Herb: Tibetan Sea Buckthorn

Latin name: Hippophae tibetana

Family: Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)

Medicinal use of Tibetan Sea Buckthorn:

The tender branches and leaves contain bio-active substances which are used to produce an oil that is quite distinct from the oil produced from the fruit. This oil is used as an ointment for treating burns. A high-quality medicinal oil is made from the fruit and used in the treatment of cardiac disorders, it is also said to be particularly effective when applied to the skin to heal burns, eczema and radiation injury, and is taken internally in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases. The fruit is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have a sour taste and a neutralizing and sharpening potency. Antitussive, blood purifier and expectorant, it is used in the treatment of disorders of the lungs, inflammation of the pulmonary tract, difficulty in expelling phlegm and coagulation and clotting of the blood. The fruit is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Open sunny places in montane areas, rarely found below 3000 metres. Rocky and sandy ground at elevations of 3800 - 4200 metres in Nepal.

Edible parts of Tibetan Sea Buckthorn:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Very rich in vitamin C, but too acid when raw for most peoples tastes. The flavour is somewhat lemon-like. The fruits of some species and cultivars (not specified) contain up to 9.2% oil. Used for preserves. The fruit becomes less acid after a frost or if cooked. This species has the largest fruits of the genus, 100 fruits weighing around 40g.

Other uses of the herb:

The wood is used for fuel. A red cosmetic is obtained from the ripe fruit.

Propagation of Tibetan Sea Buckthorn:

Seed - sow spring in a sunny position in a cold frame. Germination is usually quick and good although 3 months cold stratification may improve the germination rate. Alternatively the seed can be sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring into their permanent positions. Male seedlings, in spring, have very prominent axillary buds whilst females are clear and smooth at this time. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame. Difficult. This is the easiest method of vegetative propagation. Cuttings of mature wood in autumn. Difficult. The cuttings should be taken at the end of autumn or very early in the spring before the buds burst. Store them in sand and peat until April, cut into 7 - 9cm lengths and plant them in a plastic tent with bottom heat. Rooting should take place within 2 months and they can be put in their permanent positions in the autumn. Division of suckers in the winter. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions and usually establish well and quickly. Layering in autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Open sunny places in montane areas, rarely found below 3000 metres. Rocky and sandy ground at elevations of 3800 - 4200 metres in Nepal.

Known hazards of Hippophae tibetana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.