Goji berry

Goji

Goji berry (Lycium chinense és Lycium barbarum), as a super food, is one of the most nutritious fruits in nature. It has been used by traditional Far Eastern therapists for hundreds of years due to its energy conservation, eye corrective and blood circulation enhancing properties.

The benefits of Goji berry are also mentioned in ’Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing’ (around 200 BC), an ancient Chinese herbal encyclopaedia. In addition to the herbs, the encyclopaedia presents the medical and agricultural knowledge of Shen Nong in details, the mythical Chinese emperor.

Habitat and appearance

Goji is indigenous in Asia; most of goji is produced in the smallest province of China, Ningxia, which is also called the home of goji berry.
                      
Goji is a deciduous shrub belonging to Solanaceae family, which grows 2-3 meters high. It is an extremely undemanding plant, + 40 ° C is as suitable for the plant as -40 ° C. The fruit of the plant, the goji berry is harvested from July to October. It is a jutting (1-2 cm) orange-reddish and juicy fruit, this is the most valuable part of the bush which, in addition to its beneficial effects on our health, is delicious. Goji berry is a delicious, sweet taste (mostly similar to cranberry and raisins), so it can be consumed in either raw or dried form. The fruit is often processed in the form of fruit juice and tea, and used in several foods in the Chinese cuisine, or even as a garnish. In addition, its use as a dietary supplement is also crucial that is prepared from berry extract.

In addition to the berries, the plant leaf (as tea or soup) and the roasted bark of the root (primarily for the treatment of skin diseases and inflammation) are also used.

 

What Goji berry contains

Goji berry is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, polysaccharides, amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids. It has low calorie and fat content. It also includes more than 21% fibre, nearly 20 types of amino acids and essential fatty acids,  its antioxidant content is one of the highest among foods, nearly  it is 10 times higher than in the orange. The vitamin C content is 3 times higher than in the orange, therefore Goji berry contains the most concentrated form of this essential vitamin. Its potassium content is remarkable that is 4 times higher than in the banana.

Nutrient content of dried goji berry (100 g)

Energy

362.2 kcal

Carbohydrate

57.82 g

LBP polysaccharide

5-7 g

Protein

11,7 g

Vitamins

Vitamin B1

153 mcg

Vitamin B2

1,3 mg

Vitamin B3

4,3 mg

Vitamin C

29 mg

Carotenoids

Zeaxanthin

162 mg

Lutein

0,6 mg

Beta-carotene

7,4 mg

Beta-cryptoxanthin

10 mg

Lycopene

1,4 mg

Minerals

Calcium

112 mg

Magnesium

109 mg

Iron

9 mg

Potassium

1132 mg

Germanium

124 mcg

Chrome

30 mcg

Zink

2 mg

Selenium

50 mcg

 

Curing effects of Goji berry

Goji berry has been the base of several researches primarily due to its well-being, neurological and psychological effects, gastrointestinal functions and cardiovascular health effects.

Strengthens the immune system and helps against flu

Goji berry has a high content of vitamin C and A, it is also prominent as an antioxidant and an immune enhancer plant. These nutrients are the key to develop the immune system, which together contribute to the prevention of common diseases (e.g. cold, flu). Among the antioxidants in goji berry, carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and vitamin C precursors are the most widely studied ingredients. A high level of these compounds gives goji a remarkable reputation, as these can be attributed to major health effects: tumour growth inhibiting effect, reduction of cytokine levels in inflammatory processes, and neutralization of harmful toxins.

Helps maintaining eye and skin health

Among the benefits of Goji berries, protection against macular degeneration is paramount, which is the leading cause of the blindness among elderly people. Goji berry plays a prominent role in the natural treatment of macular degeneration, as it has a high antioxidant content (of which zeaxanthin is particularly important in this regard), which is beneficial for the eyes and even for the health of the skin. It can help preventing the damaging effects of UV light, neutralizing free radicals and other forms of oxidative stress.
A study published in the American Academy of Optometry & Vision Science found that 90 days of Goji berry juice significantly increases zeaxanthin and antioxidant levels in the blood plasma that protects the eyes from hypo pigmentation and accumulation of oxidative stress compounds that can damage the macula. Further studies found that Goji berry protects the retina and can therefore serve as a natural supplementary treatment for glaucoma.

Protects liver

Goji berries are believed to be liver-protective, and with other medicinal herbs and mushroom (e.g. ganoderma) are excellent for liver cleansing. The cerebrosides compounds in the goji berry retain the liver’s mitochondrial glutathione level; thereby reduce the degree of cell damage in this vital organ. The germanium content of the berries, the antioxidants and the polysaccharides also have beneficial effects on the liver function.

Energizing, mood enhancer

According to Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, regular consumption of juice from Goji berries increases energy levels, moods and improves digestion. Participants who consumed juice from Goji berry for two weeks in the study have reported improved general well-being, increased energy levels, and improved digestive system function. Therefore, the consumption of Goji is recommended for training purposes.

Contributes to controlling blood glucose level

It is a particularly useful dietary supplement for Goji diabetics because the evidence suggests that it improves insulin sensitivity and is able to balance the body’s blood glucose level. In addition, one of the most common ophthalmic complications of diabetes, the chance of diabetic retinopathy can be reduced by the Goji berry thanks to its beneficial effects on vision.

Source:

Bucheli P, Gao Q, Redgwell R, et al.(2011): Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects of Chinese Wolfberry. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 14. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92756/

Amagase H, Nance DM (2008): A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) Juice, GoChi. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 May;14(4):403-12. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0004.

Kulczyński, B., & Gramza-Michałowska, A. (2016): Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum): Composition and Health Effects – a Review, Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, 66(2), 67-76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/pjfns-2015-0040

Islam, T., Yu, X., Badwal, T.S. et al. (2017): Comparative studies on phenolic profiles, antioxidant capacities and carotenoid contents of red goji berry (Lycium barbarum) and black goji berry (Lycium ruthenicum) Chemistry Central Journal (2017) 11: 59. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13065-017-0287-z

Potterat O., Goji (Lycium barbarum and L. chinense): Phytochemistry, pharmacology and safety in the perspective of traditional uses and recent popularity. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0029-1186218

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21169874

https://draxe.com/goji-berry-benefits/