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August 12, 2002

"SEABUCK THORN" - Nature's multi-purpose gift

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‘Seabuck thorn’  -  Nature’s multi-purpose gift  (Published in The Nation dated September 12, 2002)
The ‘seabuck thorn’ fruit contains a great potential of vitamin C which is said to be five to 16 times more than any other fruit. It is being used widely in China, Russia and Pakistan for making fast foods, jams, jellies, juices and toffees etc.

The oil from the seed of this plant is qualitatively super which contains 80 per cent non-freezing substance out of which 60 per cent Linoleic Acid is found. Vitamin E too is found excessively in addition to other invaluable ingredients to keep human beings healthy.

“Seabuck thorn’ oil can reach the most delicate tissue membranes of human body to regulate blood circulation. It thus exercises a rejuvenating effect on the skin becoming conducive to lend longevity, to put it succinctly.

kin-furrowing thus gets slowed with its use. ‘Seabuck thorn’ creams and other cosmetics are getting popularity in the developed countries like whole of Europe, America and Canada also. Tibetan physicians are said to have been using ‘seabuck thorn’ for centuries. In Russia, it is used for curing mouth-cancer, ophthalmic problems and eye-aches, burns and other skin diseases besides gynecological problems.

‘Seabuck thorn’ leaves are staple food for livestock obviously because of the abundant protein. With the plantation of ‘seabuck thorn’ in China, there has been mushroom growth of sheep farms with the resultant abundance of fodder.

The ‘seabuck thorn’ has a robust roots-system with them going down the soil perpendicularly for about three metres forming a web of roots all around, ranging from 6 to 10 metres with a very strong grip on the soil around. Its plantation may this prevent 96 per cent soil erosion. According to an estimate, a few such plants grown over an acre soon take the shape of a thick forest which prevents erratic flow of water, thereby becoming instrumental in regulated flows that may help sustain subsoil water. Such an afforestation in the mountainous regions like Gilgit-Baltistan may help overcome water scarcity.

With a view to becoming fully responsive to the growing demand – both national and international – and in order to eradicate poverty in the mountainous Gilgit-Baltistan, it is of great importance to scientifically broaden the acreage of cultivation of this plant, besides unhindered accessibility to the natural forest of ‘seabuck thorn’ in the region for their unimpeded marketing.

According to some statistics, the existing ‘seabuck thorn’ cover in the country is put at 7,000 acres from which 1200 to 2500 tons of fruit can be harvested annually.
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