The Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) is a bright orange-red fruit that grows on a shrub native to Asia and is packed with antioxidants and potent medicinal qualities. Also called the wolfberry, it is known for its sweet, slightly sour flavor and deep red hue. The component Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP), a bioactive compound derived from Goji berry, has been shown to maintain eye health, slow the signs of aging, and boost the immune system. In rare cases, Goji berries may trigger an allergic reaction, especially in individuals who are allergic to other fruits. They could also interact with medications like the blood thinner warfarin and those that treat blood pressure and diabetes.
Goji berry is often consumed fresh or in processed forms such as extracts, powders, and pills. They are a rich source of fiber and low in calories and fat. Due to these qualities, Goji berry and its extracts are increasingly used in weight management and digestive supplements. Goji berries have long been used in traditional medicine to prevent and treat illness and infection and naturally boost immunity. Based on a 30-day study in 60 older adults by Amagase et al., as stated in the Journal Of Medicinal Food, drinking 4 oz (120 mL) of Goji berry juice per day boosted the participants’ immune cells and general well-being. Among the leading players in the market are Goli Nutrition, Foods Alive, Herbalist & Alchemist, Navitas Organics, and Megafood.
What Are The Benefits Of Goji Berry?
Several studies have linked Goji berry and its compounds to a wide array of pharmacological activities such as strengthening immunity, aiding weight loss, and acting against the effects of aging and oxidation. Below are the suggested benefits of Goji berry, according to research.
1. Boosts Immune System And Flu Protection
Goji berries, like other berries, have high levels of vitamins A and C, which are essential for boosting the immune system and preventing illnesses such as the common cold. Vidal et al. conducted a 3-month study in which 150 healthy participants (65–70 years old) were given either Lacto-Wolfberry (a proprietary milk-based wolfberry formulation) or a placebo of 13.7 grams/day. The Lacto-Wolfberry group showed higher postvaccination serum influenza-specific immunoglobulin G levels and seroconversion rate than the placebo group. In conclusion, long-term dietary supplementation with Lacto-Wolfberry improved older subjects’ ability to respond to antigenic stimulation without negatively impacting their immune system, suggesting that it may help reinforce immunological protection in this population.
2. Potential Weight Loss Aid
Goji berries have long been linked to weight loss due to their reputation as a superfood. Their specific nutritional content aids in fat burning and lean muscle building. Goji berries have a GI (glycemic index) of 29, including them in low-GI entities that rank below most other fruits such as apples, oranges, melon, and raisins. However, they don’t elevate blood sugar as a low GI food, making you not seek high-carbohydrate and sugary foods later in the day.
Goji berries contain 21% fiber by weight, allowing you to feel fuller longer. Paired with their high protein content, they are an excellent snack to keep you going until your next meal. Fitness professionals recommend them as a light snack to avoid overeating at mealtime. Goji berries also have only 23 calories per 30 g serving, making them suitable for weight-watchers.
3. Antioxidants For Eyes And Skin
Goji berries can help enhance eye health because they contain beneficial antioxidants, particularly zeaxanthin. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that combat free radicals and prevent cell injury from oxidative stress and UV light. According to a publication in the Optometry and Vision Science journal, a 2010 study by Bucheli et al. showed that seniors who consumed Goji berry juice for 90 days dramatically raised their zeaxanthin and other antioxidant levels.
Another randomized controlled study by Li et al., as stated in the International Journal Of Ophthalmology, found that supplementing with 25 g of Goji berry regularly for 90 days improved MPOD (Macular pigment optical density) and serum Z levels in patients with early AMD (aging-related macular degeneration). These findings provided evidence that Goji berry may be an effective therapeutic intervention for preventing the progression of early AMD.
Beta-carotene, an essential plant phytochemical, is present in Goji berries and is well-known for its ability to support skin health. Reeve et al.’s review showed that drinking 5% Goji juice offered mice enough antioxidants to protect them from UV radiation damage and skin problems. As published in Photochemical and Photobiological Science, these findings suggest that drinking this juice may provide additional photoprotection for photosensitive people.
4. Maintains Blood Sugar
Goji berries may help maintain blood sugar levels. In a 2015 study by Cai et al., as per Medicinal Chemistry journal, Goji berries balanced insulin and glucose levels. The administration of LBP (Lycium barbarum polysaccharide) resulted in a substantial decrease in postprandial levels of serum glucose at a dose of 300 mg/day for three months. This study verified that LBP has antidiabetic effects in patients with type 2 diabetes and may also reduce fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels.
