Generalized yellow skin caused by high intake of sea buckthorn

Forsch Komplementmed. 2012;19(3):153-6. doi: 10.1159/000339331. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Background: One of the reasons many people use sea buckthorn is that it contains several antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, fatty acids, organic acids, and flavonoids. These substances promote proper cellular function and health which is expected to lead to or maintain beautiful hair, skin and nails, and also have several potential applications in cancer therapy, cardiovascular diseases, gastric ulcers, and liver cirrhosis.

Case report: We present the case of a 45-year-old male with yellow staining of the skin that had appeared gradually over the last 3 months. After a thorough check-up and the exclusion of any other etiology, we found out that the patient's skin color was due to reported chronic consumption of sea buckthorn for the last 6 months. This overdose had initially remained undisclosed because the patient considered it not relevant for the history of the disease.

Conclusion: This case emphasizes the role of taking a thorough medical history of patients with yellow skin in order to allow a correct differential diagnosis. Overdose of alternative therapies like sea buckthorn should be considered in cases of yellow skin with an obscure etiology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Hippophae / adverse effects*
  • Hippophae / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects


  • Plant Preparations