tonifying ying and strengthening yang. It’s said that the ancient Greeks fed it to their race horses, thus the botanical name Hippophae (“shiny horse”). And likely one indication of its benefits for hair!
In the 1990s, I experienced sbt berry juice along with the intoxicating high-commerce sights, sounds and smells of the tented backstreets of Hong Kong (like a James Bond movie!). The old Chinese woman who gave it to me, said, “Drink—you live long time.” Fast forward to 2003, and I was intimately involved in the development of an organic personal-care brand with a progressive chemist who included sbt berry oil in all of our skin and hair formulas. Yes, powerful inner and outer beauty benefits abound in sbt.
The juice from the bright orange berries, extremely high in vitamin C (16 times as much as kiwi fruit), has long been used for building one’s immunity against infection. Also a known source of cholesterol-lowering compounds, a highly regarded heart tonic, and possible protective agent against cancer, diabetes and liver disease, sbt berries have officially joined the same class of antioxidant fruits as pomegranate, guarana, mangosteen, noni berries, goji berries, and blueberries. They’re being touted as an efficacious natural preservative for foodstuffs and cosmetics alike given their powerful antioxidant and anti-microbial properties.
Sbt berries and leaves are über-rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, phytosterols, essential fatty acids (including omega 3, 6 and 7) and much more. Of note, Sbt is filled with the powerful antioxidant proanthocyanidin, which has strong body- and skin-protective qualities against free-radical attacks, including ionizing radiation, thus a measure of protection against skin cancer. Proanthocyanidins can also help preserve collagen and elastin, the building blocks of skin, and reduce puffiness or swelling, especially after surgery. All a strong case for sbt in your skin and sun protection products. The bright orange fruits derive their color from the 15-plus carotenoids they contain, including beta-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. The carotenoids—especially ingestibles like lycopene—have been proven to dramatically increase sun protection and retard aging of the skin. This research taps into one of the newest trends in nutritional foods—the “beauty from within” segment, also being called nutri-cosmetics, predicted to become a strong niche over the next few years. Yes, sbt berry oil is showing up in all forms of skin, hair, and nail care treatment, and with good reason.
Sea buckthorn’s nourishing, revitalizing, and rejuvenative powerhouse constituents make it a very effective anti-aging agent, greatly reducing dryness and the appearance of wrinkles. It preserves your skin’s moisture, and softens and lubricates your skin, keeping it smooth and clear. Its free-radical scavengering properties, as well as extraordinary anti-inflammatory activity—for healing and treating everything from skin wounds to burns, eruptions to rosacea—along with its many other skin-health-promoting functions, make this a real winner. Even yours truly is noticing and enjoying the benefits with the USDA certified organic sbt anti-aging serum that I’m indulging in (formulated by my physician, Dr. Joseph Mercola).
Certainly Google organic sea buckthorn berry oil to delve more deeply into this amazing plant and its multi-usages for inner and outer beauty, but also do visit www.sibubeauty.com, www.aubreyorganics.com, www.mercola.com, and www.weleda.com for organic personal care products, as well as for beauty and wellness ingestibles. Check out the natural medicines database www.naturaldatabase.com and www.taoofherbs.com for more fascinating background information on this astonishing plant.
Mary Beth Janssen is a highly respected beauty and wellness educator who teaches mind-body health and organic lifestyle seminars worldwide. She is a certified mind-body health educator for Deepak Chopra’s Chopra Center for Well-Being, as well as a massage therapist, aromatherapist, herbalist, and yoga teacher. She has authored five books, including Radiant Beauty: Your Healthy and Organic Guide to Total Body Well-Being and Rejuvenation: Spa Secrets for Menopause. Her newest is Pleasure Healing: Mindful Practices and Sacred Spa Rituals for Self Nurturing.