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Why goji berry sounds like a scam?

Updated on June 30, 2013
Goji berries.
Goji berries. | Source

Anything having more fuzz about can become fishy in time. I've done research for herbal teas "curing" high blood pressure, herbal teas that make you lose weight by magic. Akai berries used as a miracle diet and many other overfuzzed things that claim to be healthy. So...

Why miraculous goji berry sounds like a scam?

Claim: Unique antioxidant.

Goji berries have many polysacharides and vitamins. It is claimed they are stronger antioxidant than pomegranates, blueberries and oranges.

Most "antioxidant fruits" in nature are rich in 3 vitamins - A, C and E. They are not the only antioxidants the body can utilize and/or synthesize, but they claim to be the best obtainable via dietary source.

Goji Berry
Blue berry
Vitamin C
73 mg
10.2 mg
9.7 mg
53.2 mg
7.83 μg
112 μg
11 μg
Vitamin E
0.6 mg
0.57 mg
0.18 mg
Dried goji berries.
Dried goji berries. | Source

Nothing unique here. The other 3 fruits have their powers too. Eating any fruits, vegetables and fish is far better than using Goji berry exclusively for its claimed antioxidant properties.

And apart from this - there are few more compounds the body synthesizes and uses as an antioxidant. Those can't be taken as food. You need to live healthy life and eat well to allow your body to create them:

  • Glutathione
  • Uric acid
  • Lipoic acid
  • Ubiquinol (conezyme Q)

Claim: More iron than in spinach.

This is quite true. Goji berries have 8.3 mg iron per 100 grams serving, while spinach has 3-4 mg per 100 grams. The only problem is - I DON'T recommend you eat 100 grams of Goji Berries each day (read below). While the spinach can be cooked or eaten raw with no risk of cardiac arrest, arrhythmia or hypertensive crisis, goji berries can hurt you badly if they are abused.

Allowed Iron in diet by any real dietitian is 18-20 mg daily. You actually don't need that much Iron at all. Having a steak gives you more than enough.

So, this claim is true but not what you really want to include in your diet just to get enough Iron. Even if you are suffering from anemia - choose another dietary source.

Side-effects and overdose

"Adverse reactions to atropine include ventricular fibrillation, supraventricular or ventricular tachycardia, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, loss of balance, dilated pupils, photophobia, dry mouth and potentially extreme confusion, dissociative hallucinations and excitation especially amongst the elderly."

Source: Wikipedia

Claim: Super food.

They are actually NOT a good food at all! And I can't stress this enough:

Never, EVER consume more than 25-30 raw or dried fruits per day!

Especially if you are of older age and use prescription pills for high blood pressure, diabetes, anticoagulants or beta blockers.

The fruits of older plants are rich on atropine and this herb is really far from being regulated or approved by any agency. You can't be sure from where the fruits have been gathered.

Eat goji berries only from proven sources and with moderation. If you feel any of the side effects (see the blue text) - promptly call emergency and explain them you may have possible atropine poisoning.

Claim: Exceptional levels of vitamin C.

Actual fact - vitamin C in goji berry varies between 30 and 150 mg in 100 grams of fruits. Far from exceptional:

Vitamin C

Plant source
Amount (mg / 100g)
Kakadu plum
Camu Camu
Mica Muro
Indian gooseberry
Rose hip
Chili pepper (green)
Guava (common, raw)
Red pepper
Chili pepper (red)
Brussels sprouts
Wolfberry (Goji berry)
73 (average)
Persimmon (native, raw)
Plant source
Amount (mg / 100g)

(source: Wikipedia article)

From the most common and affordable fruits - rose hip and hot peppers are far more rich in vitamin C than goji berries.

Claim: Longevity of Li Qing Yuen.

In the past century a popular Chinese magazine published an article about Li Qing Yuen. Republished in NY magazine, the article claims he lived more than 250 years starting the day with a handful of goji berries and QiGong meditation.

The emperor supposedly gave him a certificate about his year of birth - 1677. The fact is - this was just a hoax from a Chinese journalist who wanted to promote an article. What is the actual truth about Li Qing Yuen's age can never be determined. His body is not preserved for scientific analysis but most articles you will find by searching will tell you the same - a journalist hoax for better magazine sales.

What goji berries actually are?

Not much more than many other berries.

  • Mild antioxidant.
  • Source of vitamins.
  • Good winter tea.
  • Food. But not a food you want to abuse.

What goji berries aren't?

  • Cheap source of the above mentioned.
  • Longevity miracle.

Goji berry tea.
Goji berry tea. | Source

Goji berry tea

Apart from what I said above, a spoonful of the berries can still make a good winter tea.

  • 1 tablespoon of goji berries.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • Few drops of lemon juice.

Boil some water and pour it over the berries in a cup. Cover and let it sit for 10 minute. Drop the lemon juice and honey and drink it. It will help you get warm and give you some energy due to the mix of polysaccharides inside the honey and berries. Most vitamin C is destroyed when heated, so you better add the lemon juice when the tea is lukewarm.

In summer days, you may also ice this tea and use it as a tonic.

Goji berry liquor.
Goji berry liquor. | Source
Goji berry liquor.
Goji berry liquor. | Source

Goji berry winter liquor

This is something you can do for winter months too.

  • 50 grams of dried goji berries
  • 1 bottle Vodka
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Unlid the bottle. Pour out a small glass (1 ounce). Put the berries inside the bottle and add the honey. Close the bottle tightly again and shake.

Leave in a dark stove far from sunlight. The liquor is ready when all the dried berries soak vodka and sink to the bottom.

Drink 1 small glass each day. It is a very good winter warmer and is enough for a whole month.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I doubt that a glass of vodka a day could be beneficial. Considering that at first instance,vodka uses a process of sugar and yeast that causes fermentation, and allows the spirit to produce methanol, alcohol, and therefore your body would undergo a similar process when consuming spirits, making the liver working harder trying to fight off the yeast and sugar toxins.

    • m0rd0r profile imageAUTHOR

      Stoill Barzakov 

      4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Actually, a small glass of vodka IS healthy.

      Small. Like 50 grams.

      And just one per day.

      Google "benefits of drinking vodka", I am promoting only wine and beer in my hubs. And always to drink in moderation.

    • TedWritesStuff profile image


      4 years ago from The World

      It is interesting that you recommend against Goji Berries yet recommend drinking vodka on daily basis... I would love to see your hub on the health benefits of a small glass of vodka on a daily basis..

    • m0rd0r profile imageAUTHOR

      Stoill Barzakov 

      5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      compu-smart. Better stick with other "superfoods" like sweet potatoes and mango. They don't pose health risk even if "abused".

    • compu-smart profile image


      5 years ago from London UK

      I was told these berries were 'superfoods', but after reading this, I will be cutting down on them.


    • m0rd0r profile imageAUTHOR

      Stoill Barzakov 

      5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Yes, peachpurple, they are also known as wolf-berries.

      But: Apart from having vitamins and some antioxidant properties - they are quite far from all the "good" things they are praised for (see the tables).

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      is there another name for goji berries? Is it called wolfberries? It is a common ingredients in chinese cuisine. Very healthy to cool down temperature and sweet too. Nice hub

    • m0rd0r profile imageAUTHOR

      Stoill Barzakov 

      5 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Thanks man.

    • jabelufiroz profile image


      5 years ago from India

      Great man. Thumbs up.


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