Goji is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub that’s native to China. Goji (Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense) has been used throughout Asia for for centuries and has been a part of many traditional Asian medicine systems. One of the oldest references to goji is a poem from Liu Yuxi during the Tang Dynasty where he says: ‘the goji nourishes body and soul, drink of the well and enjoy long life’. The plant is highly prized by Tibetan healers, who treat liver, kidney, eye, and skin problems; tuberculosis, diabetes, anxiety, and insomnia; lower blood pressure with the help of goji berries for thousands of years. In 2006, Time Magazine called the goji berry the super fruit of the year, and Dr. Howard Murad called it the most nutrient-dense food on the planet.
Nutritional Analysis of Goji Berries
Goji berries contain polysaccharides, glycosides, flavonoids and the carotenoids lycopene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Micronutrients include 21 trace minerals, including zinc, iron, selenium, copper, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins such as vitamin C and A. Goji berries are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene , of all known foods or plants. Goji berries contain more vitamin C than oranges with 2500 mg of vitamin C per 100 gr of fruit.
Goji Berry Juice Orac
Goji berries also have a high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) level which is very important in preventing oxidation and in preserving the cells thereby preventing aging. In 1999, the US Department of Agriculture released the results of a study finding that foods with high ORAC rate may help to slow the aging process and to protect cells from oxidative damage. A study announced in the January 2009 issue of Nutrition Research indicated that continuous consumption of goji berry juice may offer antioxidant protection and reduce the occurrence of problems associated with oxidative damage. ORAC testing has revealed that goji berries have antioxidant levels more than ten times higher than blueberries and about three times higher than pomegranates. 100 gram goji berries 25.300 ORAC score.
Goji contain special polysaccharides which strengthen defense system and are responsible for controlling your body’s most important immune systems. (xylose, rhamnose, mannose, glucose, arabinose, galactose). A lab study published in 2001 found that these polysaccharides appear to prevent human leukemia cell growth. Goji, rich in polysaccharides, strengthen the immune system. Studies with elderly people and those suffering from general debility have shown that consuming goji juice can lead to a 3-time increase in the T-cell transformation functions and the white cell interleukin-2 count can double. (Interleukin 2 an important cell-signaling molecule). The State Scientific and Technology Commission of China reported in 1988 that eating 50 grams of goji berries caused an increase in the white blood cell count.
Goji juice contains cyperone and anthocyanins which have been used in cervical cancer treatment, and betain a nerve tonic and memory enhancer. It also contains physalin, which is an active compound against all major kinds of leukemia. Physalin has shown to increase the splenic natural killer cell activity in tumor bearing and normal mice, with broad spectrum anti cancer activity. A Chinese study published in the Chinese Journal of Oncology in 1994 found that 79 people with cancer responded better to treatment when goji juice was added to their regimen. 79 patients in advanced stages of cancer were treated with the drug LAK/IL-2 combined with Lycium Barbarum polysaccharides . Regression of the several cancers was observed. The response rate of patients treated with LAK/IL-2 and LBP was 40 percent while that of patients treated only with LAK/IL-2 was 16 percent study. A study published in the March 2011 edition of the journal Medical Oncology reveals that the polysaccharide components of goji inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. One of the compounds found in goji juice that is highly effective in the fight against cancer and other ailments in the human body is germanium. It is an oxygen catalyst, and since all forms of cancer are anaerobic, this compound has been demonstrated in research to potentially retard and even reverse the proliferation of cancer cells. Japanese studies indicate that organic germanium is effective in treating lung cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and testicular cancer when combined with other drugs.
Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids as beta carotene and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are highly effective in protecting the retina of the eye and improving eye sight. A study of elderly adults published in 2001 in Optometry and Vision Science found that goji juice protected the macula from damage. One of zeaxanthin important tasks is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant.
Goji contains cyperone, a substance that promotes a healthy heart and regulates blood pressure. A study published in The International Journal of Biological Macromolecules in 2010 found that the antioxidants in goji juice reduce the risk of cardiovascular condition. Goji’s glycoconjugates have been shown to be able to inhibit lipid peroxidation, which is a common factor for heart disease. In a clinical study, goji juice use was accompanied by a noticeably extent 40 % increase in SOD levels, and a decrease in lipid peroxides of an impressive 65 %.
Goji berry contains betaine, cerebroside and pyrroles, which have been proven to help protect and support healthy liver function. Betaine is a phytonutrient found in goji berries that helps the liver to better detoxify and guard itself from hepatitis and damaging carcinogens. Research in China found that the hepatoprotective element contained in goji helps combat hepatotoxicity induced by carbon tetrachloride.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goji berry has been used for diabetes mellitus and its complications. Researches have shown that goji are rich in antioxidants, specifically carotenoids, which are known to protect the retina of the eye and believed to decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration, a disease associated with complications from diabetes. Also they help protect the eyes from blindness attributable to macular degeneration since goji berries have carotenoid.
Human Growth Hormone
The unique polysaccharide content in goji stimulate the pituitary glands to increase the secretion of Human Growth Hormone, which has the ability to slow down or even reverse some of the symptoms of aging. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) helps a person fight body fat, sleep better, improve memory, quicken healing and can give a more youthful appearance.
In addition to antioxidants that protect against free-radical damage to the brain, goji prevent the narrowing of the arteries that deliver oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. Goji berry also helps your body produce choline, an essential nutrient that combats free radical damage linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Other animal study done by researchers at the University of Connecticut in 2010 found it inhibited the growth of beta-amyloid protein, a type of plaque that forms on the brain that is thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Use Goji Juice?
Supporting the immune: 30-60ml daily
Cardiovascular Health: 60 ml daily
High blood pressure: 45 ml daily
Sexual problems: 30 – 60 ml daily
Liver health: 15 – 30 ml daily
What Are the Dangers of Goji Berries?
Goji berries contains betaine, an aborticide substance. Hence, pregnant women should avoid the use of goji and related food supplements. Goji root bark can interact with high blood pressure and diabetes related medications to produce some side effects. Consult a doctor before supplementing your diet with goji, if you are taking blood thinners or anticoagulant medication.