Goji Berries Benefits

Goji Berries
Latin Name

Lycium barbarum

Also Known As

Wolf Berries

Origin

China, Tibet, Nepal

Parts Used

Berries

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Revered for time immemorial, the goji berry has an ancient history in China. It has been used for over 6,000 years as an all round health tonic and made its first appearance in recorded history in 250 BCE, courtesy of the Emperor Shen Nong in his book “Shen Nong Ben Cao Jin”.

Goji berries were used for anything from liver support, male impotence and premature greying to eye disorders. One of the newest “ancient” discoveries, the goji berry is enjoying a renaissance in the modern world with various parts of the plant used for teas, tinctures, creams, energy bars and much more.

Goji Berry Benefits

Antioxidant

With an oxygen radical antioxidant capacity (ORAC) score of 3,290, goji berries are in the premier league of superfruits. Not only that, they are packed with antioxidant vitamins and minerals – coupled with phytonutrients that have a strong antioxidant capacity - the goji berry is a useful weapon in your arsenal if you are embarking on a detox and cleanse.

In a 2011 study by Bucheli P et al, it was concluded that a daily portion of goji berries increased levels of the antioxidant zeaxanthin by 26% and increased overall antioxidant capacity by a whopping 57%. The study was conducted with healthy elderly men and women who drank a milk based goji berry drink for 90 days.

Eye Health

With one serving providing over 40% of the RDI of vitamin A, goji berries can help to protect against all manner of age related eye diseases. Vitamin A is notorious for its role in eye health – not only does it produce the pigments in the retina, it enables eyes to adjust to light changes, keeps eyes moist and improves night vision. The aforementioned zeaxanthin has been proven to protect the retina from the damaging effects of light.

Immune System

Goji berries contain unique compounds known as Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, with research showing these compounds enhance the body’s ability to resist disease. They are also rich in vitamin C – crucial to the body in its efforts to fight infections (both bacterial and viral), white blood cells contain 20 times the amount of vitamin C than other cells and require constant replenishment to keep the immune system working to its optimum capacity.

Goji berries support the immune system in that they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They contain pre-biotic fibre which feeds the probiotic bacteria which in turn will enhance the function of the immune system.

Liver Health

The reputation of goji berries to support liver health is now backed up by science. The have been found to contain betaines – neutral chemical compounds shown to reduce fatty deposits in the liver. This is why you will find goji berries making a regular appearance in liver cleansing tonics and detox programmes.

Stabilise Blood Sugar

With a low glycaemic index (GI) of just 29, goji berries are one of the few fruits that can be enjoyed by diabetics. They won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and there have been some studies that show goji berries may have a positive impact on reducing insulin resistance.

Typical Use
Goji berries can be enjoyed every day, try sprinkling on cereal or yoghurt, add to your morning smoothie or just eat them straight.   Herbal Tincture: 2-4mls up to 3 times a day Or as recommended by a herbal practitioner.  
Folklore and History
The poet Liu Juncy from the Tan dynasty (618-907) praised this herb's miracle effects in a poem for goji. It is written that even the water from the well close to the plants could help the people to attain longevity. One of the most famous phyto-therapists and healers in Chinese history, Li Shudjun, in his famous work “Foundations of Pharmacopedia” from 1578 mentions the goji berry. He observed that the people from the village of Nanchu have the habit of eating goji berries and almost all of them are centenarians.   Goji Berries
Constituents
Vitamins: A, C, B1 & B2 Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Copper, Selenium & Zinc Phytochemicals: beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, lutein and polysaccharides Amino Acids: 18 including all 9 of the essential ones Healthy Fats: Unsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid  
Precautions
Not advisable for those taking blood thinning agent walfarin. Can cause diarrhea and skin irritation if taken in excess. Wolfberries have no toxicity, but should be avoided if one has a spleen deficiency.