Goji Berry (Wolfberry): A Superfood

goji berry

goji berry superfood

goji berry orac

Also called the wolfberry, the goji berry is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub that is native to China. Other names includes; Lycium barbarum, gou qi zi and Fructus lycii. Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet.

People have used goji berries to treat many common health problems:

  • protect the liver
  • help eyesight
  • improve sexual function and fertility
  • strengthen the legs
  • boost immune function
  • improve circulation
  • promote longevity
  • diabetes, high blood pressure, fever
  • age-related eye problems

Goji berries can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried and are used in herbal teas, juices, wines, and medicines.

Goji and Health

  • Rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart diseases. Antioxidants may also boost the immune system and lower cholesterol.
  • Rich in vitamin A that may have anti-aging benefits. These special compounds help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease.
  • Goji berry extracts may boost brain health and may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Goji Side Effects

Goji berries may interact with anticoagulant drugs (commonly called “blood-thinners”), such as warfarin (Coumadin).  Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure drugs.

Theoretically, goji could increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with diabetes. Blood sugar-lowering effects have been reported with goji root bark. It is not clear if the same effects are possible with goji berries or juice.

Theoretically, this product could lower blood pressure. While this may be a beneficial effect in many people, it could cause problems in people who already have low blood pressure. Watch for signs of low blood pressure, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. This effect has been reported with goji root bark; it is not clear if goji juice or berries have similar effects.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions. Also let your doctor know if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant; or breastfeeding. You should also be sure to tell your doctor about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com
http://www.altmedicine.about.com
http://www.diabetes.emedtv.com

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