It lives in the mountains, often unseen and overlooked. It is a secret held by the ancients, once forgotten. It is the stuff of legend, driving men to the skies, the infirmed into victorious battle, the warlord to conquer. It is a mysterious food, a plant that grows in climates not picked upon by the mortal man. It is called sea buckthorn and, while the legends may not always measure up to history (what legend does?), sea buckthorn’s interesting contributions to world mythology suggest a fascination with this super berry that goes back thousands of years.
A Common Thread
Let’s set aside some of the stuff we know is factual. Sea buckthorn has been discovered in centuries-old medicinal texts in Tibet and China (read more about sea buckthorn history). It was used there to treat coughing, digestive problems, skin issues, wounds and burns, even cancer in some cases. Recently, science has come to discover its unbelievable dense nutritional content, a source of Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-7, Omega-9, Vitamin A, several B Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
The most fascinating thing about sea buckthorn is that it appears in legends from multiple cultures, including ancient Greek mythology, Greek historical legend, and even the bloodstained histories of the mighty Genghis Khan. Apparently sea buckthorn benefits have been known for a very long time.
The Flying Horse
Sea buckthorn’s proper name normally ends in “hippophae,” which means “shiny horse.” Most of the legends of this berry involve, strangely enough, horses… beginning with the most legendary horse of all.
He sprang from the blood of the snake-headed beast Medusa… a horse, a creature, a monster, a god. Pegasus was known as a flying horse, a tool of the lords of Mt. Olumpus. It is said that whenever Pegasus’ feet touched the earth, a spring of water would burst forth. Legend holds that Pegasus’ favorite mountaintop snack was a berry that grows in the high climates Pegasus was accustomed to: sea buckthorn. Legend even suggests that Pegasus’ flying abilities may have been aided by this miracle berry (the research isn’t in on that one yet).
From Dead Horse to War Horse
This part is likely where “shiny horse” came from, and may even explain how sea buckthorn ended up as a cameo in the Pegasus legend.
Some Greek historical texts suggest that sea buckthorn’s benefits were discovered by accident. A group of soldiers were confronted with the difficult task of releasing old, useless, unhealthy horses into the wild to die. The horses ran into the distance, never to be seen again… until they came back, coats bright and shiny as ever. The reason for their health turnaround? They’d fed off a natural patch of sea buckthorn berries and rejuvenated their vitality.
Sea Buckthorn Conquers the World
As Genghis Khan marched his unstoppable armies across Asia, it is said that the warlord had a nutritional trick up his sleeve. It wasn’t some early form of cocaine or steroids, but a simple, bitter berry called sea buckthorn.
From Pegasus to Ancient Greece to Ancient Asia, the legend of sea buckthorn suggests that man has had a longstanding belief in the healing power of this super berry. It’s not known as a legendary berry for nothing.