Friday, October 23, 2009

Buckthorn North Fife

It's still fruit picking time and today I am delighted to have come across an abundance of Buckthorn fruits on my way to Perth from my home in north fife. My usual site to gather is near the sea at Tentsmuir forest. There the production is less, maybe because the bushes grow in the sand dunes or others get there first, humans or birds. Such are the beneficial qualities
of the fruit, I planted several in my garden 2 years ago, they haven't fruited yet maybe because there are male and female plants and mine are all male. The most assured way is to propagate cuttings from known females.

Latin Name
Hippophae rhamnoides L.


Common Names

Sea buckthorn, Siberian pineapple, Sea Berry, Sandthorn or Swallowthorn


It is native from northwestern Europe, through central Asia to the Altai Mountains to western and northern China and the northern Himalayas.

Historic Uses

Used in ancient Greece as a fodder for horses to promote weight gain and a shiny coat. In fact, the generic Latin name "Hippophae" literally translates to "shiny horse".
Sea buckthorn has been used for centuries in both Europe and Asia as food; and for its pharmaceutical properties.
Anecdotal reports indicate sea buckthorn was used in ancient times to:
Lower fever, reduce inflammation, counteract toxicity and abscesses, and clean the lungs.
Treat colds and coughs.
Treat tumours and growths, especially of the stomach and the oesophagus.

Functional Food

Juice from sea buckthorn berries is a common drink in many parts of Asia and Europe. The juice is very high in protein, vitamins C and E, and organic acids.
The leaves, either fresh or dried, can be steeped to yield a nutritional tea.
The leaves, young branches and fruit pulp can be used as animal fodder.


Topical application of sea buckthorn oil has been reported for skin therapy including sun, heat, chemical and radiation burns, eczema and poorly healing wounds. Russian cosmonauts used sea buckthorn cream for protection from cosmic radiation.
Oil from the sea buckthorn fruit is rich in vitamin E, carotenoids, phytosterols and essential fatty acids, all of which have beneficial medicinal properties for the treatment of internal and topical maladies.

The berries are very profuse as can be seen, the down side are the thorns on older plants causing the picking to be uncomfortable but never the less much worth it.

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