Seabuckthorn berry supplement health benefit and side effects by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 5 2014

The berry, from a plant called the sea buckthorn, has been used for centuries in Asia and Europe as a medicinal product. Rich in antioxidant vitamins, healthy fatty acids and other nutrients, seabuckthorn berry is currently used in a range of products, from skin creams, dietary supplements, and edible oils.
   Seabuckthorn is a thorny shrub that grows 2 to 4 feet in height. The seabucktorn berry is about half a centimeter in diameter and turns bright orange as it ripens by September.

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Benefit of seabuckthorn - Hippophae rhamnoides, family Elaeagnaceae
Seabuckthorn herb has been used for skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, and burns and it may also reduce inflammation.

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Seabuckthorn for inflammation reduction
Sea buckthorn berries may reduce CRP, a marker of inflammation, and a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced in the liver and is a known marker for inflammation. Increased levels of CRP are a good predictor for the onset of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Petra Larmo from the University of Turku recruited 233 healthy subjects and randomly assigned them to receive sea buckthorn or placebo product for 90 days. The daily berry dose was 28 g (frozen sea buckthorn berry puree). The daily dose contained 16 mg flavonol glycosides (the glycosides of isorhamnetin were the most abundant), 15 mg vitamin C, and 1 mg alpha-tocopherol. Calculated as aglycones the total daily amount of flavonols was about 8 mg. At the end of the study significant differences were observed between the groups. Supplementation with sea buckthorn was associated with a reduction in CRP. "Effects of sea buckthorn berries on infections and inflammation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial" European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007.

Ingredients and composition
Sea buckthorn berries has a high amount of vitamin C and E content, essential minerals and amino acids, carotenoid and phenolic pigments, phytosterols, essential fatty acids, and several minerals. Consumption of sea buckthorn juice provides potassium, chromium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and iron. See also Hippophae rhamnoides research information.

Adverse reactions
Indian J Pharmacol. 2012. Acute and sub acute toxicity and efficacy studies of Hippophae rhamnoides based herbal antioxidant supplement. Present study was carried out to evaluate acute and subacute toxicity and efficacy of Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) based herbal antioxidant supplement (HAOS). In vivo toxicity studies were performed in male balb 'C' mice by oral administration. Acute toxicity study was done at doses ranging from 2000 to 10 000 mg/ kg while in subacute studies, HAOS was given at doses of 2000, 4000, and 8000 mg/kg body weight. Animals were observed for any toxic sign and symptoms periodically. At completion of study animals were sacrificed; their hematological, biochemical parameters were analyzed and histopathology of vital organs was done. In vivo efficacy studies in human volunteers were done and the levels of vitamin A and Vitamin C in blood samples were analyzed in comparison to a similar commercially available formulation. No mortality and any clinical signs of toxicity were found in HAOS administered group of animals. There were no significant alterations in hematological and biochemical parameters. Histopathological analysis of vital organs showed normal architecture in all the HAOS administered groups. Human studies showed an increase of 32% and 172% in Vitamin A and Vitamin C levels respectively in term of bioavailability. The data obtained indicate no toxicity of this antioxidant supplement up to the highest dose studied. Efficacy in terms of increased bioavailability of vitamin A and C in human volunteers indicates the clinical usefulness of the supplement.

Uses of seabuckthorn
This herb can be used for juices, jellies, tea, and marmalades.

Extraction Process
A new way to process sea buckthorn berry has been found that maximizes its health potential. The juice from the sea buckthorn berry tends to be poor-quality. Dr. C. Arumughan of the Regional Research Laboratory in Trivandrum, India, have found a high-speed centrifuge process that allowed them to create a clear berry juice rich in vitamin C and a host of other antioxidants. The processing also yielded a fruit pulp "remarkably rich" in antioxidant carotenoids, vitamin E and plant sterols -- compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol and have been found to lower blood cholesterol levels. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, October 2006.

History of the seabuckthorn botanical name
It is said that the Greeks gave sea buckthorn leaves to their horses and noticed the coats of the horses turned shiny. Thus, the botanical name of Hippophae. Hippo means horse and phaos means to shine.

Q. I am currently taking a supplement called Thai-Go which is mangosteen juice. It also contains sea-buckthorn. I am also taking Supercritical Omega-7 by New Chapter which has sea-buckthorn and is supposed to help alleviate vaginal dryness. Do these two products give me too much sea-buckthorn?
   A. There are no established values and safe levels of seabuckthorn, therefore it is difficult to give any such advice. Plus, one person may tolerate a high dosage of seabuckthorn while another may not.

Q. A health food store proprietor was raving about some of the miraculous healing and repair benefits his customers have been experiencing taking sea buckthorn oil. Will you be having a review of this oil in your list on the website?
   A. I have not come across human studies with seabuckthorn oil, so I don't know what benefits it has.