Sheferdia: what is this plant, benefits and harms, application
In our country, few people know about such a useful berry as sheferdia. Only the inhabitants of the Krasnodar region, in the markets of which you can find it at the end of autumn. Other names of the berry are red sea buckthorn, buffalo berry, rabbit berries. However, in Russia the berry is more often called American sea buckthorn. And this is for a reason. The closest relatives of the crop are sea buckthorn and silver loch. Sheferdia is native to North America, where it grows along riverbanks, in valleys, and even on rock slopes.
What is sheferdia
Sheferdia is a deciduous shrub belonging to the Loch family, which begins to bear orange-red, globular fruit in the fall, with a diameter of 4 to 7 mm. The bright berries have a skin in tiny speckles with a delicate, sour-sweet taste in the flesh. There is a small stone inside. The taste of the berries is somewhat tart, slightly astringent. For this reason red buckthorn is rarely eaten fresh. It is more often used for making jams, marmalades, compotes, marshmallows or sauces. Also for the winter, the fruits are twisted with sugar, making vitamin preparations or dried. When dried, cheferdia is very similar in appearance to raisins.
The taste of sheferdia becomes softer, more delicate, and the bitterness disappears after frosts. That is, when the fruits remain on the shrub and are affected by the first low temperatures. Then and the harvest becomes easy and pleasant to collect.
Despite a lot of useful properties, high food quality and undemanding to growing conditions, the culture is not widespread in Russia. In general, it may well be grown in Siberia, the Urals and the Far East, thanks to its resistance to frosts and droughts, the ability to grow and bear fruit in any soil. The plant is practically not affected by pests and requires minimal care.
Composition of Sheferdia
The unique fruits of American culture contain a huge amount of biologically active substances, vitamins, minerals. The bright red color of the fruit indicates a sufficient content of powerful antioxidants. The composition of sheferdia contains:
- Protein - 0.5 g per 100 grams;
- carbohydrates - 3.8 g
- fats - 0.2
- organic acids;
- natural sugars;
Berries are a treasure trove of vitamins A, E, C, PP, group B. And the pulp and seeds contain a lot of essential oils. Sheferdia can be compared to black chokeberry in vitamin C content, and its quantity is higher than in oranges.
The energy value of the product is only 28 kcal per 100 grams. Therefore, the huge content of biologically active substances combined with low calories makes American sea buckthorn a valuable food product, which is desirable to introduce to the diet of every person. With the exception of the existing contraindications, which will be discussed further.
American berries also contain fiber, which is necessary for the normal activity of the digestive organs and for the gentle cleansing of the intestines, due to its improved peristalsis. All of this together allows you to significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Useful properties of sheferdia
If you dive into history, you can learn that since ancient times, the Indians consumed sheferdia as a means of increasing immunity. The vitamin supplement also served as a prophylactic against the occurrence of many diseases. Later on, Native Americans and Canadians used red sea buckthorn not only as food, but also for medicinal purposes. Thanks to it, they were able to get rid of constipation, tuberculosis, fever, and many stomach diseases. Sheferdia was used to make decoctions and infusions that relieved headaches, dizziness, swelling, and healed wounds and cuts. Even today, Americans use buffalo berries to relieve itching from insects, improve skin conditions, and get rid of gynecological problems.
The most pronounced properties of Shepherdia are antioxidant, bactericidal and anti-inflammatory. Therefore, if you regularly use berries in food, you can:
- Reduce the risk of flu and colds, which is especially important during the cold season and when these diseases are massively affected.
- Improve your appetite, which is important for children and adults who are underweight.
- Improve the condition of the skin, thanks to the presence in the composition of antioxidants that prevent aging and vitamins, minerals that contribute to healthy looking dermis.
- Improve vision.
- Stimulate the metabolic processes in the body, which is especially important for people who want to get rid of excess weight.
- Normalize blood pressure, which suggests that eating sheferdia can be both hypotensive and hypertensive.
- Slow down the beginning of the development of atherosclerosis.
- Protect the cardiovascular system from disease.
- Normalize the work of the digestive organs.
- Quicker recovery from an illness.
- Improve the condition of veins and make them more elastic.
Also, buffalo berries have a mild choleretic and diuretic effect, which is also very important in the recovery process after any disease. People on diets or days off can also consume them without fear. Sheferdia reduces inflammation in the intestines, which allows the latter to get rid of toxins and harmful substances faster, performing a soft, natural cleansing. Also, regular consumption of berries provides an opportunity to improve memory, which is extremely important for students and intellectual workers.
The oil from the fruit or seeds of the plant also has valuable properties. With its help, treat burns, frostbite, skin ailments and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Also with the help of oil taken internally, you can reduce blood pressure. The effect will be good if you use together with herbs motherwort, rosemary, field horsetail. When taken internally it is not necessary to increase the dosage - 1 teaspoon before a meal for 20 minutes is enough to help establish the digestive tract.
Who can especially benefit from sea buckthorn
Undoubtedly, American sea buckthorn is useful for all people, regardless of gender or age category. In some cases, it can bring a pronounced therapeutic effect due to its unique composition. The most important minerals - selenium and zinc, present in the fruit of the plant, actively protect the liver cells from toxic compounds. That is why they are recommended for people who have liver problems, are on long-term medication, abuse fatty foods and alcoholic beverages.
Lycopene is another valuable component of berries. Its presence, which is greater in quantity than in tomatoes, allows fighting the development of cancer and destroying free radicals. It is worth mentioning that lycopene levels in the blood are lower in people who abuse alcohol and tobacco products. This also applies to people of advanced age. You can make up for the lack of lycopene just by using Shepherdia. In general, elderly people should consume American sea buckthorn regularly, not only to improve immunity and vitaminize the whole body, but also to prevent the atrophy of skeletal muscles, which often happens in adulthood.
