If It’s Good Enough for Spacemen…

18 Oct

“They feed sea buckthorn berries and oils to Russian astronauts before they go to Space to protect them against cosmic radiation,” says Michael Gale, a co-owner of natural skincare company Beautiful Rock.

His Newfoundland-based enterprise makes soaps, body creams, shampoo and salves using only natural ingredients. And Gale is passionate about the healing powers of the sea buckthorn berries grown by his business associate Michael Bland, a ship’s captain-turned-veterinary surgeon-turned-berry farmer.

Michael Bland (left) and Michael Gale (right)

Bland, whose company is called Elixir Organics, started growing his orchard in Wooddale, Newfoundland, in 1998, after experiencing the healing properties of the orange, bitter-sweet berry for himself. He had been taking a milk thistle and sea buckthorn syrup to clear up a nasty case of gall stones. “I did my research and discovered it was the best thing ever,” he says.

The tart berry is native to the Himalayas, but it thrives in Central Newfoundland too, thanks to the sandy soil, sunshine and pristine water and air. “We can get up to 15 kg of berries on one tree here,” says Bland.

Sea buckthorn is said to help prevent and heal skin irritations, gastric ulcers, urinary tract infections, inflammatory conditions, vision problems and liver and heart disease. It speeds skin recovery after radiation treatment too. The berry boosts immunity and can play a role in weight loss and slowing signs of aging, such as wrinkles and hair loss. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, K and E, carotenoids, as well as Omegas 3,6,9 and the lesser known Omega 7–vital to collagen production.

You can add the berries to salads, smoothies or your morning oatmeal, as you would cranberries–or even juice them. “Don’t throw out the seeds though, because that’s where most of the goodness is.” warns Bland. Instead, you should chew or chop them well. Sea buckthorn comes in oil and capsule form too. Or you can make a tea from the leaves, which are full of inflammation- and cancer-fighting terpenes. And of course, you can apply the berry directly to the skin, suspended in a cream or soap.

Even the cats, dogs and horses in Grand Falls-Windsor are getting their daily dose in powder or juice form. Some Beautiful Rock customers lather up their pets’ fur with sea buckthorn shampoo to clear up irritations and prevent scratching. What’s not to love about a product for animals that’s tested on spacemen?

Gale’s dog, Bella, likes to get her nutrients straight from the branch. (Note her shiny coat.)

Have you tried sea buckthorn? What was your experience? Any other superberries you swear by?

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