Plant Description  

Goji
Description

The names for Goji berries in different countries are:  German: Bocksdorn, Wolfsdorn; Italian: Spina-Santa Di Barberia; Spanish: Mora De La Vista, Cambronera; Korean: Tangkugijanamu, Gu Gi Ja etc.

History

Goji berry was used in China and Tibet for thousands of years as a culinary ingredient and medicinal purpose. But it was introduced in Western countries in recent years.

Plant

It grows to about 1–3 m tall and bears ellipsoid, about 1–2 cm in diameter fruits. The flowers are purple/blue with bell-shaped or tubular sepals which forms short, triangular lobes. They open in summer season. Leaves are deciduous, grey-green, 7 cm in length and 3.5 cm broad. The branches are thorny. They are rounded or blunted at tips. It is an excellent choice for temperate climates. They perform well in moist, well-drained soils. The plant has the life span of 4-5 years.

Fruit

Goji berry fruits are 1-2 cm in diameter, ellipsoid and bright orange red. This fruit flavors the combination of cherries, raspberries and dates with mild taste. Each fruit contains 10-60 tiny yellow seeds. The fruits are available during July to October.

Use and Preparation

Traditional uses

In traditional Chinese medicine, Goji is used to cure back pain, eyesight and dizziness. Traditional Oriental medicine uses root, bark and berries to enhance vision, good health, strengthen immune system, kidney and liver, antiageing, improve sperm production and blood circulation and enhance sexual performance. It is also used to treat diabetes, tinnitus, Anaemia, lung and liver diseases.

How to eat

Goji berries could be consumed raw and also available in the form of juice. It can be brewed in form of tea by adding Goji berries to the glass of cold or hot water and let it remain for 5 to 10 minutes. It could be added to the smoothie by soaking it. It could be mixed with the dried fruit and nuts or added like raisins to the hot or cold cereals. Goji berries could be used like raisins to the scones or muffins. It is used as an ingredient in soups.

Precautions

Goji berries may interact with the medications for blood pressure, diabetes and blood thinner warfarin. Those who are allergic to the peaches, tobacco, nuts and tomatoes, they might experience some allergic reactions to Goji berries. Pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid Goji berries because it possess chemical, betaine which leads to the miscarriage.

Recipe

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups coconut flakes, macaroon-cut or fine-cut
  • ½ cup Brazil nuts or other nut
  • 4–5 tablespoons raw honey, crystallized ⅓ cup dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons lucuma powder
  • ¼ cup goji berries
  • 5 tablespoons banana flakes or powder, or ¼ cup dehydrated banana
  • 1 teaspoon camu camu powder
  • Few pinches of sea salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon

How to Make It

  1. Place coconut flakes and Brazil nuts into a food processor, and mix until broken down into a flour.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the food processor, and mix until they start to form a loose dough. Test the dough between your fingers to see if it sticks together; if it does, then you are ready to roll it into bars. Add more honey if needed.
  3. Roll into a ½-inch-thick dough between two sheets of parchment paper on a cutting board using a straight-sided glass or a rolling pin to evenly compact the dough.
  4. Chill for 1–2 hours, then cut into bars. Store chilled.

Nutritional value

Health Benefits of Goji berry

Goji berries possess various anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties which enhances the immune system. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to increase the longevity and strength. It is also a good source of Vitamin A, C, antioxidants, iron, potassium, zinc, iron and others. The dried berries assist to strengthen the immune system, improve liver function and protect eyesight.

  1. Prevent diabetes

Diabetes has become one of the common diseases nowadays. Diabetes can lead to various diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, ocular disease and stroke. The recent studies shows that the fruit extracts of Goji berries contain hypoglycemic properties. It also reports that the use of Goji berries helps to prevent diabetes without any side effects.

  1. Reduce cholesterol

Cholesterol is the main cause for cardiovascular disease and heart diseases. Cholesterol restricts the flow of blood by forming a plaque inside the arteries and blood vessels which makes the heart to pump with force which leads to weak heart. The recent studies show that Goji berries helps to lower the LDL cholesterol level.

  1. Eliminates free radicals

The presence of antioxidants in Goji berries prevents the formation of free radicals in the body because it can damage cells, tissues, cell membranes as well as DNA. The study made on the research reports that the intake of Goji berries reduces the medical conditions associated to the free radicals. The antioxidant also enhances the immune system. (1)

4. Protects cardiovascular system

When the free radicals attack the heart, it gets weaken. The antioxidant chemicals prevent the heart from the damage of free radicals. The recent studies have shown that the extracts of Goji berry eliminate the free radicals from the heart. (2)

  1. Healthy Body

Goji berry also provides a healthy body and general well-being. The study shows that the intake of Goji berries promote the gastrointestinal functions along with lowering fatigue and stress. It also enhances the psychological and neurological performance. (3)

  1. Prevents cancer

The Chinese people use Goji berry to cure cancer besides food. The scientific investigations on the extracts of Goji berry fruit shows that it possess anti-cancer properties. The test on human cancer cells shows that it could prevent the development of cancer cells and also the death of cells. (4)

  1. Prevents cell damage

Free radicals assault the body from inside and also damages the brain cells and neurons which is the cause for neurodegenerative diseases. This could be treated with the consumption of Goji berry. The extracts of Goji berry possess the neuroprotective activity. The research also reports it as a preventive medicine which also contains the anti-aging activities. (5)

  1. Protects liver

The liver gets damage in the process of preventing itself from free radicals and physical damages. Goji berry is used in Chinese medicine as the treatment for liver diseases. The Goji berry extracts eliminates the free radicals from the liver and possess the protective properties. (6)

  1. Protects skin

The Ultraviolet radiation leads damage to the skin as well as cancer which could be reduced by the consumption of Goji berries. The extract of Goji berry prevents the skin damage from UV rays. The studies show that Goji berries lowers the immune suppression and skin inflammation due to the presence of antioxidant properties. (7)

10. Promotes sleep

Goji berry is used in Chinese traditional medicine to reduce the stress and promote sleep. The research conducted on the human shows that Goji berry enhance the sleep without any side effects. (8)

11. Increase sperm quality

In traditional Chinese medicine, Goji berry is used as an aphrodisiac. The scientific studies show that an aphrodisiac property lowers the damage to the testes and prevents stress caused by hydrogen peroxide which decreases the semen and sperm quality. (9)