A goji berry, also called a wolfberry, is an unusual berry like fruit of the nightshade family, and native to Asia. It has been eaten to improve health by the Chinese for over 2,000 years.
Its Latin names are: Lycium barbarum or Lycium Chinese. It belongs to the family:Solanaceae.
Eat Goji Berries!
Taste: The goji berry tastes slightly sweet and somewhat bitter, similar to a cranberry.
Nutritional Value: These berries are a good source of both vitamins A and C, as well as iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, and ascorbic acid. In addition, they contain polysaccharides, a healthy source of energy that can help stabilize blood sugar levels (Xie, 2016).
Potential Health Benefits of Goji Berries
In an extensive review of research on goji berries, Cheng et al (2015) identifies significant health benefits. Studies were reviewed in the following areas: anti-aging, antioxidant, anticancer, improved energy, anti-viral, cardioprotective, inflammatory bowel disease, digestive aid, glaucoma, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, immunity, neuroprotective, reproductive system aid.
Goji Berries seem to have a variety of health benefits. Below is a list of some significant scientific research.
Hypoglycemic activity: Goji berries have shown in multiple human studies to help improve blood sugar levels!
- In a review of research, with seven randomized, controlled studies and 546 subjects, eating goji berries reduced blood sugar levels (Guo, et al, 2017)
- In a double blind study of 67 patients with type two diabetes, eating goji berries had a hypoglycemic effect (Cai, et al, 2015).
Helping with cholesterol: Eating goji berries may improve cholesterol level. More research is warranted.
- 42 healthy males took a goji berry polysaccharide supplement for 4 weeks. Results then showed reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels (Xia, et al, 2018).
- Another study involved 158 pregnant women with gestational diabetes. Their intake of goji berries showed improved cholesterol levels (Yang, et al, 2018).
- In a small double blind study, drinking goji berry juice for two weeks increased cognitive performance, overall energy, and digestive function. Further, it showed to help reduce perceived stress (Amagase & Nancy, 2008).
- In a double blind study of 50 healthy older Chinese adults, goji berries juice taken for 30 days showed increased antioxidants levels in the body (Amagase, Sun, & Borek, 2009).
Goji Berry Tea Recipe
- 1 Tbsp of dried goji berries
- 16 ounces of hot water
- Honey (to taste)
Instructions: Place goji berries in a glass container. Then, pour hot (but not boiling) water over them. Next, allow the berries to set in water overnight. The next morning, strain out the berries and either eat them, or add them to a smoothie or muffin recipe. Save the liquid. To enjoy, add a little honey to the liquid and heat if desired. Yummy and delicious!
Goji Berry Research
- Amagase, H., Sun, B., & Borek, C. (2009). Lycium barbarum (goji) juice improves in vivo antioxidant biomarkers in serum of healthy adults. Nutrition Research, 29(1), 19-25.
- Amagase, H., & Nance, D. M. (2008). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) juice, GoChi™. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(4), 403-412.
- Cai, H., Liu, F., Zuo, P., Huang, G., Song, Z., Wang, T., … & Sun, G. (2015). Practical application of antidiabetic efficacy of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide in patients with type 2 diabetes. Medicinal Chemistry, 11(4), 383-390.
- Cheng, J., Zhou, Z. W., Sheng, H. P., He, L. J., Fan, X. W., He, Z. X., … & Cao, C. (2015). An evidence-based update on the pharmacological activities and possible molecular targets of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. Drug design, development and therapy, 9, 33.
- Guo, X. F., Li, Z. H., Cai, H., & Li, D. (2017). The effects of Lycium barbarum L.(L. barbarum) on cardiometabolic risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Food & function, 8(5), 1741-1748.
- Muselin, F., Brezovan, D., Savici, J., Cristina, R. T., Dumitrescu, E., Doma, A. O., … & Trif, A. (2015). The Use of Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) and Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum) in Alloxan Induced Diabetes Mellitus in Rats. Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies, 48(1), 373-376.
- Xia, H., Tang, H., Wang, F., Yang, X., Wang, Z., Liu, H., … & Sun, G. (2018). Metabolic effects of dietary supplementation of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on serum and urine metabolomics in a young healthy male population. Journal of Functional Foods, 46, 440-448.
- Xie, J. H., Tang, W., Jin, M. L., Li, J. E., & Xie, M. Y. (2016). Recent advances in bioactive polysaccharides from Lycium barbarum L., Zizyphus jujuba Mill, Plantago spp., and Morus spp.: Structures and functionalities. Food Hydrocolloids, 60, 148-160.
- Yang, S., Si, L., Fan, L., Jian, W., Pei, H., & Lin, R. (2018). Polysaccharide IV from Lycium barbarum L. Improves Lipid Profiles of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus of Pregnancy by Upregulating ABCA1 and Downregulating Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Transcription 1 via miR-33. Frontiers in endocrinology, 9, 49.
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
Post By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherpay, RA (ARC), Professional AIA and NAHA Member, LMT