A metabolic disorder like diabetes mellitus is characterized by high blood glucose levels and low insulin production caused by decreased glucose metabolism and a deficient or dysfunctional pancreatic beta-cell. According to Zhu et al., experiments in vitro and in vivo demonstrated that LBP-s-1 has powerful hypoglycemic and insulin-sensitizing effects on the human pancreas, promoting insulin secretion and proliferation of pancreatic beta cells. Using macroporous resin and ion-exchanged columns, acidic polysaccharide LBP-s-1, was extracted from Lycium barbarum L.
5. Increases Testosterone
Consuming Goji berries may help enhance testosterone levels because they contain high amounts of potassium and amino acids. High potassium levels impact the production of human growth hormones by regulating the pituitary gland, which is in charge of producing sexual reproductive hormones. A potassium deficiency will naturally disrupt the normal functioning of the pituitary gland, which hinders testosterone production.
Another benefit that Goji berries have on testosterone production is the high levels of amino acids present, particularly l-glutamine and l-arginine. Research conducted by Stefani et al. showed that mice supplemented with L-arginine had increased testosterone concentration. According to these results, L-arginine may have induced muscle protein synthesis by influencing testosterone’s role in muscular hypertrophy. In a study carried out by Moon et al. as per The World Journal of Men’s Health, treatments with Goji extract increased serum testosterone levels in old-aged rats, indicating that the extract may contribute to improved erectile dysfunction via its antioxidant properties.
6. Improves Sugar Tolerance
Sweet foods, such as fruit, can produce a surge in blood sugar and insulin levels. However, Goji berries have a low sugar content and may help reduce blood sugar levels and enhance sugar tolerance. A randomized control trial study on dietary LBP intake and changes in glucose and lipid metabolism demonstrated that daily consumption of LBP may have significant impacts on controlling serum triglyceride. This includes HDL (high-density lipoprotein), LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and fasting blood glucose concentrations, according to a comprehensive review by Zhou et al.
In a study, as stated in the Journal Of The American College Of Nutrition, reduced TC (total cholesterol), triglycerides, and LDL values, as well as increased HDL, were found in both gestational diabetes and healthy populations after LBP intervention. Goji can be a medicine and nutritious dietary food to prevent and treat chronic noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes. Larger sample sizes and longer-term high-quality intervention trials are still needed to provide further theoretical support.
7. Alleviates Insulin Resistance
Studies on rats have concluded that LBP (Lycium barbarum polysaccharide) improved insulin resistance and lipid profile. A dose of 10 mg/kg of LBP markedly decreased the fasting plasma insulin levels and significantly increased the Insulin Sensitive Index in NIDDM (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) rats in a study conducted by Zhao et al. They concluded that LBP could improve insulin resistance by increasing GLUT4 surface levels, improving GLUT4 trafficking, and enhancing intracellular insulin signaling. GLUT4 (Glucose transporter type 4) is an insulin-regulated glucose transporter in adipose tissues and muscles in charge of insulin-regulated fat and muscle cell glucose uptake.
8. Improves And Recovers Cells That Help Produce Insulin
Beta cells produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. In the pancreas, beta cells are found in islets or clusters of cells. The immune system incorrectly damages the beta cells in type 1 diabetes. Continuously high blood sugar levels can impose extra strain on beta cells in people with type 2 diabetes, forcing them to work harder to produce enough insulin to keep glucose levels under control.
Experiments in vitro and in vivo have shown that LBP-s-1 had substantial hypoglycemia effects and insulin-sensitizing activity for the human pancreas. According to a study by Zhu et al., boosting the activities of hexokinase and pyruvate kinase, LBP-s-1 increased cell proliferation and enhanced glucose metabolism.
9. Anti-Aging Effects
The pharmacological activity of LBPs and other main components have been shown to mediate considerable anti-aging effects by lowering DNA damage and acting as antioxidants, immunoregulators, and anti-apoptotic agents. According to a review published in the Aging and Disease journal by Gao et al., the numerous components that contributed to the anti-aging activities of LBPs were betaine, carotene, zeaxanthin, 2-O-D-glucopyranosyl-L-ascorbic acid (AA-2G), and flavonoids. The LBPs include numerous monosaccharides and 17 amino acids that are beneficial in combating oxidative stress and other aging-related issues.
