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What is Goji and what are the benefits of taking Goji ?

Goji Berries are a small, red shrub fruit which is native to China. These berries have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for thousands of years to help with general wellness and to relieve anxiety and other mood disorders. This high-antioxidant food contains rich beta-carotene and phytonutrients, which can promote healthy skin.

They have many different vitamins and minerals.  Just ¼ cup of dried goji berries contains three grams of fiber, four grams of protein, 140% daily value vitamin A, 35-163% daily value vitamin C, and rich selenium, potassium, iron, calcium, amino acids, and phytochemicals. In Chinese cuisine, dried goji berry is commonly cooked with vegetables and meat to make a nutritious broth. It’s also a fiber-rich, high-protein and fat-free snack with a sweet and sour taste. So try some goji berries today with yogurt or add them to soups or porridge.

Gojigoji berry, or wolfberry , is the fruit of either Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense, two closely related species of boxthorn in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. L. barbarum and L. chinense fruits are similar but can be distinguished by differences in taste and sugar content.

Both species are native to Asia, and have been long used in traditional Asian cuisine.

The fruit has also been an ingredient in traditional Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese medicine, since at least the 3rd century CE.  The plant parts are called by the Latin names lycii fructus (fruit), herba lycii (leaves), etc., in modern official pharmacopeias.

Since about 2000, goji berry and derived products became common in developed countries as health foods or alternative medicine remedies, extending from exaggerated and unproven claims about their health benefits.

Goji Berry Nutritional information

Goji berries are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • vitamin C
  • fiber
  • iron
  • vitamin A
  • zinc
  • antioxidants

These berries contain all eight essential amino acids. A 1-ounce serving provides nearly 10 percentTrusted Source of your daily value for protein. For fruit, this is a surprising amount of protein.

Due to the higher fiber content or complex carbs in goji berries, your blood sugar will raise more slowly, reducing your risk for a sugar crash afterward.

The nutritional content of  100 gram Goji:

  • Calories 258 kcal
  • carotene 9750 mcg
  • vitamin A 1625 mcg
  • vitamin B2 0.46 mg
  • vitamin B1 0.35 mg
  • vitamin C 48 mg
  • niacin 4 mg
  • vitamin E 1.86 mg
  • potassium 434 mg
  • sodium 252.1 mg
  • phosphorus 209 mg
  • magnesium 96 mg
  • carbohydrate 64.1 g
  • calcium 60 mg
  • dietary fiber 16.9 g
  • protein 13.9 g
  • selenium 13.25 mg
  • iron 5.4 mg
  • fat 1.5 g
  • zinc 1.48 mg
  • copper 0.98 mg
  • manganese 0.87 mg

How to take Goji to cure your diseases ?

Goji is a good treatment medicine for following diseases:

  • Kidney Essence Deficiency
  • Improving vision, relieving tinnitus and headaches
  • Impotence, spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, weak and low sperm count
  • Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency
  • premature aging and gray hair
  • weakness of the back and knees, lassitude and lack of appetite
  • Kidney deficiency with lower back pain and impotence
  • Liver and Kidney deficiency with diminished visual acuity
  • Kidney deficiency with impotence and shivers

Primary conditions or symptoms for which goji berries may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Knee pain Tinnitus Diabetes Anemia Impaired vision

Contraindications*: Should not be used by those with patterns of Heat and Excess, nor should it be used when there is Spleen Deficiency with Dampness or loose stools. Unidentified Goji berry phytochemicals may inhibit metabolism of other medications, such as those processed by the cytochrome P450 liver enzymes. Such drugs include Warfarin, or drugs for diabetes or hypertension.

Common TCM formulas in which goji berries are used*:

  • For Kidney Essence Deficiency manifested by an aching back, dizziness and Heat on the soles of the feet combine goji berries with glossy privet fruits (Nu Zhen Zi) and angular solomon’s seal roots (Yu Zhu).
  • For improving vision, relieving tinnitus and headaches combine goji berries with chrysanthemum flowers (Ju Hua).
  • For impotence, spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, weak and low sperm count combine goji berries with plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi), cuscuta seeds (Tu Si Zi), palmleaf raspberries (Fu Pen Zi) and schisandra berries (Wu Wei Zi).
  • For Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency combine goji berries with chrysanthemum flowers (Ju Hua) and glossy privet fruits (Nu Zhen Zi).
  • For premature aging and gray hair combine goji berries with glossy privet fruits (Nu Zhen Zi), fleeceflower roots (He Shou Wu) and ginseng (Ren Shen).
  • For weakness of the back and knees, lassitude and lack of appetite combine goji berries with king solomon’s seal roots (Huang Jing).
  • For Kidney deficiency with lower back pain and impotence combine goji berries with palmleaf raspberries (Fu Pen Zi), plantain seeds (Che Qian Zi) and cuscuta seeds (Tu Si Zi).
  • For Liver and Kidney deficiency with diminished visual acuity combine goji berries with palmleaf raspberries (Fu Pen Zi), prepared rehmannia (Shu Di huang) and glossy privet fruits (Nu Zhen Zi).
  • For Kidney Yin deficiency with pain and weakness of the lower back combine goji berries with dendrobium (Shi Hu) and achyranthes roots (Niu Xi).
  • For Kidney deficiency with impotence and shivers combine goji berries with cordyceps (Dong Chong Xia Cao), yam (Shan Yao) and cornelian cherries (Shan Zhu Yu).

