Sea buckthorn oil is a powerful, nutrient rich oil which is used to relieve and even treat many internal health conditions. It is also used for acne and other skin disorders. Sea buckthorn oil is one of the very few oils that have more nutritional value besides the essential fatty acids. This oil contains Vitamin A, C, E and some B vitamins too, which is great from a nutritional value.This oil is safe to be used on the skin, and also when taken by mouth in small doses. Using it like a natural health supplement can improve general health and well being.
Sea buckthorn oil is obtained from Hippophae rhamnoides, which is commonly known as the sea buckthorn. It is a flowering shrub which produces orange colored berries. This bright orange color of the berries is a sign of high carotenoid content in them, just like carrots. There are many types of this oil, depending on what part of the plant is used to extract oil.
- Sea buckthorn seed oil : This is extracted specifically from the seeds inside the berries.
- Sea buckthorn pulp oil : This is taken from the berry pulp, discarding the seeds.
- Berry with Seeds oil : This is the most common form of sea buckthorn oil which is made from whole berries, including the seeds.
All these oils have moderate differences in terms of their nutrition value, their color and aroma. They however have quite similar properties because they all come from the same plant.
( Photo courtesy : arthur_chapman )
Color and Aroma
Sea buckthorn oil is dark amber, almost reddish in color. This is due to the deeply pigmented carotenoids in the sea buckthorn berries. Beta – carotene is orange in color, and lycopene is red in color. Both of these carotenoids are found in sea buckthorn oil, which results in a yellowish-red color.
Sea buckthorn oil may not have the best smell in the world, but it is unique. The oil smells like “moist wood” which is quite woody. It is to the liking of some, while many others may not like it. The aroma of sea buckthorn oil dissipates slowly when used in vaporizer or oil burner.
( Photo courtesy : sackton )
Sea buckthorn oil possesses a host of therapeutic properties which make it such a versatile oil. It can be used for relieving the symptoms of many serious health conditions.
- Antioxidant – This oil contains about 60 major and minor antioxidants.
- Anti-inflammatory – The oil reduces inflammation both when used topically and when used internally.
- Demulcent – coats the mucus membrane lining our intestinal wall. Thus relieves ulcres and throat irritation.
- Anti-ageing – regular application of any sea buckthorn oil reduces signs of ageing, like wrinkles.
- Circulation booster – It has been identified to boost micro-circulation.
- Skin cell regeneration – It improves the regeneration rate of epidermal cells. Epidermis is the outermost layer of skin.
- Sunscreen – it naturally protects from harmful UV radiation from the sun.
- Anti cognitive decline – It can slow down the rate at which cognitive powers of the brain decline.
- Anti cholesterol – helps in reducing cholesterol levels, naturally.
- Anti-radiation – this oil is used in some places to protect against radiation induced damage.
- Anti fungal – acts against certain fungi species
- Anti-bacterial – acts against some bacterial strains.
- Anti-cancer – This is not evaluated in depth, but we know that sea buckthorn oil can improve health status in case of cancer.
- Anti-asthmatic – relieves asthma and bronchial spasms.
- Emollient – moisturises the skin.
- Stomachic – tones stomach muscles and improves digestion.
- Vulnerary – heals wounds
- Rubefacient – along with its anti-inflammatory power, it also reduces redness on skin.
- Expectorant – aids the body in expelling phlegm .
These properties make sea buckthorn quite useful in medicinal applications and formulas.
Uses And Health Benefits
Sea buckthorn oil is great for rejuvenating and regenerating the skin when applied topically. It is also healthy when consumed internally as a supplement, because of its nutrition.
1. Sea buckthorn oil for Skin
Sea buckthorn oil is an ingredient in some anti-ageing products. It can be applied directly to the skin in undiluted form. However, one should always do a patch test on non-sensitive skin to make sure that the oil does not lead to skin irritation or chemical burns. Applying sea buckthorn oil on skin provides the following health benefits.
