Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) have been used in traditional Chinese remedies since ancient times. They are native to Tibet, China, Mongolia and parts of Europe. Today, these scrumptious red berries are gaining popularity as a superfood, and for good reason.
In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are said to support the yin of the kidneys, which in turn promotes healthy hormone production and the optimal functioning of the adrenal glands.
They have also been used to support proper blood flow throughout the body, maintain healthy vision and help clear up coughs. Goji berries coming from China are sometimes referred to as wolfberries.
Tibetan goji berries, also known as Tibetan Lycium, have been cultivated in Tibet for over seventeen centuries. In this region, they are used as an all-around health-boosting tonic, and for a large variety of ailments. They are also closely associated with longevity and maintaining youth.
Goji berries have also been used traditionally to treat fevers, high blood pressure and diabetes. Throughout Asia, they are known as a ‘beauty food,’ and are thought to promote a smooth, clear and youthful complexion.
Modern research has uncovered many health benefits of goji berries. For starters, like other berries including blueberries, cherries and strawberries, goji berries are rich in antioxidants, which are linked to possessing anti-aging and disease-prevention properties. One of these antioxidants is beta carotene, which promotes eye health.
Goji berries also contain vitamins A, C and E, as well as several B-vitamins, and a number of minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. They also possess all eight essential amino acids, which makes them a complete protein. Additionally, goji berries are filled with phospholipids, which are the main lipid in cell membranes.
A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Medicinal Food tested the effects of goji berry juice on the immune systems of 60 healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 72. Researchers found that the group that drank the goji berry juice had improved immune system function and increased white blood cell counts, and also displayed heightened memory and focus. The control group that was given a placebo did not show any of these effects.
There are many ways to incorporate goji berries into your meals. They can be eaten raw or dried for a delicious snack, or added to smoothies and juices. Goji berries are also great in trail mixes, and can be brewed into hot or iced teas. Just be sure to choose organic goji berries – since pesticides are not something you want alongside this superfood.
Note: WebMD.com cautions that goji berries may interact with certain blood thinning medications, such as warfarin. If you are planning to eat a lot of goji berries and are on a medication, talk to your health practitioner just to be safe.
-The Alternative Daily