In addition, LBPs were effective free radical scavengers in rat liver homogenate, reducing malondialdehyde formation, scavenging O2, and delaying superoxide formation. LBPs also reduced the risks of lipid peroxidation caused by age-related free radicals, and their antioxidant activities were comparable to that of a common antioxidant, vitamin C.
10. Lowers Cancer Risk
Traditional Chinese medicine has long used Goji berries to prevent the onset and progression of cancer due to their phytochemical and antioxidant content. Hsu et al. of the Nanotechnology journal reported that the L. barbarum carotenoid nanoemulsion was more effective in suppressing HT-29 cancer cells than the carotenoid extract. They obtained the highest yield of carotenoids in L. barbarum using a solvent system of hexane–ethanol–acetone.
Antioxidants present in Goji berries, including vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids, promote the death of cancer cells. They assist the body in eliminating toxic compounds while also slowing tumor growth and reducing inflammation. According to research published in the journal Drug Design, Development, and Therapy by Cheng et al., Goji berries can decrease tumor growth and improve the efficiency of cancer treatments in mice.
Similarly, Luo et al. investigated the impact of LBPs on the proliferation of human prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. By shattering their DNA strands and triggering death, LBPs reduced the development of PC-3 and DU-145 cells in a dose and time-dependent manner.
12. Boosts Fertility
Goji berry has recently been found to help boost fertility in men and women because it contains potent antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin. The zeaxanthin gives the berries their bright color and can help reverse the effects of over-heating sperm. Because oxidative stress stimulates radical chemicals to attack and damage cells, it is a prevalent cause of infertility. Oxidative stress has been shown to negatively impact natural conception and IVF success rates. Goji berries’ high antioxidant properties have been utilized to heal and protect those damaged cells.
13. Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease
Heart disease, often known as cardiovascular disease, is a group of disorders associated with the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). Lu et al. of the International Journal Of Biological Macromolecules tested the effect of LBP on myocardial damage in rats with ischemia/reperfusion. Rats fed with LBPs at either 150 or 300 mg/kg per body weight significantly showed increased myocardium LD level and myocardium Na+–K+-ATPase and Ca2+-ATPase activities. Apoptosis of cardiac cells and an increase in Bcl-2 positive rate were also observed using dose-dependent techniques, suggesting that LBP can prevent further cardiovascular diseases.
A study published in the Life Sciences journal by Luo et al. found that LBPs lowered serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels among Alloxan-induced diabetic/hyperlipidemic rabbits. Meanwhile, the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level was increased after a 10-day treatment. Rabbits were treated by oral infusion with a fruit and water decoction, crude LBP, and LBP-X dissolved in normal saline for ten consecutive days in this study.
What Are The Risks (Side-Effects) Of Goji Berry?
Goji berry can cause an allergic reaction in certain people, especially those allergic to other fruits. Goji berries may also interfere with some medications like blood thinners and those that treat diabetes and high blood pressure. Before adding Goji berries to their diet, people on these medications should consult their doctor. Arroyo-Martinez et al. published a case report in the Digestive And Liver Disease journal about toxic hepatitis linked to the use of Goji. Nonbloody diarrhea, asthenia, and colic stomach pain were among the symptoms recorded. After drinking Goji berry tea three times every day, the patient showed a widespread erythematous and pruriginous maculopapular rash with mild mucocutaneous jaundice.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Goji Berry?
Goji berry is highly nutritious because it is loaded with vitamins and minerals. The USDA National Nutrient Database shows that dried Goji berries yield the following components per 100 g.
Calories: 349 Kcal (17% of RDI)
Protein: 14.26 g (25% of RDI)
Fat: 0.39 g (2% of RDI)
Carbs: 77.1 g (9% of RDI)
Fiber: 13.0 g (34% of RDI)
Sugar: 45.6 g (35% of RDI)
Iron: 6.8 mg (85% of RDI)
Vitamin A: 26,822 IU (894% of RDI)
Vitamin C: 48.4 mg (894% of RDI)
Calcium, an essential constituent of healthy bones and teeth, is abundant in dried Goji berries (190 mg or 19% of RDI). Muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction are all dependent on them. Additionally, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), thiamin niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin are abundant in dried Goji. These vitamins help the body digest carbohydrates, protein, and lipids by serving as cofactors.
How Does Goji Berry Work Within The Human Body?
