Sea buckthorn is a medium-sized, hardy, deciduous shrub that grows 2 to 6 m in height. It is found along riversides, in mountainous areas, and in sandy and gravel ground at elevations of 3,300 to 4,500 m. The bark is thick and rough. Each leaf is elongate-oblanceolate or elongate-spatulate, green at the top, and silver-ash green on the underside. It flowers in April and the sour, pearl-shaped, yellowish-orange fruits are collected from August to October. There are considered to be seven species, two of them probably of hybrid origin, native over a wide area of Europe and Asia.More than 90 percent or about 1,500,000 hectares (5,800 sq mi) of the world's sea buckthorn plantations can be found in China where the plant is exploited for soil and water conservation purposes.
Sea buckthorn has a rich history of use in treating numerous medical conditions. It has been called a wonder plant in many Asian countries, including China, India, and Pakistan. The berries have been used for more than 1,000 years in Tibetan and Indian systems of medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used to aid digestion and treat cough, circulatory disorders, and pain.
Numerous pharmacological effects are documented in the scientific literature, including antimicrobial, antiulcerogenic, antioxidant, anticancer, radioprotective activity, platelet aggregation, liver injury, cardiovascular risk factors, and effects on skin and mucosa.
The berries appear to be an unsurpassed natural source of vitamins A and E, carotenes and flavonoids., containing calcium, iron, manganese, and 18 amino acids. Sea buckthorn berries are second only to Rose hips in vitamin C content. They are also rich in several other vitamins, including B1, B2, K and P as well as in more than two dozen microelements.