Watch out for spines. Though we have trimmed off the worst offenders we may have missed a few - so keep your eyes peeled and handle with care.
Berries and leaves
Use these fresh leaves to make a tea to diversify your intake of plant based phytonutrients.
Wash well before use
Eat the berries raw straight off the stem - or remove them with a fork (instead of your hands) to avoid making them burst.
Pop a few leaves and berries into a teapot, cover with water just off the boil and leave to stew for 15minutes. Add some honey and lemon to taste (if you wish) and drink as a herbal tea.
Add raw berries to 50ml of olive oil, 30ml of apple cider vinegar, juice of a fresh lemon and dried herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme. shake well and leave the flavours to steep for 24-48 hours. Store in the fridge and use as needed. Can be mixed with yoghurt to create a more mellow dressing. Pairs well with all fresh salads, white meats and pasta.
More detailed info:
Sea buckthorn is officially called Hippophae rhamnoides belonging to the family Elaeagnaceae. It is a hardy deciduous shrub indigenous to Asia and Europe.
Being dioecious it has male and female plants and both are required for pollination and subsequent berry production. It is wind pollinated, so can reproduce without the presence of pollinators and can be grown from seed and also propagated from sucker plants that it sends out readily. It has a near miraculous level of hardiness, tolerating a wide range of temperatures, altitudes, salt levels and is also drought resistant!
The resilience of the plant can be attributed to its extensive root system that has evolved symbiotic relationships with soil organisms so it can produce it’s own fertiliser through fixing nitrogen from the air and generate pretty much all it needs to survive and thrive. It’s hardiness has impressed plant scientists so much that they are now examining which genes are responsible for its unique capacities.
There is a rich history between humans and sea buckthorn with legends going as far back as ancient Greece.
In mythology Sea Buckthorn was said to be the food of Pegasus the winged horse. It was well known for its capacity to bestow horses with a beautiful glossy coat. Its official name being Hippophae Rhamnoides is supposed to translate as the ‘Tree that makes horses shine’
A Greek legend has it that horses that had been mortally wounded in battle were released by their riders into the wild to die in a dignified way. It is said that horses released into forests containing seabuckthorn trees are said to have returned to their owners in perfect health and with a shining coat – from eating sea buckthorn berries (and probably the leaves too).
'Numerous health benefits, including antiatherogenic, cardioprotective, antiplatelet and antiulcer activities of the seed oil, as well as antioxidative activity of leaf extracts, have been demonstrated using cell culture and animal models. Sea buckthorn berries are also rich in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants. Sea buckthorn flavones have been linked with inhibition of thrombosis and hypertension, and promotion of wound healing. The positive effects of berries and its extracts have also been demonstrated in human subjects thus, both historical accounts and scientific research indicate that this plant has immense nutritional and medicinal potential.' (1)