Goji berries contain several bioactive compounds that help the body in various ways. Studies have demonstrated its anti-oxidative, anti-tumor, anti-radiation, anti-fatigue, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects on human health. The most important bioactive components are water-soluble polysaccharides (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides or LBPs). The immunomodulation effects of LBPs are thought to come from various partial acid and enzymatically degraded fragments, based on the structure–bioactivity link.
The abundance of polysaccharides, carotenoids, flavonoids, and AA-2G in Goji berries are linked to their antioxidant properties. These chemicals can operate as antioxidants in various ways, including radical scavenging against reactive species via hydrogen atom transfer or electron donation, metal chelation, and interactions with other antioxidants. Anti-lipid peroxidation action, reducing capability, and radical scavenging activity against the superoxide anion were all demonstrated by LBPs. LBPs are also thought to bind low molecular weight phenolics during raw material extraction, contributing to their antioxidant properties.
How Do You Determine The Correct Goji Berry Dosage?
It is important to consider age, gender, usage, and research evidence when choosing the appropriate dosage for Goji berry. When taken as a supplement, it is best to follow the instruction label or consult a doctor, especially those using other medications. Although Goji berries have lately acquired popularity as a “superfruit” in North America and Europe due to their potential health-promoting effects, the FDA has yet to grant its GRAS designation for use in conventional food products.
As per the British Journal of Applied Nutrition review by Cheng et al., consuming 10 g of Lycium fruits twice daily is one of the recommended therapies for treating atrophic gastritis. Aside from that, 15 g of Goji berries per day is advised to provide appropriate zeaxanthin, which is believed to be 3 mg per day, as a dietary supplement for eye health.
A simple tea made with 20 g of Goji berries can help improve visual perception. When it is the main herb, the dosage range of Goji berry changes to 15-30 g instead of 6-18 g in the complex formula.
What Are The Facts About Goji Berry?
In addition to being regarded as a superfruit, Goji berries are known by various names, including wolfberries, Chinese wolfberries, and Tibetan Goji berries. The Goji berry’s tiny seeds are safe to consume and are a good source of dietary fiber. They can be found in temperate climates throughout China, Mongolia, and the Tibetan Himalayas and are said to be a fountain of youth. Goji berries are grown and eaten daily in the Ningxia Hui region of Northern China, which boasts 16 times the number of centenarians. Approximately 1 oz of Goji berries offers more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots, and more iron than steak. Commercially, young Goji shoots and leaves are harvested as leaf vegetables. Since the year 2000, the term “Goji berry” has been used in the English-speaking world.
How Is Goji Berry Processed?
Dehydration, which is based on the simultaneous transfer of heat and mass, is one of the most often employed techniques for increasing the shelf life of fruit. Goji berries are traditionally processed by solar drying. However, this method and the conditions in which it occurs can result in a loss of fruit quality. In recent years, Goji berries have been dehydrated using oven-air, freeze, or sophisticated drying procedures, inhibiting enzyme activity, limiting microbiological deterioration, and minimizing adverse responses during storage.
When the wax on the surface of Goji berries is removed meticulously with an abrasive pre-treatment in a motorized drum covered with sandpaper, it decreases the drying time in a convective oven at 60 degrees Celsius, conserves the color, enhances the antioxidant capabilities, and maintains the sugar content of the berries. Furthermore, soaking and washing Goji berries in sodium carbonate solution prior to hot air drying improves their diffusivity and decreases drying time. Thus it increases the content of bioactive components and improves the antioxidant properties of Goji berries dried at 40 and 50 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, pre-treatment with sodium carbonate and hybrid drying processes enhances the pore size of the fruit, which is beneficial.
On the other hand, quick-freezing using liquid nitrogen at -80°C is the most suitable freezing method for Goji berries. The superior freeze-drying technology helps preserve their beneficial chemicals and nutrients. As a result, high-quality dried Goji snacks are light, crisp, and have a natural taste and texture, making them a healthy alternative to sweet snacks.
What Are The Supplement Forms Of Goji Berry?
As with many supplements, Goji berry is available in several forms to satisfy consumers’ preferences and consumption requirements.
1. Goji Berry Extract
Extracts from Goji berries are employed in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Goji berries’ water-soluble bioactive components have traditionally been extracted with a hot solvent. Several innovative extraction technologies, such as ultrasound or microwave-assisted aqueous extractions and subcritical water extraction, have been developed to boost efficiency. LBPs, zeaxanthin dipalmitate, vitamins, betaine, and combined extracts have been linked to improved eyesight and anti-aging, anti-fatigue, and other Goji berry benefits recorded in traditional herbals.
