Health effects of sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides L.) oils: Chinese and Russian knowledge and claims are supported by Finnish research

Heikki Kallio1 and Baoru Yang1,2

1Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland

2 Aromtech Ltd, Veturitallintie 1, FIN-95410 Tornio, Finland (Present address)



A number of positive effects of sea buckthorn oils have been claimed and even proved by ancient tradition and modern research. The series of pharmacopoeia books The rGyud bzi (773-783 A.D.) and Jing Zhu Ben Cao (1835 A.D.) contain more than 300 ancient prescriptions. "Common knowledge" is that se buckthorn products, especially when containing oils, are beneficial in preventing and relieving sputum and cough, inflammations and gynecological disorders. The products are also claimed to improve blood circulation and digestion. There is a wide selection of case reports and traditional experience, which should be confirmed and supported by more clinical trials.

Our joined research carried out together with Chinese, British and Finnish experts, have shown, that many of the findings and believes have rational, nutritional background. Our research group has published at least indicative results showing, that sea buckthorn oils inhibit platelet aggregation and increase HDL-cholesterol level but not LDL-cholesterol level. The oils also relieved symptoms and improved indicators of atopic dermatitis. In experimental animal models protection of gastric mucosa and even curing of gastric ulcer were recoginized. The unique combination of acylglycerols of special fatty acids, sterols, tocopherols, tocotrienols and carotenoids makes the oil responsible for the health effects.