I absolutely love foraging for sea buckthorn berries, they have so many benefits especially for skin and hair health and are up there among the most nutritious superfoods on the planet, almost as good as the acai berry, which comes all the way from Brazil.
The good news is Sea Buckthorn grows really well in Scotland and can be found growing all along the coast and can be harvested over a fairly long time, from mid September up until the first frosts!
So what’s so great about sea buckthorn berries…
The fatty acids are anti inflammatory, rejuvenate the skin, repair damage and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They are converted to prostaglandins, which protect against infections, prevent allergies and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin E is a great hydrator, increases and maintains moisture content leaving the complexion smoother and more plumped.
Vitamin C and Carotenoids stimulate collagen production, protecting and refining the surface of the skin and protect against damaging and ageing free radicals.
The combination of this unique profile facilitates oxygenation of the skin, increases blood circulation, removes excess toxins and easily penetrates the epidermis which floods the skin with healing vitamins and antioxidants.
Harvesting the wee orange berries isn’t easy, since they are attached to the branch really closely and are extremely juicy and literally burst if you try to pick them!
So you need to take a pair of secateurs and snip off whole branches, remembering to leave plenty of berries for the birds, who I am sure know how beneficial these berries are!
The easiest thing is to put the branches into the freezer, ideal if you have a large chest style freezer, then the frozen berries just pop off!
Sadly my freezer is full so I have to do it the hard way, you will need a pair of rubber gloves, a basin and a fork. Just use the fork to prise the berries off, some of them will burst but it doesn’t matter, so long as the juice ends up in your basin, its all good. Enlist in a few helpers and put some fine tunes on and you will have a basin full of berries in no time.
You need to check for any wee insects and give them a chance to escape, so go and have a cup of tea and put the berries outside for half an hour or so.
Give them a quick check for any thorns or woody stems and remove them.
Then you need to mash the berries to a pulp to extract all the lovely juice, a pestle and mortar works well, a large rolling pin, a potato masher or anything else heavy.
Transfer the mashed berry pulp to a sieve over a bowl, and use a metal spoon to press out as much juice as possible. I transfer the remaining pulp to a muslin nut milk bag and squeeze the rest of the juice out by hand. It’s precious and I like to collect as much as possible!
The juice is a gorgeous vibrant colour, its really tart so you can’t drink lots of it but I like to have a wee shot glass or mix it with some orange and passion fruit water kefir which is delicious.
It’s a hard flavour to describe but its very distinctive, almost citrussy with a hint of pineapple. Many people add loads of sugar to it to make a syrup but I’m not a fan of sugar so I prefer to use it neat!
The low pH preserves the juice beautifully, I still have some from last year and its still fine although obviously some of the vitamins and antioxidants will be less effective. This year I am going to freeze some juice in ice cube trays for maximum preservation of all the good stuff!!
So back to uses of this incredible berry, you can literally just apply the juice neat to your skin, but try a patch test first incase you have a reaction to it.
I have incredibly sensitive skin but am fine with sea buckthorn, it actually gives you a lovely glow, almost like a healthy tan!! And it protects the skin against free radicals and sun damage so another reason to use it!
I will be mixing the juice with my homemade hair conditioning spray, my unscented shampoo, my kombucha toner and my kefir face masks and downing regular shots of juice!
If you don’t want to go to all the bother of foraging your own sea buckthorn, you can buy capsules and oil for internal and external use.
These will be more effective than home pressed juice, since the seeds and the pulp will be processed to extract all the beneficial oils and all of the beneficial compounds, although depending on the process involved some could be lost or damaged. Generally cold pressed is the best since heat destroys antioxidants and vitamins.
I use Sea Buckthorn capsules for dry eyes, they really make a difference. In fact dryness anywhere in the body can be alleviated by using sea buckthorn oil or capsules.
This really is miracle stuff for the skin, I can’t recommend it highly enough!!
So what are you waiting for, take a wee trip to the seaside, take a picnic, some gardening gloves and a pair of secateurs and lookout for these super berries!
🍃 Health educator🍃