Posts Tagged ‘Goji’

How to Make a Goji Berry Smoothie

June 4th, 2013

Watch Dr. Melissa West as she shows you how to make a goji berry smoothie.

Goji berry and blueberrie smoothie

Goji berry and blueberrie smoothie (Photo credit: miriamwilcox)

How to make a goji berry smoothie

 

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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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Grow Goji Berry Plants in Your Home Garden

March 11th, 2013

Grow Goji Berry Plants which one of the easiest plants you can grow once it is established. They can be grown in either full or part sun, but prefers full sun and well drained soil. The rate of their growth is quite fast and soon you will see a beautiful purple blossom come up in your late spring garden. They are called the Goji “Berry” plant because they produce a beautiful red berry that, as you will learn in another article, contains many health benefits. Even though they grow to a height of 5 to 6 feet, they can also be grown in containers, outside on a patio or in a sunny window.

English: In 2010 Chris Kilham traveled to Chin...

English: In 2010 Chris Kilham traveled to China’s remote Ningxia region, to see the Goji harvest. As a Medicine Hunter, Chris has witnessed the cultivation and harvesting of many plants around the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If grown outside, they will tolerate zones 3 through 10 as they are very cold and heat tolerant and once established, will also tolerate a certain amount of drought, but since it is a plant that produces a fruit, you are recommended to water it on a regular basis. Too little water can cause stress and keep your Goji from producing flowers and fruits. Since the Goji is considered a deciduous plant, it will lose its leaves usually right after the first frost hits. Even though the Goji will adjust to most any soil, you will receive the best results if the pH stays between 6.8 to 8.1.

You can either test the soil yourself or take a sample to be tested to your local Department of Agriculture. If the pH needs to be higher, use lime and if the pH needs to be lower, use aluminum sulfate. Even though the plant grows to a height of 5 to 6 feet, they can still be grown in containers because once the roots touch the bottom of the planter, the plant will stop growing. Whether grown in the garden or in a container, it is best to use strong stakes and gently tie up the long canes to make harvesting the berry a bit easier. Since the Goji berry blooms on new wood, you should prune the lateral branches to both encourage more new growth and make the plant easier to manage. Once the berries appear, they will attract all kinds of wildlife, so unless you are growing the plant in a container, you might consider protecting the plant by using bird netting around it. Sprays are not recommended unless they are vegetable safe.

The Goji plant will usually not produce fruit until the third season, but if they are grown in a container, you might see fruit in the first or second season. The fruit is a beautiful bright red berry that is juicy, sweet and will get even sweeter the longer they remain on the plant to mature, so as tempting as it is, try not to pick the berries until they fully mature. Because the plant is cold tolerant, it will produce flowers and berries until well after the first frost. If you buy your Goji plant at a nursery, repot it into a larger planter, set it in a sunny window and allow it to get established before moving them outside. If container growing outside, you will want to provide the plant with about an inch or two of mulch to help retain moisture.

Fertilizing is important and should be done in early spring just after you see new growth start to appear. The best fertilizer for your Goji plant is rose fertilizer or anything that is used for woody plants. If growing more than one Goji plant outside in the garden, be sure to plant them 5 to 7 feet apart to allow plenty of room for growth and to make harvesting the berries easier.

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