Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) has been used for centuries for its nutritional and medicinal properties. It is a shrub which grows orange-yellow berries, and is native to Europe and Asia. The berries, leaves, seed or pulp oils contain many useful bioactive compounds and is a rich source of natural antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids, organic acids and phytosterols. Numerous studies have been conducted demonstrating its useful effects in medicine on both humans and chickens. However the chemical composition of sea buckthorn berries vary widely depending on the manufacturer. Specific applications studied in poultry include:
Immune boosting: Administering sea buckthorn berries in 15-day-old chicks demonstrated an immunoprotective effect against mycotoxicosis.
Antibacterial: Sea buckthorn leaves inhibit the effects against Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. The seed oil may be beneficial against Escherichia coli.
Antiviral: Sea buckthorn was found to possess a very strong antiviral activity and wide range of action against avian influenza and Herpes viruses in a study conducted in mice in 2005.
Antioxidant: Sea buckhorn berries include high levels of vitamin C (695 mg/100g), vitamin E (1-10 mg/100g) and carotenoids (3-15 mg/100g) especially beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthine. The leaves, as fresh form contain carotenoids (26.3 mg/100g), chlorophyll (98.8 mg/100g), proteins (20.7%), amino acids (0.73% lysine, 0.13% methionine & cystine), minerals (Ca, Mg and K), folic acid, catechins, esterified sterols, triterpenols and isoprenols.