Goji Berry – A Super Fruit

Goji berry is the commercial name for wolfberry or Lycium barbarum. They are a bright orange/red berry with a sweet, slightly tangy taste and native to China.  In Traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are eaten raw, cooked, dried like raisins (most common way to eat), made into wines, brewed as a tea, made into liquid extracts or added to soups and other foods.  They have been eaten for generations with the hopes of living longer.

The nutrients are very rich in the goji berry. They carry all 8 essential amino acids, vitamins A and C (helping reduce cold symptoms), iron, zinc and antioxidants.  Beta carotene in the goji berry can help promote healthy glowing skin.  Goji berries are a source of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that may protect the eyes from high-energy light waves such as the sun’s ultraviolet rays (along with the carotenoid lutein).

A 4oz serving provides about 10% of our daily protein requirement. The complex carbohydrates in the berries can help keep the blood sugar from spiking and reduce the risk of a sugar crash after eating.  Goji berries are low in calories, fat-free and are packed with fiber — which can help manage weight and keep your bowels moving regularly.

History shows people have used goji berries to support many common health problems like diabetes, kidney ailments, liver issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, fever, and age-related eye problems.  Many have noted a feeling of well being and calmness, better athletic performance and improved quality of sleep. Goji berries have also been known to help boost the immune system.

In large amounts, Goji berries could interact with some drugs. If you take warfarin (a blood thinner), you may want to avoid goji berries. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes drugs and blood pressure drugs, so talk with your doctor first.

Add goji berries to your favorite trail mix or eat alone. They taste great cooked with turkey or pork, adding a savory sweetness. Always a healthy snack for any age group.

This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed health care provider.

By Dori Cranmore R.N. and owner of All About Herbs, Inc in Wasilla, Alaska.  (907) 376-8327