The goji berry, also called as the wolfberry, is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub that’s native to China. In Asia, goji berries have been eaten for generations in the hope of living longer. Over the time, people have used goji berries trying to treat many common health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, and age-related eye problems.
Benefits of gojiberry
- Prevents Diabetes – Diabetes has emerged as one of the major diseases in the world in the modern times. Controlling or preventing diabetes is absolutely necessary, as it can lead to the development of several other diseases such as obesity, heart diseases, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and ocular diseases. One of the major health benefits of consuming goji berries is that it can help in controlling diabetes. Recent studies suggest that the fruit extracts of goji berries possess considerable hypoglycemic properties.
- Controls Cholesterol Levels – Cholesterol is one of the major reasons for the development of heart diseases. Cholesterol forms plaque-like structures inside the blood vessels and arteries that obstruct the blood flow. This, in turn, causes the heart to pump with higher force, resulting in heart weakening, which can be followed by a heart attack. For starters, cholesterol is of two types. One is HDL or high-density lipid cholesterol, which is good cholesterol, and the other is LDL or low-density lipid cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol. It is the LDL or bad cholesterol that forms plaque and leads to heart weakening. Recent studies have shown that the intake of goji berries reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
- Free Radical Scavenging– Antioxidants, as the name suggests, are a wide range of chemicals that react and neutralize the action of free radicals produced in our body. Free radicals, if left alone, can damage our tissues, cells, cell membranes, and DNA over time, resulting in the development of various diseases. Research has suggested that the consumption of goji may help in the reduction of medical conditions related to free radicals. The antioxidants present in goji berry also help in boosting the immune system.
- Cardiovascular Protection – Free radicals can attack the heart, just like any other organ. Although this happens over a long period of time, it is still required to take precautionary measures. Goji berry contains anti-oxidant chemicals that protect the heart from the attack of free radicals. Recent studies have showed the significant free radical scavenging activity in the heart by goji berry extracts.
- Maintains Healthy Body – The health benefits of goji berry include general well-being and a healthy body. Results of a study conducted suggest that consumption of goji berry enhances and improves gastrointestinal functions and reduces stress and fatigue. It also improves neurological and psychological performance as well.
- Anti-cancer Properties – Goji berry was not only eaten as food in ancient days; the Chinese also used it to treat cancer in their traditional medicine. Research published in the Drug Design, Development and Therapy said that L. barbarum polysaccharides, the primary component of L. barbarum berries, has shown an antitumor effect against the various types of cancer cells. In the study conducted on laboratory mice showed that goji berry compounds had the ability to stop tumor growth.
- Protects Brain Cells – Free radicals can attack neurons or brain cells and these damaged brain cells can develop neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases can be effectively countered by consuming goji berry. Goji berry extracts have shown significant neuroprotective activity. The team that conducted research ascertained that goji berry possesses anti-aging effects and has suggested it as preventive medicine.
- Prevents Liver Damage – The liver is one of the most resilient organs in our body and it can protect itself from chemical, free radical, and physical damages. Goji berry has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine to treat liver diseases. The extracts of goji berry showed free radical scavenging activity and other protective properties in terms of maintaining liver health.
- Skin Care – Ultraviolet radiation is one of the threats that we are all facing, due to the depletion of the ozone layer in several parts of the world. The exposure of the skin to UV radiation can result in skin damage. Studies have shown that goji berries significantly reduces skin inflammation and immune suppression, owing to their antioxidant potential.
- Improves Sleep Quality – Some of the traditional Chinese uses of goji berry were to induce sleep and reduce stress. Research has shown that goji berry, when given to human subjects, improved their quality of sleep significantly without having any adverse effects.
- Increases Semen & Sperm Quality – Goji berry has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an aphrodisiac. Scientific studies on the aphrodisiac properties of goji berry concluded that it can reduce damage caused to the testes and provide protection against oxidative stress, due to the presence of hydrogen peroxide in it. Hydrogen peroxide can decrease semen count as well as sperm quality.
- Vision Improvement – Goji berry, due to its antioxidant properties, also helps in improving eyesight. The antioxidants protect the eyes from free radicals that may cause loss of eyesight, cataracts and other eye-related disorders.
Adding gojiberries to your diet
Goji berries are eaten raw, cooked, or dried (like raisins) and are used in herbal teas, juices, wines, and medicines.
Recipe for Pineapple and Gojiberry smoothie
2 cups pineapples chopped
2 Tbsp. dried goji berries rehydrated*
1. Pour about 1/2 cup water from the soaked goji berries into a Vitamix or high speed blender.
2. Add in the pineapple, goji berries, and the fresh squeezed juice of the lime.
3. Blend on high for about 30 seconds.
Recipe for Goji Tea with Baobab
1/3 cup goji berries
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 lemon – juice
1 teaspoon honey (preferably raw)
1-2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon Baobab powder – optional
1/2 teaspoon bee pollen – optional
Place goji berries in a heat-proof dish, bowl or large mug. Pour boiling or near-boiling water over the berries, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Pour into a blender, add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and foamy.
Pour into mugs and enjoy hot or warm.
Although goji berry possesses many health benefits, a word of caution about the side effects of goji berry is necessary.
- Allergic Reactions: Goji berries are known to be allergenic to some people, causing allergic reactions such as facial angioedema, dyspnea or shortness of breath, urticaria, itching in the mouth or ears, axilla, skin rashes, anaphylaxis, episodic rhinitis, and rhinoconjunctivitis.
- Warfarin: Goji berries can also interact with drugs and may cause bleeding. Warfarin is one of the drugs that is known to be reactive with goji berries. Warfarin is used as an anticoagulant and its reactions with goji berries during treatment include induced bleeding. Patients undergoing treatment with warfarin, reported epistaxis, bruising, and rectal bleeding after taking goji berry juice. Aside from warfarin, aspirin, heparin, ibuprofen, and naproxen users also shouldn’t consume goji berries.
- Other Medications: Goji berries can also react with certain antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, anticancer drugs, antidepressant drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs, drugs related to heart and blood vessels, hormonal drugs, immunosuppressants, and drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis. Users of these drugs should not take goji berries, as reactions might occur. Any medical applications of goji berries should be checked with your physician first, just to be safe.
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