Why Is Goji Berry Extract Useful?
Goji berry extract is valuable and beneficial because it can be used as a prebiotic food additive, food preservative, and raw material or functional additive in various food products such as gummies.
2. Goji Berry Powder
Goji berry powder is an organic and chemically-unprocessed, finely ground powder supplement made without additives from freeze-dried Goji berries. It may also be used to prepare a nutritional supplement in drinks, shakes, juices, oatmeals, and cereals. It can also be added to baked goods or vegetable dishes, among other things. Some Goji berry powder supplement companies are Amazing Grass, Carrington Farms, and Navitas Organics.
3. Goji Berry Pills (Tablets and Capsules)
Goji berry pills may be composed solely of standardized Goji berry extract or combined with other plant or fruit extracts. Tablets combine Goji berry active components and excipients in a solid form and are most frequently coated for easier ingestion and absorption. They can also be made containing only Goji berry but most often include a combination of other extracts and compounds.
A capsule is a soft-shelled pill containing a powdered version of Goji berry encased in gelatin, cellulose, or a similar material. It is worth noting that capsules can be devoid of excipients and are typically purer than other Goji berry supplements. Supplement suppliers prefer gelatin capsules since they dissolve quickly at body temperature. Vegetable capsules are comparable to gelatin capsules, except they are made without animal products for vegetarian or vegan users. The soft gels make them easy to swallow while ensuring the herbal extract is safely enclosed. Some companies that manufacture Goji berry supplements in tablet forms are Paradise Herbs, Nature’s Way, and Piping Rock.
4. Raw Goji Berry
Raw Goji berries have a soft and chewy texture and can be added to recipes or eaten independently. They are increasingly being used as a natural ingredient in beverages and various culinary items, including bakery, confectionery, meat, and dairy products, enhancing their nutritional and health-promoting aspects. Goji berry sweet goods, such as jam or jelly, have great color, consistency, flavor, sweetness scores, and antioxidant potential.
What Are The Goji Berry Types?
Lycium is a plant genus with over 80 species found in Asia, South America, southern Africa, and, less frequently, temperate Europe. The two most used medicinal species are Lycium chinense and Lycium barbarum. In traditional Japanese, Korean, and Chinese medicine, these two species are used interchangeably.
Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense are thorny deciduous shrubs with arching or prostrate branches and alternating, lanceolate, gray-green (Lycium barbarum) or bright green (Lycium chinense) leaves. Lycium barbarum can reach about 10 feet (3 meters) in height, while Lycium chinense can get a little bigger. Lycium barbarum has five-lobed flowers characterized as pale pink, violet, or light purple, while Lycium chinense has purple blooms. These species grow oval red fruits that are acidic yet sweet and about one inch long from June to September.
What Is The Etymology Of The Goji Berry?
The genus Lycium comes from the Greek word “lykion.” The Greek term relates to the ancient Anatolian province of Lycia, where the plant flourished. Pliny the Elder (ca. 23–79) and Pedanius Dioscorides (ca. 40–90) used the phrase for a shrub called dyer’s buckthorn, which was most likely a Rhamnus species. The popular name wolfberry is derived from the Chinese word “gou qi zi,” where “gou” signifies dog or wolf and “zi” means little fruit. In the first edition of Carl Linnaeus’ (1707-1778) Genera Plantarum, the genus name Lycium appeared with the synonym Jasminoides. Today, Jasminoides flaccidum is recognized as a synonym of the generally accepted name Lycium barbarum, while Jasminoides Lycium rhombifolium is a synonym of Lycium chinense. In botanical nomenclature, Lycium barbarum is the matrimony vine, whereas Lycium chinense is known as Chinese desert-thorn.
What Place Does Goji Berry Have In Society And Culture?
Lycium fruit is utilized as an active ingredient in Asian countries where traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine is practiced and in some Western countries where TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) is recognized. Most states and the District of Columbia currently allow the practice of this medicine, with varied restrictions on the scope of the procedure. Goji berry and its extracts may be used as a component of patients’ herbal prescriptions for home preparation in states that allow TCM formulations. Moreover, it may be included in compound pharmacies’ formulations of patented Chinese medicines, professional products, or practitioners’ formulations. Goji berries are also one of the latest trends in cosmetics. Famous cosmetic brands that push the envelope of innovation in the beauty industry use Goji berries in their newest cosmetic products.
