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Sea Buckthorn for Healthy Immunity

Hippophae rhamnoides, or Sea Buckthorn, is scrubby bush with long branches, extended thorns, and sturdy willow-like leaves.  The bright berries begin to appear in dense bunches along the stem from mid to late summer, and will remain prolific into the fall.  It can withstand extreme temps, making it ideal for the highs and lows of the Kyrgyz climate.  The berries are collected and used in a number of different ways by resourceful Kyrgyz families.

In Kyrgyz, sea buckthorn is known as чычырканак (chich-er-kanak).  More commonly heard, however, is the Russian name, облепиха (ob-la-pea-ha).  It is a crucial ingredient in "Issyk-Kul Tea", which refers to the main region in which the berries grow with rigor and abundance.  The tea is usually served with honey and lemon, and creates a sensational color when served in clear glass teapots.  

Immune System
The berry is rich in Vitamin C, so drinking the tea helps to boost immunity, as well as brighten the skin.  Sometimes the berries are used to create jams or sauces that are used daily in steaming cups of green tea.  In any case, there is a clear awareness of the boost to a healthy immune through sea buckthorn consumption.

Weight Control 

The little orange sea buckthorn berries also contain a high proportion of fatty oils, particularly Omega 7, which is rare to find in natural elements. Studies have shown that including sea buckthorn oil in one's diet can help stabilize body weight, or even lead to weight loss. 


Sea buckthorn oil also has a high concentration of antioxidants, which are useful in skincare products to help smooth wrinkles and restore some natural balance.  In Kyrgyzstan, local cooperatives are beginning to emerge that produce a range of lip balms, face creams, lotions, and soaps that are locally-sourced and developed.

Be sure to incorporate a little bit of this orange miracle berry into your visit to Kyrgyzstan.  It will delight the locals and lift any mood, along with adding some extra boost to your overall health!


Women in Kyrgyzstan Making Soap

Women in the village of Tasma revive an ancient recipe for making soap. They demonstrate their process and the final product in this video. The primary herbs shown are calendula, chamomile, and wormwood, but other plants and herbs are also used, including sea buckthorn. Shops in Bishkek and Karakol are dedicated to these local cooperatives, while throughout the country it is becoming common to see stands with their goods in restaurants and normal markets.

Ruby Mitchell

Online Content Editor @ White Leopard Travel Co.

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