This product is of great benefit in terms of women's health, as it strengthens all organs, favorably affecting the reproductive system. This is due to the high content of vitamin E, without which the synthesis of sex hormones and fertilization of the egg is not possible. That is why women dreaming of having a baby should definitely include sheferdia in their diet. And also - the bark and leaves of the American shrub can cure venereal diseases. For example, in ancient times in North America, a strong decoction of the roots treated syphilis. But the remedy was quite poisonous, and men could not have children after it. However, here we had to choose the lesser of two evils.
In combination with other natural remedies, red sea buckthorn can have a positive effect on the nervous system. It can be consumed for the prevention of nervous disorders, breakdowns, stresses and depressions. Especially since the berries contribute to the production of endorphin - the hormone of joy.
Application in home treatments
At home, you can apply the recipes of folk medicine on the basis of sheferdia. You can also use it for the prevention of many diseases. So, with the help of red sea buckthorn self-treatment:
- Infectious and viral diseases - SARS, flu, colds, when adding home remedies with rabbit berry to traditional medications.
- Organs of the digestive system, applying tinctures, decoctions or fruits of the plant in fresh or dry form.
Sheferdia can be used to prevent cancer, atherosclerosis, normalize blood pressure, improve immunity against diseases in seasonal epidemics, to accelerate recovery after the most serious diseases and operations.
For example, an infusion of dried berries, which will take a minimum of time to prepare, can be drunk regularly. 1 tablespoon of dried fruits of the American plant is poured 1 cup of boiling water, wrapped for 20 minutes. Drink for:
- improve the work of the immune system;
- Prevention of malignant tumors and strokes;
- Strengthening of blood vessels and the preservation of the cardiovascular system.
Use such an infusion can also be used for gastrointestinal diseases, but only in combination with other medicines. In the season of acute respiratory diseases it is recommended to drink tea with fresh berries of Shepherdia, just pouring them with boiling water and letting them stand for a few minutes. If you add there fresh currants, you can greatly improve the taste of the drink, saturate the body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
The oil is prepared as follows: the pure fruit of the plant is dried in an electric dryer or oven, ground. You can use a coffee grinder for this purpose. Pour the powder with cold-pressed olive oil in a ratio of 1 to 2, leave in a dark place to insist for about 10 days. Use a glass dish with a closed lid.
Use berries and for cosmetic purposes. After all, they are saturated with antioxidants, valuable vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E has always been considered a beauty vitamin, so do not miss the opportunity to take care of your skin with home remedies based on Shepherdia. For this purpose, they prepare face masks from it, using additional components - eggs, sour cream, kefir. Such masks smooth the skin, moisturize and nourish it. If you add abrasive products to the pulp - salt, sugar, ground coffee, you can use it as a scrub. It removes dead cells, improves skin regeneration, making it soft, gentle and healthy.
Means based on American sea buckthorn prevents aging, prolongs youthfulness of the skin, effectively combats fine and expression lines. This is thanks to powerful antioxidants.
Sheferdia oil can also be used to nourish and moisturize the skin. To make it at home is not difficult - the recipe is described above. It is also used for masks or scrubs, as well as pulp, adding other food products. The oil is effective as a cosmetic for the eyelids. It can be applied in massage lines before going to bed, 1-2 hours, or added to the used eye cream. The amazing effect will not slow down - the skin around the eyes will become young, smooth, without fine wrinkles and puffiness.
Applying Sheferdia as home cosmetics, you should not forget about its ingestion. After all, beauty comes from within and depends entirely on nutrition. If you regularly eat sweet and sour berries, then after a while you can notice an improvement in the condition of the skin. The dermis becomes smooth, young, tender and healthy. Small rashes, blackheads disappear without a trace, as do wrinkles. Pamper your skin with beneficial substances from the inside and outside!
It is worth mentioning that Shepherdia berries are used to produce shampoos that have medicinal properties. Such products get rid of dandruff, strengthen hair follicles and improve the condition of the scalp in general. It is also used to make creams, lotions, scrubs and nail care products in Canada and the United States.
Contraindications to use
Despite the mass of useful properties, in some cases, red sea buckthorn can cause harm to a person. Thus, it is contraindicated:
- patients with stomach ulcers, especially in the acute stage;
- pregnant women;
- nursing mothers;
- Patients suffering from inflammation of the duodenum;
- In acute diseases of the gallbladder;
- Individual intolerance to the product.
With any chronic diseases, before taking berries as food or for medical purposes, it is necessary to consult with your doctor. It is also not recommended to use them in case of kidney disease in the acute period. During persistent remission, with the consent of the attending physician, the consumption of red sea buckthorn in most cases is not prohibited. After all, it has a mild diuretic effect, which is important for sick kidneys and eliminates the risk of formation of stones there. The same applies to diseases of the gallbladder. In the acute period, the fruits of the American plant are not used, but in remission, it is quite possible to eat them in small quantities. The berries have a choleretic property.
Sheferdia fruits are allergic, so people with a tendency to allergic reactions should consume it very carefully. When first introduced to the product, you should try just 2-4 berries and follow closely the reaction of the body. At rashes on the skin or any unclear symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract, further consumption of buffalo berries should be abandoned.
Due to the possibility of allergies, sheferdia is prohibited during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Nor should it be given to small children under the age of 4-5 years. This is also due to the fact that berries are allergens. In no case should you consume buffalo berries in large quantities. It leads to diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and in some severe cases, death. Maybe that's why it's not customary to eat it fresh at all in its native land of cheferdia.
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