The Goji Berry

Goji berry is a bright orange-red fruit of the woody and thorny shrub Lycium babarum. In English language Goji berry is commonly known by the name wolfberry. Some other plants in this family are tomato, potato, eggplant, chili pepper and tobacco. The fruit is believed to have originated somewhere in the regions of southeast Europe and southwest Asia, but today it is grown all over the world. Since China is the largest producer of this fruit, it is commonly known by its Chinese name, Goji berry.

Other names for Goji berry are: Chinese wolfberry, matrimony vine and Duke of Argyll’s tea tree. The dried form of the fruit is marketed in herbal health care stores as Tibetan or Himalayan Goji berry. A major portion of the commercially produced Goji berry comes from the Ningxia and Xinjiang regions in China.

In many parts of Asia, particularly China, Japan and Korea, Goji berry has enjoyed the status of being considered one of Nature’s most nutrient-rich health foods for thousands of years. Some of the legendary health benefits that have been associated with Goji berry are: enhanced eyesight, protection from macular degeneration and glaucoma, increased immunity to diseases, liver protection and longevity.

Recent scientific studies, mostly coming from China, have revealed the presence of a large number of phytochemicals and micronutrients in this fruit. Large amounts of phytochemicals like polysaccharides, sterols and zeaxanthin were found to be present in Goji berry, as well as antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein, lycopene and vitamin C. In addtion, Goji berry has been found to contain minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and selenium. Some studies claim that Goji berry contains more vitamin C than oranges, more beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron than steak.

It is probably these phytochemicals and nutrients that lend the celebrated health-promoting miracle food status to Goji berry. When used as a food, Goji berry can be eaten either raw, or had by brewing into a tea. It is said to taste similar to raisins, though not as sweet and juicy. Goji berry is available in the market as a dried fruit, as Goji berry juice, or in the form of a powder.

In Chinese cuisine, Goji berry is often used as an ingredient in tonic soups. Its leaves and young shoots are also consumed as a leafy vegetable. In fact, in China they even make a wine from Goji berry.

If you are open to experiment with Goji berries, as celebrities like Madonna and Liz Hurley have done, and discover the health benefits of this exotic superfruit, head to the nearest organic health store and pick one of the various Goji berry preparations available there.

Goji resources:


Speak Your Mind