Home » Goji Berry: Basic Information and Traditional Uses

Goji Berry: Basic Information and Traditional Uses

Did you ever wonder why Asian people tend to live longer than the rest of the human kind? Their life-time is often 100 years and more. Moreover, it is not a legend, but a well-documented fact that the herbalist Li Qing Yuen lived to the age of 225. They say that the secret is in the daily intake of goji berries – a powerful anti-aging herb.

The Latin name for goji plant is Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum. It is a member of the genus of multiple species – more than 40 in Tibet alone! These plants grow in many areas of the Far East. The most miraculous, however, seems to be Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum, indigenous to the Himalayan Mountains, where the soils are fertile and virgin, and are not spoiled even if they are cultivated. Nowadays, however, the same sort of plant grows in Inner Mongolia, as well as in the Heavenly Mountains of western China, without losing its powerful effect.

Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum is an 8-10 feet tall shrub with long (up to 15 feet) vines. From summer to the first heavy frosts the bush is covered by purple and white (on the same plant) trumpet-shaped flowers, which turn into small (8-20mm in diameter) bright red berries. However, only a 2-years old plant begins to fruit, heavy yields being available on the 4th or 5th year. It is necessary to prune the vines to have more berries and to make the bush more beautiful.

Although goji plant can grow in almost any type of soil, it prefers well drained soils of moderate quality. Under the full sun its berries become sweeter and juicier. It is also possible to grow goji as a house plant, supplying its extensive root system with a big pot and pollinating the flowers by hand (touching them together).

A very specific feature of the berries is that they must not be touched until they are ripe enough to fall down from the branches. If they are touched they oxidize and turn black partially losing their healing powers.

The Himalayans use goji berries for many years and know well about their positive influence upon the human organism. The plant is highly prized by Tibetan healers, who treat kidney, liver, eye, and skin problems; diabetes, tuberculosis, anxiety, and insomnia; lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels with the help of these berries for centuries. All in all, goji fruits can effectively improve the state of health, strengthen the immune system, and increase the longevity and vitality as no other traditional remedy or pharmaceutical drugs known to the human kind.

The fresh or dried berries are praised most often, but other parts of the plant can also be used in medicine or as a vegetable (the young shoots and new leaves are usually cooked). The bitter root bark helps control coughs, lower fevers, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It is also effective in reducing irritability and treating nosebleeds.

Though goji plant has been known to the Western world for quite a short time, many researches have already been done. All of them confirm the curing effect and healing power of the herb, which makes it more and more attractive to the modern science and medicine.

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