Goji Berries or Wolfberries - Facts, Nutritional, Health Benefits and Some Side Effects
About Goji Berries
Latin Name : Lycium barbarum & Lycium chinense
Goji berries are also known simply as goji, wolfberries or Western snowberries are the fruits of the plants Lycium barbarum and Lycium Chinense and belong to the family Solanaceae to which the nightshade, potato, tomato, eggplant, chili pepper and tobacco also belong.
Native to China the L.chinense grows in South China and is somewhat shorter than L.barbarum that grows in North China. The goji plants have been growing in the temperate and subtropical regions of China, Mongolia and the Himalayan region of Tibet.
The plant is a deciduous, woody and perennial vine from 3 to 10 feet tall having lanceolate to ovate leaves.
The fruits or goji berries are bright orange red in colored ellipsoid berries containing tiny yellow seeds.
Ripe Goji Berries
Goji Berries or WolfberriesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Goji Berries Or Wolfberries
Goji berries or wolfberries have been termed a superfood and a superfruit because of their nutritive and antioxidant content.
Traditionally whole goji berries or its extracts have been used in folk medicine in China since a long time especially to promote longevity, boost immunity, lower weight, protect the liver and kidneys, improve circulation and improve sexual performance and fertility. For this reason they have also been called the fruit viagra.
Goji berries have a mild tangy taste, a mix of mildly sweet and sour taste. They have a chewy texture and shape akin to raisins though they are more tart than sweet and are generally drier too.
On a weight to weight basis they have :
# more vitamin C than oranges
# more beta carotene than carrots
# more iron than steak
The remarkable nutritional benefits of goji berries have been recently discovered in the West.
Goji berries can be eaten raw or cooked. They are an extremely healthy snack and can be added to muesli or cereals, yogurt or ice cream. Use it in cakes, cookies, pies, scones or muffins or use them to make smoothies, soups or stews etc. Goji berries can also be brewed to make tea.
Nutritional Benefits Of Goji Berries
A daily serving of 10 to 30 grams of goji berries is sufficient to provide one with its amazing health benefits.
Goji berries are probably the most nutritionally dense fruit known.
Among other things goji berries provide :
11 essential and 22 trace minerals
18 amino acids
8 poly saccharides and 6 mono saccharides
unsaturated fatty acids including the essential linoleic and alpha linoleic acids
phytosterols including beta sitosterol
carotenoids including beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin
many phenolic compounds
1 ounce or 28 grams of goji berries provide :
140% of the daily requirement of vitamin A
20% of the daily requirement of vitamin C
4% of the daily requirement of calcium
10% of the daily requirement of iron
Health benefits Of Goji Berries
Some of the health benefits of goji berries in short are :
- Consumption of goji berries improves the general feeling of well being, the neurological & psychological performance and the gastrointestinal function.
- The phytochemicals like polysaccharides, zeaxanthin, lutein and beta carotene offer antioxidant protection, stimulate the immune system, stabilize the blood glucose levels, reduce colon cancer risk, maintain health of the colon lining, lower the pH of the digestive tract and increase mineral absorption, protect the vision against macular degeneration and cataract etc.
- Supports the cardiovascular health by preventing lipid peroxidation.
- Reduces weight, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lower blood pressure.
- Protects the DNA from damage and counteracts aging.
- Improves fertility in men as it prevents damage to the DNA of the testicular cells.
- Has healthy effects on the brain and because of its neuroprotective effects against the toxic effects of beta amyloid protein in Alzheimer's disease.
- Increase the effect of cancer treatment drugs. and inhibits the growth of cancer and leukemia cells.
- Has liver protecting effects.
- Increases libido by raising the testosterone levels.
Some Side Effects Of Goji Berries
There are supposedly some interaction of the herb with certain drugs like those taken for thinning of the blood, and drugs taken for diabetes and blood pressure.
Those having allergy to pollen should avoid these berries as it may cause breathing difficulty, nausea, dizziness etc.
Eaten in moderation goji berries appear safe.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or healthcare provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly