Sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn

Specification & Spread

Fresh sea buckthorn fruits — fructus hippophaës rhamnoidis recentes
Sea buckthorn — Hippophaë rhamnoides L.
Elaeagnaceae family — Elaeagnaceae
Other names: sallowthorn, sandthorn.

It is a prickly, dioecious shrub or a small tree 1.5-6 (10) m tall.
The young shoots are silvery, perennial and dark brown in colour. The shortened shoots end in spines.
The leaves are alternate, simple, linear-lanceolate and entire. Above it is greyish-dark  and silvery-white below. The length is up to 8 cm long. The flowers are small, dioecious, regular with a simple perianth. The male flowers are staminate and dark brown. It has 4 stamens and gathered by 10-14 flowers in spiciferous inflorescences 5-8 mm long. The female flowers are pistillate, greenish and gathered by 2-5 in racemes. The fruit is a juicy, smooth, shiny single drupe. It is spherical or oval in shape, yellow or reddish-orange in colour and 1 cm in diameter.
The pedicels are short, the fruits «stick around» the branches. In general, sea buckthorn is a polymorphic species.
The plants differ in the crown structure, height and fruit and bark colour and size.

It blooms in April – May and the fruits ripen in August – October.

Spreading. It grows in the foothills and mountainous regions of the Caucasus, the Pamirs, the Tien Shan, the Altai, the Sayans, the Transbaikalia. In some areas of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Siberia it forms extensive thickets. It is widely cultivated. Sea buckthorn growing is connected with specialized farms.

Habitat. It grows on river valleys, river banks and among the mountains. It often forms dense thickets or clumps. It is cultivated on light sandy soils in direct sunlight.


The chemical composition of sea buckthorn depends on the variety, place of growth, time of harvesting and other factors.
The fruit pulp contains up to 8% of fatty oil and up to 12% in stones of seeds.
The fruit oil is intensely orange in colour and contains the sum of carotenoids (up to 300 mg%), vitamin E (100-160 mg%), Omega-3 and Omega-7.
The seed oil is slightly yellow and contains vitamin E (105-120 mg%) and a small amount of carotenoids.

The fruit pulp contains:

  • vitamins of group B, C, E, P, carotenoids, folic acid,
  • phospholipids (up to 1%),
  • triterpenes,
  • pectic substances,
  • organic acids (malic, citric, tartaric) (up to 3%),
  • tannins,
  • macro- and microelements (magnesium, silicon, iron, calcium, nickel, molybdenum, manganese, strontium, etc.).
  • There is no ascorbinase in sea buckthorn which ensures good preservation of ascorbic acid.

The fruits of sea buckthorn are also dried to get the oil — Fructus Hippophaës rhamnoidis sicci. First, the freshly harvested fruits are dried in open air and then it is dried at a temperature of 50-70 ºС.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. In autumn and rarely in winter the fruits are harvested during ripening. When it is harvested, the fruits are juicy and easily damaged.
It is recommended to separate the fruits from the branches using spring tweezers («scrubbing»), less often – shaking off the frozen fruits on the bedding (winter harvest). The harvested fruits are cleared from branches, leaves and other impurities.
The fresh fruits are processed. It is transported in solid containers.

Security measures. It is not allowed to break off or cut off fruit-bearing branches, especially in culture in limited areas.

Storage. The fresh fruits are stored in wooden barrels in a cool place for no more than 3 days. In winter the frozen fruits are stored in fabric bags and in unheated rooms.

External signs of raw materials

The raw material is in the form of fresh, ripe, juicy spherical or oval fruits. There are 4-12 drupes (15) mm long, with or without peduncles. There is one stone.
The colour is from yellow to dark orange.
The smell is weak peculiar, reminiscent of pineapple.
The taste is sweet-sour.

Properties and application

The pharmacological properties of sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn is the richest source of natural vitamins. The content of vitamin E in this plant exceeds all known fruits and berries in Russia.
Sea buckthorn oil possesses regenerative ability, accelerates epithelization and stimulates the growth of granulations in case of skin and mucous membrane damage. It has an antibacterial effect. It activates exocrine pancreatic activity and inhibits the secretion of gastric juice. It has a positive effect on lipid metabolism in the liver and protects biological membranes from the damaging effects of chemical agents.

Application of sea buckthorn

Sea buckthorn juice with pulp is recommended as a multivitamin agent.

Besides, sea buckthorn oil is used when:

  • radiation damage to the skin,
  • thermal and chemical burns,
  • bedsores,
  • trophic ulcers, etc.

The treatment of wounds by sea buckthorn is carried out before the appearance of granulations which fill the wound surface.

Sea buckthorn oil is used in:

  • stomatitis,
  • pulpitis and
  • periodontitis.

For chronic and acute laryngitis and pharyngitis treatment, it is necessary to lubricate the mucous membrane with a cotton swab dipped in sea buckthorn oil.

In gastroenterology it is prescribed for:

  • gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer,
  • dyskinetic disorders,
  • after operations on the esophagus.

In dermatological practice, it is recommended for a number of skin diseases (eczema, scaly deprive, pyoderma, skin tuberculosis, etc.).
The preparations containing sea buckthorn oil are used in the treatment of erosions, ulcers of the cervix, traumatic lesions of the mucous membrane of the vagina and cervix.


It is contradicted with: acute inflammatory processes in the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, cholelithiasis and individual hypersensitivity.