Goji Berries Have Many Health Benefits
Goji berries, also referred to as wolfberries, are plants of the Lycium chinense and Lycium barbarum families. Their taste is sour and fairly sweet. Their bitterness disappears immediately after they are dried. The Goji berry plant looks like a shrub, and usually grow forming evergreen bushes. They are endemic of the Xinjiang Uyghur and Ningxia Hui regions, both located in China, where the soil and climate is favourable to their growth.
Goji berries are cultivated in large scale plantations extending over huge areas. Their cultivation along flood plains of the Yellow River started approximately six hundred years ago. As a result, “Ningxia gouji” have built up a solid reputation among Asians, their cultivation being an ancestral practice resulting in high quality crops. Some communities refer them as the “red diamond”, a name that clearly confirms their good image and usefulness in the society. Ningxia region – being the leading producer of Goji berries - determines the quantity to be exported based on the yield. Each year, in the month of August, an annual festival is held in that region, and coincides with the harvesting season of the Goji berries.
Goji berries have been widely used to cure a variety of ailments such as fever, diabetes, high blood pressure and poor eyesight. They also have the reputation to improve the legs strength and to promote longevity. Zeathanthin, contained in goji berries, protects the eyes retina by plying the role of an antioxidant and absorbing the incoming blue light. Herbalists recommend to eat them raw, dried, or cooked. Dried goji berries can be smashed into powder and used as additive to medicines and herbal teas, in order to increase their medicinal power. The powder is also generally used in juices and wines to enhance their quality. Their leaves are also consumed as a potherb, while the bark is used in infusions and as tea additive.
The consumption of goji berries induces many health benefits, such as improvement in performance, enhanced mood, good heath, calmness, and improved thinking capacity. Researchers have demonstrated that antioxidants present in goji berries highly reduce the damages caused by free radicals to the DNA, thus helping in preventing cancer and enhancing the immune system, among other things.
Goji berries are high on vitamin A, which has strong antiviral benefits, helps keep a good skin, helps fight cancer and is great for the eyesight too.
More recently, studies have shown that Goji berries are also very efficient to boost metabolism and effective in weight loss. As a result, Goji berries started to become quite famous, and numerous magazines and television channels have introduced them to the general public. The properties of the small red berry are no longer a secret and more and more people are consuming this superfood on a daily basis.
*Reported Weight Loss: 1-3 pounds per week.