What is the benefits of taking Goji berries ?

1. Boosted immune system and flu protection

A boosted immune system and flu protection can go hand-in-hand. The vitamins in goji berries may be able to increase and support both.

Early lab testingTrusted Source found goji berries help enhance the effectiveness of flu vaccinations in aged mice. This is important, because the flu vaccine doesn’t always provide adequate protection against the virus.

This study suggests that goji berries may prevent subsequent infections for older adults who’ve received a flu vaccine. But remember, goji berries aren’t a replacement protection against the flu. Be sure you and your family members get your flu shot every year.

2. Antioxidants for eyes and skin

StudiesTrusted Source have cited the high level of antioxidants in goji berries, especially zeaxanthin. It’s the zeaxanthin that gives goji berries, saffron, and bell peppers their bright color.

Antioxidants protect cells against breaking down when they’re exposed to elements such as smoke and radiation. What’s more, foods with healthy levels of antioxidants are often high in fiber and low in unhealthy fats.

The same study also found that older adults who ate a daily dietary supplementation with goji berries for 90 days had less hypopigmentation and less drusen, or yellow deposits, in their eyes.

Goji berries are exceptionally rich in zeaxanthin, an antioxidant known for its superb benefits for the eyes. They are often considered a natural treatment for age-related macular degeneration. The zeaxanthin in the berries also protects the eyes from UV exposure, free radicals, and various other forms of oxidative stress.

Drinking goji berry juice regularly for 90 days was found to increase plasma zeaxanthin concentration, and this could protect the eyes from hypopigmentation and other forms of oxidative stress that can damage the macula. Other studies show how the berries can serve as a natural treatment aid for glaucoma

3. Maintain blood sugar

Sweet goji berries may be your new favorite food if you have a particular sweet tooth. Goji berries can help:

  • potentially lower blood sugar
  • improve sugar tolerance
  • alleviate insulin resistance
  • improve and recover cells that help produce insulin

Talk to your doctor before you start adding goji berries to your diet, especially if you’re using medications to manage blood sugar. If you do start regularly eating them, you may want to check your blood sugar more often.

4. Increased testosterone and sexual health

Studies have shown that goji berries can increase testosterone levels in men, thereby improving their sexual health. They can also work as a potential alternative remedy for erectile dysfunction.

Research also states that the berries can exhibit fertility-enhancing effects in men

Goji berries have a long history tied to sexual fertility. One study  in rats showed that goji berries significantly:

  • increased sperm quantity and movement
  • shortened erection, capture, and ejaculation response
  • improved sexual ability
  • improved recovery of testosterone levels

Research suggests that goji berries may be an alternative to prescriptions for erectile dysfunction, like Viagra.

5. Protects against cancer

High levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids, are responsible for fighting cancer cells. Antioxidants slow tumor growth, reduce inflammation, and help to remove harmful substances from the body.

Research on mice, reported in the journal Drug Design, Development and Therapy, finds goji berries may inhibit tumor growth and boost the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

6. Promotes healthy skin

Goji berries contain beta-carotene, which is an essential plant phytochemical. Beta-carotene is known for its ability to promote healthy skin.

Beta-carotene is an ingredient used in skin creams to:

  • improve skin health
  • reduce skin irritation
  • manage the effects of the sun
  • manage the impact of aging

One study in mice found that when they drank 5 percent goji juice, it gave them enough antioxidants to protect against UV light damage and skin disorders.

 7. Improves depression, anxiety, and sleep

Research from 2016 that was done using rats shows goji berries can improve depression and anxiety-like behaviors.

Another study in the United States, using humans, also found drinking goji berry juice could improve energy, mood, and digestive health.

In this study, healthy adult participants consumed 120 milliliters of goji berry juice daily or a placebo drink for 14 days.

They completed questionnaires to record their feelings of wellbeing, neurological and psychological health, musculoskeletal symptoms, and digestive and cardiovascular complaints, as well as any adverse effects of the juice each day.

The researchers took measurements to record each participant’s blood pressure, body mass, weight, pulse, and vision before and after the 14 days of study.

The group given the goji berry juice reported improved energy, ability to focus, enhanced athletic performance, mental acuity, and feelings of calmness and contentment by day 15.

The study also showed improved quality of sleep in those who consumed the goji berry juice, and none experienced negative effects related to drinking the juice.

Goji berries are rich in B and C vitamins and also contain manganese and fiber – all of these nutrients elevate your energy levels and are known to enhance positivity. The berries have also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to fight depression and other anxiety and mood disorders.