What Are Some Food Recipes That Contain Goji Berry?
Goji berry is typically combined in both sweet and savory recipes. They can be baked into cookies, added to oatmeal or porridge, or enjoyed in trail mix or by the handful as a snack. There are also Goji berry recipes you can easily prepare at home. The following are food preparations that use Goji berry as an ingredient.
- Goji Power Balls
- Goji Berry Biscotti
- Raw Goji Maca Cake
- Spicy Goji Berry Soup
- No-Bake Protein Goji Bar
- Almond Goji Berry Snacks
- Strawberry Goji Berry Smoothie
- Summer Swirl Superfood Pops
- Goji Berry Pistachio Granola Bars
- Goji Berry-Infused Vodka And Martini
What Are The Goji Berry Parts?
Aside from the fruit, the parts of Goji berry that can be used as ingredients for health benefits are as follows:
- Leaves: Goji leaves can be eaten raw, cooked in a broth or stir-fry, or used in an herbal infusion. They’re used to treat inflammation, skin problems, anemia, coughs, and nose bleeds, among other things.
- Roots: Dried roots of the Goji berry plant are boiled in water and consumed when cooled.
- Bark: Goji bark is a sedative and painkiller that can be eaten raw or prepared into tea.
What Is The History Of Goji Berry?
According to Shennong’s Herbal Classic, Goji originated ca. 100 in Changshan (now Hebei) during the Han Dynasty. The classic premodern book Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing: The Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica, compiled in the first century, was the first to mention Lycium fruit. Its medical application was later documented in the third-century literature Ming Yi Bie Lu (The Miscellaneous Records of Famous Physicians), an anonymous work that Hsu and Harris claim was incorrectly assigned to Daoist physician Tao Hongjing (ca. 456-536) by other scholars.
Tan Dynasty poet Liu Juncy praised the Goji berry’s miraculous properties in a poem. It is claimed that even water from a well near the plants could assist individuals in achieving long life. Li Shudjun, one of China’s most famous physiotherapists and healers, stated, in his classic work Foundations of Pharmacopeia from 1578, that the residents of Nanchu have a practice of eating Goji fruits and practically all of them are centenarians.
What Are Other Plants Called Goji Berry From Time To Time?
Other plants are called Goji berries mainly because they are part of the Lycium genus of fruiting shrubs, which now have variated cultivars worldwide. A few of these plants are as follows:
- African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum): The botanical name “ferocissimum” comes from the Latin word “ferocious,” which refers to the spikes that all boxthorns have on their branches. The berries start green, turn orange as they develop, and eventually change to a vivid red when fully grown. Only the mature berries are edible.
- Black Goji berries (Lycium ruthinicum): One of the rarest types is the black Goji berry plant, which are fruiting bushes that grow 4 to 6 feet tall. The leaves are pale green, and the fruits appear in the summer as green berries that turn purple and ultimately black when fully mature. Black Goji berries can cost up to ten times as much as red Goji berries due to their rarity and high nutritional content.
- Australian boxthorn (Lycium australe): The Australian boxthorn (Lycium australe) is a near cousin of the African boxthorn. The berries are half the size of African boxthorn berries, but the plant produces many larger seeds (up to 2 mm). Fruits are pale yellow to orange and do not become red when ripe but are still edible.
- Arizona Desert-Thorn (Lycium exsertum): This is a thick shrub that can reach 12 feet high. Lilac flowers appear in the spring, and in the summer, it begins to produce little berries that grow to be a rich crimson color. This variety acquired its name because it’s only found in Arizona. It’s uncommon elsewhere in the US and more prevalent in northern Mexico.
- Pale Desert-Thorn (Lycium pallidum): This variety resembles the Arizona Desert-Thorn and produces lavender flowers up to 1 inch in diameter. However, the berries are a paler red compared, hence the name Pale Desert-Thorn.
What Are The Most Common Questions For Goji Berry Usage?
To better understand the uses and benefits of the fruit, we have answered the most common questions about Goji berries.
Are Goji Berry Supplements Approved By The Authorities?
