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Sea buckthorn: benefits and uses

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A natural source of omega 7, sea buckthorn is a must-have if you suffer from dryness.

🕒 2 min read

The leaves, orange fruit and seed oil of this medicinal plant have been used for centuries to relieve conditions where dryness is a symptom, including eczema, dry eyes, dry hair and vaginal dryness.

The ancient Greeks even fed sea buckthorn to their horses to improve their health and increase the glossiness of their coats, which explains its scientific name, Hippophae, meaning 'shining horse'.

How does it work?

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in beneficial fatty acids, including the essential omega 3 (linolenic acid), omega 9 (oleic acid) and a particularly high amount of omega 7 (palmitoleic acid), for which it is best known.

The other main natural source of omega 7 is macadamia nuts, although useful amounts are found in some cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon.

The antioxidants found in sea buckthorn oil include anti-ageing vitamin E, flavonoids and carotenoids, which give the oil a lovely ruby-red colour. It is also a good source of plant sterols, which provide heart health benefits.

What can it help?

Sea buckthorn oil supplements can improve hair and skin quality, as well as reducing any tendency towards dryness throughout the body. It is especially helpful for women around the time of menopause, but can be taken by men, too, for its cardiovascular effects.

Dry skin and mucus membranes

Omega 7 is an important building block for healthy skin and mucus membranes, and has been used externally in creams, and as a food supplement, to promote skin quality, boost wound healing and reduce dryness and itching.

Dry eyes

The combination of fatty acids and antioxidants found in sea buckthorn oil helps improve the function of Meibomian gland cells, which are responsible for the secretion of oil into tears, increasing their lubricating qualities and reducing evaporation.

Research shows that taking sea buckthorn oil daily, for three months, can relieve eye redness and burning compared with placebo.

Vaginal dryness

Female intimate dryness is a common problem linked with hormonal changes associated with hormonal methods of contraception, childbirth and the menopause.

However, a study involving post-menopausal women with troublesome vaginal dryness, itching or burning, showed that taking sea buckthorn oil daily for three months provided significant benefits compared with placebo.

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