Studies have also shown that regular intake of goji berry juice can increase energy levels and enhance mood.

8. Detoxify the liver and prevents liver damage

Goji berries have been used to treat liver disease in traditional Chinese medicine.

Research on animal models indicates goji berries can help with managing liver health and preventing the progression of alcohol-induced fatty liver disease.

Research on human liver cancer cells has also found the goji berry can inhibit tumor growth.

The berries are often used along with other traditional herbs like licorice and ganoderma in liver cleanses. As per traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries benefit both the liver and kidneys and restore the strength and vitality of the individual. Some sources say this aspect of the berries also makes them a natural remedy for kidney stones – but we recommend you talk to your doctor before taking them for this purpose.

 9. Boost hair growth

Goji berries are rich in vitamin A, a nutrient known to enhance blood circulation. This also improves circulation to the scalp, thereby boosting hair growth and preventing hair fall.

And like we say, the berries are also rich in vitamin C. This nutrient helps in the absorption of iron, which is also essential for hair growth.

You can take goji berries (as whole fruits or as juice) or even wash your hair with the juice (post which you can shampoo as usual).

10. Can help treat acne

This can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of the berries. They treat skin inflammation and help reduce and prevent acne breakouts. Drinking the juice can treat inflammation from within, which could also be contributing to your acne breakouts.

Additionally, you can also apply goji berry juice or extract to your face and rinse with cold water after 15 minutes. The berries can also firm up your skin (as they are rich in vitamin C that helps build skin) and reduce wrinkles too. This basically means you can also use them for their anti-aging benefits.

11. Can help balance hormones

Some research says that goji berries can be used to treat yin deficiency and restore hormonal health and balance

12. Goji berries improve lung health

Studies showed how taking a goji berry supplement for four weeks decreased inflammation in the lungs and increased white blood cell activity against lung diseases like influenza.

Goji berries can also boost immunity, which has a desirable impact on lung health.  This property can also help treat respiratory ailments like asthma.

13. Goji berries can regulate Blood Pressure Levels

The polysaccharides in the berries can be credited to their anti-hypertensive properties. In fact, these berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to regulate blood pressure levels. As per a Chinese study, the polysaccharides in the berries can help lower blood pressure levels and prevent related diseases.

14. Can aid weight loss

weight loss
weight loss

Given that they are low in calories and rich in nutrients, they can find a place in your weight loss diet plan. And goji berries have a low glycemic index (29), which is why consuming them can reduce cravings for sugary foods and aid weight loss. Reports show that consuming low-glycemic foods can accelerate weight loss .

The berries are also rich in fiber, like most fruits and vegetables. Fiber promotes satiety and prevents binging – and can hence contribute to weight loss. Another study speaks about how goji berries can increase energy expenditure and decrease waist circumference in overweight individuals

Goji berries pack healthy energy into small servings. Their rich, sweet taste, along with their high-fiber content, can help you stay on track with eating healthy. Turn to them for a light snack to prevent overindulgence at mealtime. Add them in your yogurt or salad in the same way you would use raisins.

Their nutrition value as a low-calorie, low-sugar option makes them a perfect substitute for other dried fruits with higher sugar content. A 1-ounce serving of goji berries has around 100 calories

Who should avoid goji berries?

Goji berries may interact with some medications, including:

  • blood thinners
  • blood pressure medications
  • diabetes drugs

People taking these medications should talk to their doctor before adding goji berries to their diet.

Anyone with an allergy to other berries should discuss this with a doctor before consuming fresh or dry goji berries or taking any supplement containing goji berry extracts.

How to take Goji Berries ?

  1. Raw: First and foremost, eat them raw! A small handful a day will do.
  2. Juice: Goji berries are also available in juice form. Down to Earth carries 100% Goji Juice without any added sugar, or color.
  3. Tea: Goji berries can be used to brew in a tea. You can add a handful of goji berries to a big glass of hot or cold water (or herb tea) and let sit and hydrate for 5 to 10 minutes. They become plump and juicy. You can drink the tea and eat the hydrated berries which are loaded with antioxidants.
  4. Smoothies: Soak a handful of goji berries in water for 10 minutes. Once they are plump and juicy, add them to your favorite smoothie. It won’t make much of a change to the taste or consistency of your smoothie.
  5. Trail Mix: You can also add goji berries to your favorite trail mix. Or, make your own by mixing your favorite nuts and dried fruit with some goji berries. Kids like it when you add some chocolate or peanut butter chips to the goji trail mix.
  6. Cereal: Just like raisins, add some goji berries to your hot or cold cereals in the morning.
  7. Muffins and Scones: Add goji berries to muffins or scones just as you would raisins.
  8. Goji Energy Bars: Blend a handful of goji berries together with cup of walnuts, ½ cup almonds, and 5-6 dates in a food processor. Roll the mix into balls or spread in a deep pan to make bars.
  9. Add to Soups: This has been a common use of goji berries in Chinese cuisine for thousands of years.

 

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