What are the health benefits of Gogi Berries?

The Goji (Lycium barbarum) is a shrub in the nightshade family, a deciduous plant grown in China.  

Goji berries sprinkled on a Goji berry smoothie

Also known as wolfberry and other names, Goji berries are prized for their nutrient value.

The Goji berry has been used in Chinese medicine for a couple thousand years but there have been few controlled studies to confirm health benefits that are claimed for this “superfood.” Lack of scientific studies is not proof of anything other than that there is a lack of study results.

Science has documented several bioactive components and you can find results of that research on the NCBI website. There are several reviews listed there for the goji effect on various health conditions; some are quite positive.  Wolfberry fruit is high in antioxidants and is considered the richest source for zeaxanthin.

NUTRIENTS PER 100G

  • 17 amino acids
  • Calcium – 190 mg/19^ RDA
  • Carbohydrates – 77 g
  • Carotenoids
  • Cryptoxanthin
  • Iron (more than soybeans) – 6.80 mg/38% RDA
  • Lutein
  • Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP)
  • Lycopene
  • Phenolics
  • Phytochemicals
  • Protein – 14.26 g
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Sodium – 298 mg/13%
  • Vitamin A – 26822IU/536% RDA
  • Vitamin C – 48.4 mg/81% RDA
  • Vitamin E
  • Zeaxanthin –
  • Trace minerals including but not limited to:
    • copper
    • zinc
    • magnesium
    • germanium
    • selenium

BENEFITS CLAIMED

  • Anti-aging properties
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-tumor properties
  • Better quality sleep
  • Calming
  • Cardiovascular benefits
  • Cognitive function protection
  • Enhanced fertility
  • Enhanced Libido
  • Fights free radical damage
  • Healthier skin
  • Immune-booster
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved kidney function
  • Improving liver function
  • Increased ability to focus
  • Increased energy
  • Longer life
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Strengthens the body
  • Vision support
  • Weight control, with other herbs

HOW TO USE

Other parts of the plant are useable. The flower, leaf, seed and root bark are all used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The fruit can be added to soups or teas or eaten dry. Use them as you would a dried cranberry. Goji wine is popular with some.

CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATONS

Goji berries are considered generally safe but should but are contraindicated in certain conditions

  • Check with your doctor if you are allergic to other berries
  • Consult a doctor if you are on blood pressure drugs
  • Consult a doctor if you are on blood-thinning medication
  • Consult a doctor if you have diabetes
  • They are estrogenic
  • May not be advisable with cold or flu
  • Pregnancy (the berries are used to induce abortion)

POTENTIAL FOR SUPPLEMENTATION

It is more effective to ingest nutrients in food form since much value is lost in extraction methods. The NCBI reports that a commercial product by Nestlé, Lacto-Wolfberry has significantly more zeaxanthin bioavailability than wolfberry powder, however.

CAUTION

Some individuals may have allergic reactions to goji berries.

 

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