FUN FACTS

BNLycium barbarum L.  AKA: Wolf Berry, Box Thorn, Lycium Fruit, 枸杞子 (Gou Qi Zi), Matrimony Vine Fruit, Fructus Lycii.  A daily serving of 1 oz., goji berries has more vitamin C than an orange, more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than steak.  Edible parts: berries, leaves.  Stems can be used as herbal medicine/tea.

CONSTITUENTS/ NUTRITION

Polysaccharides(amylose), taurine, carotene, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, nicotine, thiamine, , vitamins E, C, B1, B2, 19 kinds of amino acid, K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, Se, 21 kinds of minerals, protein, calcium, phosphor, and iron.¹ Goji berries have 22 glycerogalactolipids, 29 phenylpropanoids, 10 coumarins, 13 lignans, 32 flavonoids, 37 amides, 72 alkaloids, four anthraquinones, 32 organic acids, 39 terpenoids, 57 sterols, steroids, and their derivatives, five peptides and three other constituents. 5

Detailed breakout of constituents and chemical makeup. 

USES/BENEFITS

Improves the immune system, It's antioxidant enzymes and polysaccharides are anti-aging, antimicrobial.  Multiple studies have found goji berries to have anti-diabetic effects because it protects hepotocytes (liver cells).²   An in depth research into Chinese studies showed a pooled showed that L. barbarum intervention significantly reduced fasting glucose.  Lycium fruit have also been shown to be anti-cancer because of its apoptotic and antiproliferative effects on cancer cell lines.  Extracts have been shown to have a protective effect on retinal nerve cells and can benefit eye sight related diseases (dry eye).  Research also showed goji berries significantly reduce significantly levels of cholesterol ( LDL, TC, TAG, blood glucose)

CAUTION

Goji berries are high in selenium, taking more than 1 oz per day can be toxic.  There's a potential interaction between Lycium barbarum L. and the blood thinner drug Wafarin.  Allergies: do not use if one has an allergy to tobacco, peaches, tomatoes, and nuts.  Since these berries lowers blood pressure, be cautious if blood pressure is already low or taking blood pressure lowering drugs.6  Same concern for blood sugar.

TYPES

The two types of goji berries plants are L. chinense and barbarum L.  Both are referred to as goji berries, wolfberry, etc.  L. barbarum has higher amount of betaine than L. chinense and is therefore sweeter than L. chinesnse³

PRODUCTS

Google "Goji berry", "lycium barbarum",  or any of the equivalent names, with any of the following categories to find the variety of products.  Below are links to a few examples - not a comprehensive list.

EDITOR EXPERIENCE 

In our family, we usually purchase the dried goji berries and we grow the plant as a vegetable for soup.  We typically cook it with chicken broth and add a few pieces of goji berries for sweetness.  In Austin, my plants are typically dormant between December and February.  They sprout vigorously between March and July.  Mine do not tolerate 100+ degree weather well.  It will start loosing leaves and become dormant until September/October and then provide another crop of leaves in the fall.  I cut my plants down to 3 inches from the ground so I get fresh and large green leaves.

<--my plants sprouting in early March

GROWING

Goji berries are drought tolerant and like well drain soil.   It grows best in zones 5-9 and tolerates temperatures below zero.  It can be grown in containers or in the ground, although it does much better in the ground because it allows the plant to take deeper roots.  Goji berries will grow in sun or partial shade, however, the greater the amount of sunlight, the more volume of fruit.

Growing goji berries from seed purchased at stores

Propagating plants from cuttings

Buying plants

TCM NOTES

This information is for education purposes only.  Seek the advice of your physician before taking any home remedies, herbs, or supplements.

PropertiesTreatmentsDosageCautionGlobal UsageDrugs
Temp Taste Ent. Meridians Photo
Neutral

Name
枸杞子
Gou Qi Zi

Sweet

Liver
Lung
Kidney

This herb is an ingredient in the following formulas:

Issues Description / Symptoms Usefulness Scale (1-10 ♦ )
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
♦♦♦♦

Directions:

  1.  Stew a 2-3 inch slice of dang gui with eggs or chicken for 45 minutes.  Drink the broth.
  2. Take dang gui supplements per instructions on bottle
  3. Drink tea that has dang gui in the mix

DOSAGE information found online.  Always consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.

Caution information found online.  Always consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.

 

Gou Qi Zi has anti-coagulant effects that can conflict with anti-coagulant drugs (ie Wafarin).

Wafarin is a pharmaceutical drug that is a derivative of coumarin.  It is used as a highly effective anti-coagulant to prevent blood clots that can result in heart attacks.

REFERENCES

1 . www.mdidea.com 3/18/2018

2 . Wettstein M, Weik C, Holneicher C, Haussinger D. Betaine as an osmolyte in rat liver: metabolism and cell-to-cell interactions. Hepatology. 1998;27:787–793. [PubMed]

3 . Lee BC, Park JS, Kwak TS, Moon CS. Variation of chemical properties in collected Boxthorn varieties. Korean J Breed Sci. 1998;30:267–272.

4 . Gan L, Hua Zhang S, Liang Yang X, Bi Xu H. Immunomodulation and antitumor activity by a polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum . Int Immunopharmacol. 2004;4:563–569.[PubMed]

5 . Qian D, Zhao Y, Guang Y, Huang L.  Systematic Review of Chemical Constituents in the Genus Lycium (Solanaceae) .  8 June 2017.  [pdf]

6 . Medlineplus.gov 3/22/2018

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