Herbs > Gogi or Wolfberry
It is also known as Chinese wolfberry, goji berry, barbary matrimony vine,
bocksdorn, cambronera, Duke of Argyll's tea tree, or matrimony vine.
Unrelated to the plant's geographic origin, the names Tibetan goji and Himalayan
goji are in common use in the health food market for products from this plant.
Wolfberry is also another name for the western snowberry, Symphoricarpos
Wolfberry is also the common name for the fruit of two very closely
related species: Lycium barbarum (Chinese: 宁夏枸杞; pinyin: NÝngxiÓ gǒuqǐ) and L.
chinense (Chinese: 枸杞; pinyin: gǒuqǐ), two species of boxthorn in the family
Solanaceae. Although its original habitat is obscure (probably southeastern
Europe to southwest Asia), wolfberry species are now grown around the world,
primarily in China.
Both the wolfberry and ginseng have been highly
regarded for centuries as the foremost nutritional and therapeutic plants in
China. In fact, the Chinese hold a b belief that human life might be
extended significantly by using either of these herbs for an extended period of
time. Unfortunately, ginseng is considered too b for continuous use, and
large amounts may not be suitable for people with high blood pressure or heart
disease. On the other hand, the wolfberry is much milder, with no known risk
from continuous use.
Contains 500 Times More Vitamin C than Oranges
In 1988, the Beijing Nutrition Research Institute conducted detailed chemical
analyses and nutritional composition studies of the dried wolfberry fruit. What
they discovered was stunning. The wolf-berry contained over 18 amino acids (that
is six times higher in proportion than bee pollen-, 21 trace minerals, more beta
carotene than carrots and an astonishing 500 times more vitamin C by weight than
oranges. It is also packed with vitamin 81, vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and vitamin
Perhaps this is why the Chinese have traditionally attributed so many benefits
to the wolfberry, claiming it protects liver function, replenishes vital
essences, improves visual acuity, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The
wolfberry was also said to strengthen muscles and bones, stimulate the heart and
work as an aid to treat diabetes and impotence. The big question was: Could
these results be substantiated in controlled studies using modern chemical
Why do people living in the West Elbow Plateau of Inner Mongolia have life
expectancies well over 100 years?
The story began five years ago when Professor Chao visited me at our Riverton
office. He was on a special teaching and information-gathering assignment from
the Natural Science University in Beijing, China. He had heard of essential oils
and was fascinated by their potential. As we started discussing the medical
properties of essential oils, he told me of another powerful botanical that had
been used for centuries in Inner Mongolia but had only recently been researched.
It was called the Chinese wolfberry (also known by its Latin name, Lycium
barbarum, or colloquial name, "goji berry"). The people who consumed this fruit
apparently lived free of common diseases like arthritis, cancer and diabetes.
Moreover, their life expectancies reached over 100 years.
Two Modern Studies
From July 1982 to January 1984, the Ningxia Institute of Drug Inspection
conducted a pharmacological experiment using multi-index screening (Register No.
870303). Their conclusion was:
The fruits and pedicels of wolfberry were effective in increasing white blood
cells, protecting the liver and relieving hypertension. The alcoholic extract of
wolf-berry fruits inhibited tumor growth in mice by 58%, and the protein of
wolfberry displayed an insulin-like action that was effective in promoting fat
decomposition and reducing blood sugar.
Another clinical experiment by the Ningxia Institute (Register No. 870306,
October 1982 to May 1985) studied the effects of wolfberry on the immune,
physiological and biochemical indexes of the blood of aged volunteers. The
results were amazing, indicating that the wolfberry caused the blood of older
people to noticeably revert to a younger state.
Can the Wolfberry Boost Immune Function?
According to a report of the State Scientific and Technological Commission of
China, the wolfberry contains compounds known as lycium polysaccharides, which
appeared to be highly effective in promoting immunity, results were
validated in a number of clinical trials.
In one study on a group of cancer patients, the wolfberry triggered an increase
in both lymphocyte transformation rate and white blood cell count (measures of
immune function). In another study involving a group of 50 people with
lower-limit white blood cell counts, the wolfberry increased phagocytosis and
the titre of serum antibodies (another index of immune function). Unhealthy
levels of titre of serum antibodies have long been associated with Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome (also known as Epstein-Barr). Does this mean that the wolfberry
could be used as a weapon against Epstein-Barr? The possibilities are
In another study, consumption of wolfberry lead to a strengthening of
immunoglobulin A levels (an index of immune function). Because the decline of
immunoglobulin A is one of the signs of aging, an increase in these levels
suggests that the wolfberry may enable injured DNA to better repair itself and
ward off tissue degeneration.
Is the Wolfberry a Powerful Antioxidant?
As we grow older, the levels of lipid peroxide in our blood increase, while
levels of health-protecting antioxidants, like superoxide dismutase (SOD),
decrease. In a clinical study of people who consumed doses of wolfberry, SOD in
the blood increased by a remarkable 48% while hemoglobin increased by 12%. Even
better, lipid peroxide levels dropped by a whopping 65%.
Does the Wolfberry Protect Eyesight?
A test was conducted on the effects of wolfberry on eyesight. Twenty-seven
people were tested and showed a dramatic improvement in both dark adaptation and
vitamin A and carotene content of their serum (measures of eyesight acuity).
This information was supplied by a goji product distributor.
Horny Goat Weed
St Johns Wort
The Complete Book of Herbs