Health Benefits of Goji Berries

March 12th, 2013

Besides being a beautiful, vibrant plant that is very easy to grow, the Goji Berry plant also has many health benefits. It grows fast and produces a beautiful purple flower that is followed by a delicious, juicy red berry that will remind you of a small pepper. It will begin to flower and produce fruit in the early spring and continue all year long, with the proper care, until well after the first frost, when it will drop its leaves and go dormant for the rest of the winter. Most anyone can grow this medical marvel plant either inside an apartment in a sunny window or outside in a garden.

And, after reading the following medical benefits, why would anyone not want to grow this amazing plant. Botanically called the Lycium barbarum and also known as “Big Lifeberry,” and wolfberry, the Goji berry plant has been around for many years. They are also a member of the nightshade family, but do not let that frighten you because so are the potato, tomato and sweet potato, pepper and eggplant. The Goji berry plant grows wild in its native Himalayan mountains range of Mongolia and Tibet and has been in use in both China and Tibet for many thousands of years, medicinally and as a food ingredient.

Some of the goodies Goji berries contain include: Loads of vitamin C, and A, high in fiber, over 15 times more iron than is in spinach, all the essential amino acids, a higher concentration of protein that all other fruits, 21 trace minerals including, zinc, calcium and selenium and more carotenoids than any other known food. To say that the Goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse is at best, an understatement. In addition, this powerful little berry also contains antioxidants, polysaccharides for the immune system, is considered a natural anti-inflammatory with both antifungal and antibacterial properties. These berries are well known among the Chinese to both increase longevity and strength.

Wolfberry is the common name for the fruit of ...

Wolfberry is the common name for the fruit of two very closely related species: Lycium barbarum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many health benefits of the Goji Berry plant. Chinese medicine claims some of the Goji berry benefits are helping the kidney and liver areas, help low back pain, eyesight and dizziness. Research has shown extracts of the Goji berry will boost the health of the brain and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other age related diseases. Other research shows the Goji berry will help prevent heart disease, boost the immune system, produce calmness, improve sleep, and give a general feeling of good mental well being. Further research shows the Goji berry will help lower cholesterol, may help prevent cancer, and slow the aging process by minimizing the damage to cells and DNA from free radicals.

It is also said that consuming Goji berries over time may help treat high blood pressure, diabetes, age related eye problems and fevers. Goji berries can be eaten either dried like raisins, cooked, raw, or made into a juice and put in teas, and other juices. They are usually either eaten raw as a snack, added to a homemade trail mix, or made into an extract or tea. The raw berries are delicious in cereals and oatmeal, and you can soak the dried berries in water and use them and the juice in smoothies.

It should be noted that as amazing and full of health benefits as this powerful little berry is, it may produce adverse interactions when taken with medications like blood thinners, or those for high blood pressure or diabetes. It is always recommended that before you take Goji berries, you first speak with your physician about any side effects from any medications you are on. In addition, if you have an allergy to pollen, it is advised that you not consume this fruit, but if eaten in moderation, the incredible Goji berry should be safe.

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