- Wrinkles, Fine Lines and Age Spots – It reduces the three major signs of ageing skin. The fatty acids and carotenoids in sea buckthorn oil penetrate into the skin and provide it nutrition. This external supply of nutrients keeps the skin supported and nourished.
- Prevent A Sunburn – One can make a strong natural sunscreen by mixing zinc oxide, sea buckthorn oil and cream base. Zinc oxide is a potent sunblock and sea buckthorn oil enhances its power. Effectively, you get more SPF out of your natural sunscreen. This protects from getting a sunburn while you are sunbathing.
- Heals dry skin – regular application of sea buckthorn oil heals dry, parched skin and moisturizes it.
- Relieves eczema – Apply sea buckthorn oil diluted in aloe vera gel on eczema lesions. It provides relief from the itching and scratching sensation and also promotes the lesions to heal. Its vulnerary property promotes wounds and lesions to scab and heal, bringing new and healthy skin faster.
- Rosacea – It combats rosacea, which is excessive redness on skin because of its Rubefacient property. The results can be seen within a week.
- Acne – Sea buckthorn may be helpful in reducing the redness of acne pimples and diminishing their size over time. One can apply it directly on the pimples, or cysts ( if you have cystic acne ) using a cotton swab.
( Photo courtesy : uberculture )
If sea buckthorn oil is too strong for your skin to bear, just dilute in some common carrier oil, like olive oil, or coconut oil and then try to use it. One can also try changing the brand of the product and see if that works.
2. Sea buckthorn oil for Ulcers
Sea buckthorn oil is a potent natural remedy for mouth ulcers and peptic ulcers . One can take it internally, but the dosage should be followed strictly because it is a strong oil and may irritate the mucus membrane if taken in high concentrations.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea buckthorn oil ( cold pressed and organic ) in 1/2 glass of any juice. The beneficial nutrients of the juice are also well absorbed. The fats in sea buckthorn oil boost the bioavailability of fat soluble vitamins in the juice that you are taking. Take this no more than 2 times a day.
While on this treatment, avoid spicy food. The ulcer should go away in a few days. One can notice this because the sharp pain right after eating food disappears.
This home remedy also works for heartburn, acid reflux and it normalizes the acid secretions in the stomach. In general, sea buckthorn oil can improve the functioning of the stomach, which really improves the whole digestion. This boosts appetite, as the body is ready to digest more food.
3. Sea buckthorn oil for Asthma
Taking sea buckthorn oil as described above ( 1/4 teaspoon in juice ) can help in relieving the symptoms of asthma. This oil may have bronchodilating effects. Moreover the nutrition provided by it is great for the body. If you like the smell, then diffuse it in the air using a diffuser. This might also be helpful in asthma.
4. Sea buckthorn oil for expelling cough
To detach phlegm from the throat, perform a warm gargle with sea buckthorn oil. Add 20 drops oil to a glass of warm water. Gargle with this water. This home remedy expels phlegm from the throat and provides relief from nasal congestion.
5. Use it for minor wounds
After you have applied an antiseptic, use sea buckthorn oil in a base of honey. This thick mixture speeds up wound healing in cuts, scrapes, scratches and prevent scarring. Honey is also an excellent natural wound dressing.
Other health benefits of sea buckthorn oil.
- Taking the small amount of this oil can help a person lower his or her cholesterol levels. The oil has high amount of phytosterols which have cholesterol lowering ability.
- The oil may provide cancer preventive health benefits. With more research work, we would be able to know more about the interaction of sea buckthorn seed and pulp oil against cancer and in reducing the effects of poor health which accompanies a cancer.
- This oil also tones the blood vessels and improves overall cardiovascular health. This effect may be mild, so it can take lot of time for it to take effect. It is a natural cardiotonic.
- Sea buckthorn oil may also reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Its nutrition helps the body in delaying neural degeneration which is the basic process that causes these conditions.
Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
Sea buckthorn oils are generally considered safe. However, one should always go for cold pressed and pure oils and avoid those extracted using solvents. The use of solvents produces many harmful chemicals in the oil, even though they may be in ppm or ppb ( parts per million, parts per billion ) ranges. Even in these low amounts, harmful chemicals can take a toll on health in the long run.
