Learn More About Goji
What is goji?
Considered by some a “superfruit,” as are noni and pomegranates, goji (also known as wolfberry) is a berry found on evergreen shrubs that grow primarily in the more temperate parts of Asia, such as China and the lower elevation of the Himalayas. Goji has a tart taste, and due to its appearance could easily be mistaken for a red raisin. Oddly, it is a member of the nightshade family, and therefore considered by botanists to be distantly related to the potato.
What is goji used for?
Over the last few years, goji enthusiasts have contended that this tiny berry can cure everything from liver trouble to impotence to poor eyesight to lowered immunity.
Although skeptics countered these expansive claims by correctly pointing out that human studies involving goji are few, herbalists point out that this plant has been used by traditional healers in China for at least the last 5,000 years. That comprises the entire length of recorded human history.
Researchers note how unusually nutrient-dense goji is, containing as it does disease-fighting polysaccharides such as the kind found in medicinal mushrooms, not to mention powerful antioxidant carotenoids, including beta carotene and zeaxanthin, the latter of which appears to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Other analyses of goji reveal that it contains the trace mineral germanium (believed by some to be an even more potent anti-cancer trace mineral than is selenium) as well as vitamin E and B-complex, 19 amino acids, the cholesterol-reducing agent beta sitosterol, and five times more ascorbic acid per serving than oranges do.
Moreover, scientist have found that that in vitro (that is, test-tube) studies reveal that goji may act as a “neuroprotective” agent that reduces or even prevents free radical damage to brain cells. Like many other berries such as blueberries, goji may well help to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of age-related cognitive decline. Some researchers even believe that regular goji intake not only improves memory but reduces the frequency and severity of headaches.
Other studies suggest that goji could well have a role to play in the prevention of both cancer and heart disease, two other ailments that appear to be closely linked to oxidative stress brought on by cigarette smoke, pollution, bad diet, and even the aging process itself.
Although published data are lacking, anecdotal reports of goji’s benefits abound. increase of energy and strength; maintainence of healthy blood pressure, enhancement of sexual function, support of eye health, improvement in memory; and headache relief, to name a few.
How is goji taken?
Although practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine usually prescribe goji in the form of berries that have been boiled, most Western users seem to prefer to consume it as a juice, usually in the amount of one to three ounces per day. Goji has recently also become available in capsule form as well.
Is goji safe?
Reasons exist to think that in certain cases gojo could interfere with the proper use of blood thinners. Anyone with a pre-existing health condition would be wise to speak with a doctor before taking this berry.
Otherwise, goji appears to be quite safe for most people.
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