No, The Food and Drug Administration regulates health supplements like Goji berry as dietary supplements, not as drugs. That means these supplements don’t need prior approval from the FDA to be sold. However, once they are on the market, the FDA starts exercising its safety monitoring function. They review supplement labels and promotional materials as its resources allow and monitor safety complaints about the product. The supplement manufacturer is required to report any of these complaints to the FDA within 15 days of receiving them.
Can You Take Goji Berry At Night?
Yes, Goji berries may help improve mood and quality of sleep. They have the highest amount of melatonin of any popular dried fruit, according to NutritionFacts.org. It is commonly used as a dietary supplement for the short-term treatment of insomnia caused by jet lag or shift work and is usually taken orally.
Can You Take Goji Berry After Meals?
Yes, you can take Goji berries after meals or any time of day. Researchers discovered that people who consumed 150 g of fresh Goji berries daily improved their sleep quality, slept longer, and woke up feeling more alert.
Can You Take Goji Berry Every Day?
Yes, you can take Goji berry every day. A small study on the health benefits of Goji juice by Amagase et al., in The Journal Of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, concluded that drinking Goji juice every day increased energy levels, sleep quality, and focus and reduced weariness and stress.
Can A Child Take Goji Berry?
Yes, children can take Goji berries because they contain antioxidants that boost the immune system and minimize the incidence of illnesses. They can consume them unless the child has a Goji berry allergy or takes certain medications like blood thinners or anticoagulants, which may increase their risk of bleeding. To avoid any potential medicine interactions or adverse effects, consult your child’s pediatrician before adding dried Goji berries or juice to their diet.
Can Your Pet Consume Goji Berry?
Yes, your pet can consume Goji berries as long as you offer them in moderation. Goji berries are “excellent for dogs,” according to the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). However, they might induce diarrhea or loose stools if given in large quantities because they are fruit. Start with a small amount to avoid stomach distress.
Which Tree Produces The Goji Berry?
The Lycium barbarum plant produces Goji berries and is typically a shrubby plant that grows 3-10 inches tall. Goji is self-pollinating, and even a single plant will produce fruit.
What Are The Top Scientific Research Topics For Goji Berry?
Studies have shown the positive effects Goji berry has on human health. Still, there are valid questions that require more investigation. Based on the PubMed website, here are the top current scientific research topics for Goji berry.
- Immune function
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Reproductive function
- Neuro-protective mechanism
Is Eating Raw Goji Berry More Nutritional Than Processed?
No, processed Goji berry contains distinct medicinal benefits, as does eating its raw fruit. However, the dehydration process involved in creating Goji berry supplements decreases the number of active compounds present.
Is Consuming Powder Goji Berry More Nutritional Than Goji Berry Pills?
No, Goji berry powder does not have the same nutritional content as pills because not all Goji berry supplements are made equally. Tablets are standardized and contain a specific percentage of concentrated polysaccharides. On the other hand, Goji berry teas typically contain whole Goji berry powder only and may have varying amounts of concentrated polysaccharides.
What Is The Health Effect Of Goji Berry Tea?
Goji berry tea has the same benefits compared to other Goji berry supplements. Because of its many essential minerals and vitamins, the berry-based tea may have a revitalizing impact on the body and stimulate the metabolism, giving you a burst of energy. According to some herbalists and drinkers of Goji berry tea, it may also improve sexual dysfunction, fertility, and eye health.
Is Wolfberry The Same As Goji Berry?
No, wolfberry is not the same as Goji berry, even though one Goji berry variety is known as wolfberry. Although the names are frequently interchanged, these two plants are not the same. The genus Lycium chinense yields sour berries, which are produced by wolfberry plants. The bright red Goji berry belongs to the Lycium barbarum genus and has a sweet taste.
What Is The Difference Between Goji Berry And Wolfberry?
Goji berry and wolfberry come from the same genus of Lycium but are separate species that provide benefits when consumed. Based on a review by Yao et al. as published in Frontiers In Pharmacology, Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense have different antioxidant activity and metabolite profiles, such as HPTLC flavonoid fingerprints and 1H NMR-based chemometric analyses. High sugar content and large fruit are crucial in food use, facilitating Lycium barbarum used for food consumption. Further study of the bioactivity of these two species and samples from different cultivation areas beyond China will provide the information needed for the most specific and suitable applications.
- Amagase, H., Sun, B., & Nance, D. (2009). Immunomodulatory Effects of a StandardizedLycium barbarumFruit Juice in Chinese Older Healthy Human Subjects. Journal Of Medicinal Food, 12(5), 1159-1165. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2008.0300
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