When taking internally, always take 1/4 teaspoon in some medium. This can be lemon juice, coconut oil, olive oil etc. Do not exceed this amount.
( Photo courtesy : peddhapati )
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Sea buckthorn oil is noted for its powerful nutrition. Although most oils are devoid of many vitamins and minerals, this oil on the other hand is a good source of some of them, while many others are found in smaller amounts. Sea buckthorn oil contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E ( both tocopherol and tocotrienol forms ), Vitamin C, Vitamin K , Lycopene and numerous other flavonoids and phytonutrients. The fatty acids composition in pulp oil is slightly different from seed oil.
Differences between sea buckthorn seed oil and pulp oil
In terms of nutrition, these are differences between oil taken from seeds versus that taken from pulp.
- Seed oil has much higher Vitamin E content than pulp oil because seeds have more Vitamin E.
- Seed oil also has higher Vitamin K content.
- Pulp oil has more than double the amount of carotenoids than that in seed oil. This is mainy because the pulp is deeply colored. The pulp oil is more orange in color. 
- Seed oil has more phytosterols.
- In terms of fatty acids, seed oil has higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. Both seed oil and pulp oil are low in saturated fats, which is heart healthy.
- Pure seed oil is rich in omega – 3 ( alpha-linolenic acid ) which is found in traces in pulp oil. 
Fatty Acid profile of Sea Buckthorn Oil
|Palmitoleic Acid||29.7 %||MUFA|
|Stearic Acid||1.1%||Saturated fat|
|Palmitic Acid||31.3 %||Saturated fat|
|Oleic Acid||28.4 %||MUFA|
|Linoleic Acid||6.8 %||PUFA|
|Alpha Linolenic Acid||traces||PUFA|
The important thing to note about this oil is that it is high in Palmitoleic acid, which is an omega – 7 . This is quite high in comparison with other oils. Other oils that are high in omega – 7 fatty acids are black currant oil, mink oil and macadamia nut oil. Pamitoleic acid is similar to human sebum and therefore helps to keep the skin balanced when it becomes too oily or too dry. This is also helpful for acne.
The oil is also high in palmitic acid, which is saturated fatty acid and oleic acid ( which is omega – 9 ).
Complete Nutritional Profile of Sea Buckthorn Oil
|Vitamin A ( as beta carotene )||254 I.U.||2.35 %|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||–||–|
|Folic Acid (B9)||–||–|
|Vitamin E||123 mg||1230 %|
|Vitamin K||75 μg||93.75 %|
Sea buckthorn oil extracted by cold pressed method has a high concentration of phytosterols.  These are compounds that resemble cholesterol in structure, but they have powerful health benefits. The most prominent health benefit of many sterols is that of cholesterol and trigyleride reduction. As a result, this oil has the ability to reduce cholesterol levels in blood.
Other important chemical properties of Sea buckthorn oil
|Density||0.915 g/ml||good for massage oil|
|Storage temperature||–||No specific requirements|
|Comedogenicity||–||Rated from 0 to 5|
|Acid Value||4 %||Measure of acidity|
|Peroxide Value||below 2.6||Measure of rancidity|
|Iodine Value||86||Measure of unsaturation of fat|
|Saponification Value||191.2||Average mol. wt of fatty acids|
Sea buckthorn oil is a powerful natural oil which is great nutrition, especially among oils. It is great to keep the skin healthy and also for optimum overall health.
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2. Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhamnoides L.): Production and Utilization. By Thomas S. C. Li
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4. Palmitoleic acid isomer (C16:1delta6) in human skin sebum is effective against gram-positive bacteria. Wille JJ, Kydonieus A. NCBI.
5. Phytosterol content of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) seed oil: Extraction and identiﬁcation. Thomas S.C. Li, Thomas H.J. Beveridge , John C.G. Drover. NCBI.
6. Nutritional data obtained from Sea Buckthorn Oil – Mountain Rose Herbs.