Clasa a 12-a B
Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân”
Sea-buckthorn, also known as Fructus Hippophae, are deciduous shrubs which are located along river banks or on pebbled lands, stretching from the European Atlantic coasts all the way to north-western Mongolia and north-western China. It reaches heights of 2 meters, its fruits are yellow or orange, the leaves are of a darker colour on their surface and silver on their ventral side. Sea-buckthorn fruits are used either fresh or dried and are to be harvested starting mid-August until late in October. The fruits can be preserved in the freezer and they are to be dried at temperatures around 80 degrees Celsius in order to mentain their properties. The fruit have a sour astrigent taste.
From a mythical and archetypal point of view, the symbolism of sea-buckthorn is closely related to Ancient Greece and Mongolia. Owing to its properties, the Greeks considered sea-buckthorn to be Pegasus’ nourishment and source of his flight ability. It is also the Greeks that produced the legend of a battle where they met defeat and when the warriors abandoned their wounded horses. Upon returning, they discover the equines feeding in a jungle of sea-buckthorn, with their wounds fully healed, strong, healthy and with glossy hair. Hippophae even means ”shiny horse” in latin, refering directly to these myths. Other myths related to sea-buckthorn spring from Mongolia. The famous Genghis Khan admitted at the end of the XIIIth century that this tree was his much feared army’s source of incredible vitality and endurance. One of the most interesting legends speaks about the practice of boiling enemies in oil. According to ancient medicinal Mongolian writings, several types of oil were recommended for this barbaric ritual, while only one was discouraged: sea-buckthorn oil. It was believed that its healing properties could in fact, spare the condemned. In Romanian culture, as a consequence of its remarkable properties, sea-buckthorn is also known as ”Romanian ginseng”.
The sea-buckthorn fruit contains over 10 times more vitamin C than citrus. In ripe fruits, the content exceeds 400-800mg/100g of fresh juice. Other vitamins include vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B9, E, K, P, F. It also contains cellulose, betacarotene (in a significantly larger percent than in carrots), microelements such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and sodium; folic acid, volatile oil, phytosterols, nicotinic acid, etc.
In terms of therapeutical properties, sea-buckthorn is astrigent, antiseptic, vitaminising, anticancer and anti-inflammatory. It is used in the treatment of many conditions. In cases of hepatitis or cirrhosis, fresh sea-buckthorn juice intake is recommended. In its absence, sea-buckthorn syrup is equally efficient, if ingested before the main meals. Such a treatment is to be associated with a strictly vegetarian diet. Sea-buckthorn powder is used as an ailment in arteriosclerosis and vascular fragility. It is also a remarkable adjuvant when it comes to severe conditions, such as cancer, leukemia, because it stimulates the resistance and regeneration rate of the organism. Studies carried out in Russia have proven that the sea-buckthorn treatment helps with weaning of alcoholism and smoking. Regular intakes of sea-buckthorns increases the serotonin level in the brain and therefore induces a state of calm courage, very useful for those suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression or angst.
Sea-buckthorn oil increases fertility in women, as well as men. It is world’s the richest natural substance in vitamin E. An one-month internal treatment of sea-buckthorn oil helps in skin and mucosal regeneration, doubling the healing speed of burns, wounds or surgeries. Sea-buckthorn oil accelerates the physical and mental developing processes in children.
As for the external use of sea-buckthorn oil, it is used in case of burns, by applying it directly on the previously disinfected affected area. In thin layer, applied on the skin, it protects the skin against aggressive environmental factors, such as cold, ultraviolet radiation and other types of radiation harmful to the skin. In cases of frostbite, the oil is applied as much as the skin can absorb, on the affected areas or on the areas that are to be exposed to the cold.
Sea-buckthorn may be consumed with honey, as following: 400g of sea-buckthorn are placed in a glass jar of 800g; add honey, enough to cover the layer of sea-buckthorn. Take one tea-spoon every day, 3 times a day. Store in refrigerator.
Sea-buckthorn and ginger elixir: 150g sea-buckthorn, 1.5L water, honey or sorrel; lemon and 10g ginger optional. Place the sea-buckthorn, peeled ginger and 200mL water in the blender. Turn on the blender and gradually add water. Filter with a fine sieve or with Teflon. Add the juice back in the blender and mix it with lemon juice. It may be consumed in combination with other fruit, to your taste.
I have to admit that I was well aware of the curative properties of sea-buckthorn before I started reasearching for this article. However, I was taken back by the variety of uses the fruit has. The fact that it is largely consumed around the world and its roots in ancient culture are yet another indicator of its efficiency and value. I consider that the derivatives of sea-buckthorn and the fresh fruit itself should benefit from greater popularity in Romania. From where I stand, it is the responsability of each and every of us not only to research such natural products, but also to further promote a healthy life-style, so much needed in a world of excess, of destructive industrialisation and of wandering away from mother nature.