GLOSSARY: SEA BUCKTHORN
Sakara Glossary is your go-to place to learn the foundation of optimal health and wellness—we give you essential intel on minerals, vitamins, and concepts integral to a healthier, more nourished life.
(sē ˈbəkTHôrn), noun.
Origin: Asia and North-Western Europe
Nicknames: SBT, Sea Berry, “Medicinal Berries of the Mother of God”
Find it in: Beauty Protein Super Bar; Soothing Salad with Sea Buckthorn Dressing
Hearing buzz about sea buckthorn? It’s quite possible it’s already in your topical skincare lineup—be it in a cream, scrub, or oil—or perhaps in your kitchen, granting juices and jams a tangy, citrusy twang. Or maybe this is your first encounter with the exceptional fruit. Either way, we’ve got good news: a whole array of sea buckthorn’s beautifying benefits await your discovery.
Sea buckthorn—or botanically speaking, Hippophae Rhamnoides—has been an international hit since its start, said to have been first used by the Thracians, Hindus, Greeks, Chinese, Mongols, Celts, and Slavs. When the potent plant made its way to Romania, one doctor was so enthralled that he dubbed it "the medicinal berries of the Mother of God.”
And rightly so. This bright berry (red, orange, or yellow in color) is the embodiment of plants-as-medicine: sea buckthorn has one of the highest levels of antioxidants among medicinal plants, is the highest natural source of rejuvenating omega-7, and contains a rare healing acid within its oil. It also happens to be the star of our Beauty Protein Super Bar. Read on to discover the secrets of our favorite superberry.
Sea buckthorn is known for its remarkably high quantities of nutrients and bioactive compounds. Notably, its fruit possesses plenty of lipophilic (fat soluble) antioxidants—mainly immune- and skin-supporting carotenoids and tocopherols—and hydrophilic (water soluble) antioxidants, like anti-inflammatory flavonoids, phenolic acids, and ascorbic acid (a.k.a., glow-inducing vitamin C). These antioxidants work together to protect your skin and nourish your glow.
Sea buckthorn also boosts skin quality by reducing advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. Accumulating in the tissues over time, AGEs are involved in age-related disease and skin degradation. Sea buckthorn contains inhibitory factors that combat AGEs, leaving your skin fresh and firm. This, combined with the fact that sea buckthorn is the holy grail of revitalizing omega-7, makes it an essential player in any luminosity-boosting skincare lineup.
Skin In The Game
Omega-7 fatty acids are a class of unsaturated fatty acids that not only help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and support healthy blood sugar levels, but also boost skin radiance. Sea buckthorn contains extremely high levels of omega-7, which moisturize the skin on a cellular level, support collagen regeneration, and increase skin’s overall “bounce” factor.
Zooming in, there’s a gene in your body that regulates cellular health and, when inactive, the integrity of your skin barrier is compromised (meaning breakouts, blemishes, and dryness abound). This gene, SIRT1, can be turned on with the help of omega-7, decreasing harmful and inflammatory cytokines and gene products, and increasing collagen regeneration. When SIRT1 is turned on, your skin is all the things: becoming softer, brighter, plumper, and smoother in the process.
Sea buckthorn also contains linoleic acid (LA) and y-linolenic acid (GLA), both forms of omega-6 with regenerative and reparative properties. GLA—a structural component of ceramides—acts as a bouncer for your skin cells: letting in valuable moisture while blocking inflammatory, infection-causing germs. It also helps improve blood circulation, crucial for oxygenating the skin and ridding excess toxins. Meanwhile, LA benefits the skin through preventing excessive water loss. The result? A dewy complexion, no matter the season.
In the beauty industry, sea buckthorn oil is known for its ability to improve hydration and elasticity of the skin, as well as ease inflammation. Its esthetic value is derived from palmitoleic fatty acid—a rare acid and component of skin fat known for its ability to support cell tissue and speed wound healing. The outermost layer of human skin, or the epidermis, itself is partly formed by this fatty acid; hence why sea buckthorn oil is a go-to component of many top-shelf lotions and creams.
Not only does sea buckthorn oil provide you with silky smooth skin, the oil has also been studied in other contexts, from its potential role in stimulating the immune system and aiding with cardiovascular disorders, to promoting cognitive function and bone health.
Tastewise, it’s pleasantly lip-puckering, akin to a tart orange with hints of mango. Most don’t pop the berry whole due to its stubborn seeds, instead pressing said seeds to extract its oil, or enjoying the flavorful, nutrient-dense juices from its pulp (which might then be added into, say, our satiating Beauty Protein Super Bar).
No matter how you slice (or press) it, let this small-but-mighty, skin-boosting berry serve as a reminder that true radiance starts from within—and that you have the power to unleash it.