Main Health Benefits of Goji Berries*
- Improves blood sugars and lowers appetite
- Protects against heart disease
- High in antioxidants to fight free radicals
- Increases collagen production for muscles and skin repair
- Enhances libido in men and women
- Strengthens the adrenals in times of stress
- Promotes healthy vision
- Enhances liver detoxification
- Supports healthy sleep quality
- Enhances the function of the immune system
- Helps create a healthy digestive system
- Improves physical performance and recovery
Other common names
Wolfberry, Goji, Chinese desert-thorn, Gouqui
What is The History of Goji Berries?
The goji berry is a fruit with a long history and was traditionally grown for thousands of years in the Himalayan valleys of China, Tibet, and Mongolia. Now days, the goji berry bush is also grown in tropical climates of countries such as Japan, Korea, and some European countries.
With such a long history of use in China, there have been many stories and legends created around this little red berry. One of the most notable legends comes from 2000 years ago. It speaks of a doctor visiting a village where many of the people living there were over 100 years of age. After observing the villagers and how they lived their daily lives, he noticed that the longest living villagers all drank from a specific well near the village and that well had goji berry trees growing around the well. He observed that as the fruit ripened, the berries would fall into the well and all the fruits goodness would permeate into the water. The villagers would then drink the water and obtain all the nutrients and goodness from the goji berries.
We find recordings of the medicinal value of goji berries dating back to 250BC. These writings were found in a book written by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong. This book also contained recordings and knowledge of many of the agricultural practices of the time.
The goji tree is quite tall, and the berries grow out of reach, so the bushes need to be shaken to release and drop their produce. The picked berries are dried and then cooked before they are eaten or added to dishes. It is quite common to see the goji berry added to teas and soups and also used to produce wine and juices.
This famous little berry has been highly regarded as a functional food because of the benefits it provides for conditions of the eyes, liver, and kidneys. It is also gaining a reputation as a super fruit around the world because of its health promoting properties and life extending nutrients and chemicals. It was so popular that, up until 2018, Goji was the most bought traditional Chinese medicinal product outside of China.
We can break down the nutritional compounds of Goji Berries into a number of categories – macronutrients: 46% of carbohydrate, 16% of dietary fibre, 13% of protein, and 1.5% of fat; micronutrients: taurine, riboflavin, thiamine, nicotinic acid, vitamin c, zinc and minerals such as copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, and selenium; and bioactive compounds: polysaccharides, flavonoids, carotenoids (49% zeaxanthin), phenolics, and superoxide dismutase (mn-SOD).
Goji Berries Recognised Targets and Mechanisms of Action
Vision Protective Action
- Exerts ocular neuroprotective effects
- Protects the retinal structure of the eye by regulating the expressions of caspase and PARP
- Upregulates carotenoid metabolic genes of zeaxanthin and luteolin and also improves the biogenesis of mitochondria in the retina
- Hinders apoptosis involving caspase-2 protein and protects photoreceptors
- Beneficial in the prevention of glaucoma
- Protects against diabetic retinal injury
- Improves cAMP concentrations that can mediate the impairment of the epithelial barrier of the retina
- Assists abnormal lipid peroxidation parameters to returned to near normal level and lipid peroxidation accumulation is inhibited (when following a high fat diet)
- Lowers concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides and increases concentrations of HDL-cholesterol
- Reduces concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA) and lipid peroxide plasma levels while increasing superoxide dismutase (mn-SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity
- Significantly reduces the myocardium Bax-positive rate
- Enhances apoptosis of myocardial cells and increases the Bcl-2 positive rate which can prevent further development and deterioration of cardiovascular disease
- Significantly prevents elevated blood pressure
- Significantly decreases concentrations of HbA1 and blood glucose
- Has positive effects on glucose uptake
- Effective in inhibiting HT-29 cancer cells
- Upregulate p53 and p21 expression and downregulate CDK1, CDK2, cyclin A, and cyclin B expression and arrests the cell cycle at G2/M
- Has the ability to enhance or potentiate the host defence mechanisms in a way to inhibit tumour growth without harming the host
- Has proapoptotic and antiproliferative activity against cancer cells
- Is a powerful anti-inflammation agent associated with colon carcinogenesis
- Possess a tumour-preventing effect on colitis-associated cancer in mice induced by azoxymethane
- Inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and glutathione disulphide (GSSG) levels in colonic mucosa and inhibits inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, iNOS, TNF-α, and COX-2
- Induces dendritic cell maturation and enhances their immunogenicity also enhancing dendritic Th1 and Th2 responses both in vitro and in vivo
- Stimulates the expression of nuclear factor κB (NFκB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1).
- Shown to increase the expression of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) at the mRNA and protein levels in cultures of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells
Neurological Protection Activity
- Significantly improves neurological deficits by decreasing the infarct size, hemispheric swelling, and water content in experimental vascular stroke models
- Improves the survival rate and promotes the growth of mixed cultured retinal ganglion cells
- Improves neurological performance
- Protects the nerves of the brain from focal ischemia injury induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion by protecting the blood brain barrier from breaking down and reducing reactive astrogliosis
- Provides neuroprotective effects that can be used to treat central nerves system-related illnesses such as cognitive function and other behavioural disorders
- Improves the neuroplasticity of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus
- Directly blocks the action of toxins in cells and activates microglial cells in the central nervous system
- Contains various components contributing to many antiaging properties - the most notable components are Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), betaine, β-carotene, zeaxanthin, 2-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-L-ascorbic acid (AA-2βG), and flavonoids
- Increases antioxidative activity and lowers inflammatory mediators such as COX-1/COX-2 and iNOS
- Preventive effects on ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation-induced skin damage
- Reduces photodamage caused by UVB irradiation
- Suppress the formation of UVB-induced wrinkle and collagen damage by inhibiting the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), protein kinase (MEK), and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9)
- Prevents free radicals from damaging DNA, lipids, and proteins
- Activates the Nrf2 pathway and upregulates antioxidant activity
- Plays a role in the differentiation of hippocampal stem cells
- Exerts marked antioxidant and anti-aging effects against oxidation-induced cell injury
* These statements have not been evaluated by the TGA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease
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