Seabuckthorn and Rosacea

Quenching The Flames Naturally

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Seabuckthorn & Rosacea Cause and Effect

A real life rosacea success story

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While rosy cheeks or a soft blush may still signify health and wholesomeness, 
those who suffer from rosacea would likely disagree as they often experience significant 
physical and social discomfort from their conspicuously heightened colour.

Rosacea is a chronic and progressive inflammatory skin condition characterized by hypersensitivity of the vascular system of the face. According to a report by the National Rosacea Society, the disease afflicts at least 45 million people worldwide, typically fair-skinned, Northern European women between 20 and 50 years of age.  A variety of causes of rosacea have been explored including gastrointestinal disease, H. pylori infection, immunologic response to demodex overgrowth and an over reactive response of the skin’s nervous system – ‘our brain on the outside’.

Although no one source has yet emerged as a clear culprit, new research is yielding some interesting results. A team led by Richard L. Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, has determined that it is not one, but a combination of two abnormal factors, that result in rosacea.

"It's like having lots of gasoline...and a match," said Gallo, principal investigator of the study which was published in the August 5 online edition of Nature Medicine. In essence, the researchers found that over-production of two interactive inflammatory proteins results in excessive levels of a third protein that causes rosacea symptoms, "a trifecta of unfortunate factors in people with rosacea," according to Gallo. Antibiotics tend to alleviate the symptoms of rosacea in patients because some of them work to inhibit these enzymes. Our findings may modify the therapeutic approach to treating rosacea, since bacteria aren't the right target."

The first stage of rosacea is intense flushing from such triggers as sun exposure, temperature extremes, wind, alcohol, certain foods and stress reactions. This persistent flushing stimulates increased inflammation, releasing chemicals, the most powerful of which is histamine. Histamine, acting in concert with polypeptide C5a and the vasodilator prostaglandin, increases microvascular permeability, allowing fluid to migrate into the surrounding tissue. This in turn causes the tissue to heat up, swell and redden, attracting other inflammatory agents such as cytokines, part of the immune system’s multi-faceted inflammatory arsenal.

Persistence of this inflammatory spiral eventually leads to chronic redness and spider veins resulting from continued capillary congestion. At its most extreme it can lead to a disfiguring thickening of the skin and left untreated, can even involve the mucous membranes of the eyes.

Seabuckthorn – An Inside Out Approach

A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, seabuckthorn is showing promising results in the treatment of rosacea. An inside out approach has been the most successful - calming and nourishing the inflamed skin through application of seabuckthorn’s healing oils and quenching the internal inflammation with the potent mix of anti-inflammatory compounds from the leaves and berries of the seabuckthorn plant.

Taken internally or applied topically, seabuckthorn seed and fruit oils deliver a powerful anti-inflammatory punch! Fifteen phytosterols, seventeen carotenoids, all the isomers of Vitamin E and the essential omega 3, omega 6, omega 7 and omega 9 have each been identified as effective anti-inflammatories and between them, seabuckthorn seed and fruit oils contain them all! Applied topically the oils not only reduce inflammation but they regenerate cells, ease discomfort, nourish and soften dry and over-reactive skin and provide a protective barrier against water loss and infection – supporting the skin’s natural healing capacity.

High in quercetin, isorhamnetin and kaempherol as well as vitamin C, superoxide dismutase, carotenoids and vitamin E - juices, teas and capsules from the seabuckthorn berry and leaves are potent antihistamines. Reduction of histamine retards the acceleration of inflammation that normally results from histamine release, allowing the tissues to normalize and reducing redness and swelling.

Seabuckthorn’s flavonoids confer several significant benefits: they are powerful antioxidants, contributing to overall health and retarding abnormal cell production; they also strengthen the walls of the tiny capillaries (small blood vessels) – whose abnormal weakness is a critical symptom of rosacea.

The leaves of seabuckthorn are loaded with a variety of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and essential nutrients. Tannins, vitamin E, carotenoids, ferulic acid, folic acid, ellagic acid, amino acids, salicylic acid and more work from the inside to calm the overactive inflammatory response and sop up free radicals. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and other minerals provide needed nourishment to the cells.  

There appears to be general agreement among those who are researching and treating rosacea that inflammation is a major contributor to this persistent and resistant skin problem. So far, the cures are not much better than the disease and the requirement for effective measures to control and reduce inflammation through natural and non-destructive means is most pressing. Seabuckthorn is a very promising candidate. The fortunate intersection of current research into the many facets of inflammation with the benefits of seabuckthorn will hopefully point the way to a more gentle and effective strategy for managing distressing conditions like rosacea, which originate with or are aggravated by an over-zealous and unpredictable inflammatory response.

Susan McLoughlin is the President of Seabuckthorn International Inc. Peachland, BC Canada.

In partnership with her late husband, Ms. McLoughlin pioneered the seabuckthorn industry in Canada. Educated at UBC, she is currently engaged in the manufacture and marketing of nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals from seabuckthorn. Ms. McLoughlin can be reached at smcl@shaw.ca or 250 767 6100. 

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