Goji (Lycium) Berries

  • The goji berry was categorized under the Linnaean Latin categorization system under the genus Lycium. From its Greek root, the word Lyceum means “a teaching place”. And that is what the masters of Chinese herbalism believed the goji berry could provide; it can teach us about other herbs. Legend has it that one can tune into a pharmacopeia of herbal data contained within the plant simply by eating goji berries.
  • Goji fruit, from the plant Lycium barbarum, is revered in Asia for its youth preserving, health protective, strengthening, and mood-elevating properties
  • In China’s first herbal encyclopedia, Shen Nong’s Materia Medica, written in the 1st century B.C., Goji was classified as a “superior tonic,” a class of herbs that people should take on an on-going basis to preserve youth and to promote general well being of life. Goji’s superior tonic classification has stood the test of time. Two thousand years later, Goji berries are still being consumed regularly throughout Asian civilizations for those purported reasons.
  • We now know that Goji berries are a “high-ORAC” antioxidant-rich superfruit featuring important phytochemicals such a beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, betaine, polysaccharides (LBPs), trace minerals and vitamins.
  • Goji is one of very few foods known to boost Human Growth Hormone.
  • Goji berries are the highest known food source of the mood-enhancing essential trace mineral, lithium.
  • The power of goji berries comes from its polysaccharides, the Lycium Barbarium Polysaccharides, the LBPs.
  • LBP has been shown in studies to help build muscle, reduce fat and increase both physical and mental energy in those who consume it regularly.
  • “Lycium barbarum, a famous Chinese medicinal herb, has a long history of use as a traditional remedy for male infertility. Polysaccharides are the most important functional constituent in L. barbarum fruits. We systematically investigated the effect of L. barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) on rat testis damage induced by a physical factor (43 degrees C heat exposure), on DNA damage of mouse testicular cells induced by a chemical factor (hydrogen peroxide), and on sexual behavior and reproductive function of hemicastrated male rats (one testicle removed). The results showed that LBP provided a protective effect against the testicular tissue damage induced by heat exposure. When compared with negative control, a suitable concentration of LBP significantly increased testis and epididymis weights, improved superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and raised sexual hormone levels in the damaged rat testes. LBP had a dose-dependent protective effect against DNA oxidative damage of mouse testicular cells induced by H(2)O(2). LBP improved the copulatory performance and reproductive function of hemicastrated male rats, such as shortened penis erection latency and mount latency, regulated secretion of sexual hormones and increased hormone levels, raised accessory sexual organ weights, and improved sperm quantity and quality. The present findings support the folk reputation of L. barbarum fruits as an aphrodisiac and fertility-facilitating agent, and provide scientific evidence for a basis for the extensive use of L. barbarum fruits as a traditional remedy for male infertility in China.” Life Sci.2006 Mar 6; [Epub ahead of print] Luo QLi ZHuang XYan JZhang SCai YZ



  • According to a recently published Chinese study, a purified Lycium barbarum polysaccharide component (LBP-X) has been isolated from Lycium barbarum. The results showed that LBP-X induced a remarkable adaptability to exercise load, enhanced resistance and accelerated elimination of fatigue. Luo QYan JZhang SWei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2000 Mar 30;29(2):115-7. Isolation and purification of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides and its antifatigue effect
  • The famed Li Qing Yuen, whom legend has it popularized both goji berries and ginseng, and is said to have lived to the age of 252 years (1678–1930), consumed goji berries daily. The life of Li Qing Yuen is the most documented case of extreme longevity known. Even if Li Qing Yuen’s longevity is just a myth, it does demonstrate a recognized relationship in the culture between the goji berry and longevity.
  • Evidence indicates that goji berries are likely to protect our nervous system (including our brain) and our sexual organs from damage due to stress, temperature variations and free radicals
  • Goji berries are a complete protein source, and contain nineteen different amino acids (on par with bee pollen) and all eight essential amino acids (such as the adrenal-​supporting phenylalanine and serotonin-​building tryptophan).


  • As we age, we produce less and less Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Decreasing levels of HGH have been linked to symptoms of aging. Goji berries are one of very few foods known to help stimulate the human body to produce more HGH naturally.


  • HGH production facilitates an increase in testosterone production, which helps build sexual energy.


  • In one recent study, results showed that men over 59 who took 2 ounces of Lycii berry each day walked away from a 10-day study having significantly higher levels of testosterone!


  • A seventy-​year-​old produces only one-​tenth of the amount of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) generated by a twenty-​year-​old. This decline parallels physical deterioration, such as lower levels of energy, muscle wasting, and a tendency to store more body fat. Boosting the natural production of growth hormone helps us feel, look, and function like a more youthful person.
  • There is evidence that goji berries increase longevity because they are high in sesquiterpenoids. Sesquiterpenoids stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands thus increasing the glandular production of HGH.
  • The goji berry is one of very few foods known that is a confirmed secretagogue (a secretagogue is a compound that stimulates HGH).


  • Various human studies have shown that goji improves immune functions, protects the DNA, and raises the serum levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and hemoglobin. [Xu DS, Kong TQ, Ma JQ. Biomed Environ Sci 1996 Mar;9(1):67-70 Related Articles, Books Department of Biochemistry, Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, China. The inhibitory effect of extracts from Fructus lycii and Rhizoma polygonati on in vitro DNA breakage by alternariol.]


  • Low quality goji may not be delicious either and may be tough to eat, but high quality goji is an absolute pleasure to consume any time.


  • * There are now concentrated supplements available that contain only the polysaccharide fraction of the goji berries, without the sugar, which are ideal as the sugar content in goji berries can be problematic for most people. However, some people may still not want to cut all sugar right away or are just not willing to, and in that case, goji berries would make a great addition to elixirs and would be a far more nutritious and balanced snack than most fruits or sweets.

The best goji berries are wild goji berries that you harvest yourself from the Arizona desert. Otherwise, the highest quality goji berries I found are the Chiangbai Mountain goji berries by Dragon Herbs. Most goji products on the market, even the ones claimed to be organic, are very inferior.

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