The benefits of goji berry consumption has recently become popular out of a wide variety of ancient Chinese longevity secrets.
The traditional benefits of goji berry (a.k.a. Chinese wolfberry or gouqizi in Chinese) use are attributed to it's neutral or balanced energy (neither warming, nor cooling) and it's tonifying effect on the Blood, Kidney yin, Liver yin and Lung yin. This alkalizing herbal adaptogen has been used for thousands of years in China. It is enjoyed above all other live superfoods and adaptogenic herbs because it is much more palatable compared to many of the other bitter roots and barks that may have equally impressive medicinal qualities, but aren't as tasty.
Wild organic goji berries grow naturally in Asia and North/Central America. They grow everywhere from the extreme rugged Himalayan mountains to the searing hot lowland Arizona desert. This unique adaptogenic ability to integrate into various climates is one of the benefits of goji berry use that is passed along to whoever consumes it. Out of 100+ species of goji plants worldwide the most well known and most studied have been the lycium pallidum, the lycium chinense and the lycium barbarum plants. The most nutrient and phytochemically dense organic goji berries come from the lycium barbarum plants grown in the Himalayas.
It is my intention that the goji facts presented in this article might perhaps convince you of how beneficial it is to consume this most amazing of live superfoods. By eating the most nutrient dense herbal adaptogens available, you can nourish deficiencies, heal past injuries, heal degenerated tissue as well as increase you human longevity potential! A daily dose of 15-30+ grams (roughly four to six dried berries per gram) of goji berries benefits your longevity lifestyle. Make it a practice to start your day with!
The benefits of goji berry nutrition come from the wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients it contains.
~13% complete vegetarian protein with 18 amino acids, half of which are in free form (not bound up in proteins)
~8.2% essential fatty acids half of which are polyunsaturated fats
~67.7% carbohydrates with 10% being fiber, 36% being polysaccharides (very complex long chain sugars) and only 21.7% being simple sugars (making this a low-glycemic fruit)
~B1, B2, B5 (in small amounts) and B6
~C (although not in as high amounts as so many MLM companies claim)
~E (which is rarely found in fruits)
~and many other trace minerals!
Antioxidants (ORAC of 25,300):
~5 carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin)
~5 lycium barbarum glycoconjugate polysaccharides (LbGp 1-5 are immuno-modulators, protect against DNA mutations and increase blood serum levels of superoxide dismutase)
~Betaine (protects DNA, increases choline production in the liver, calms the nervous system, enhances memory, promotes muscle growth, prevents fatty liver disease and detoxifies the liver)
~Physaline (anti-cancer, anti-leukemia, immune system booster and treats hepatitis B)
~Sesquiterpenoids (hgh secretagogue, treats cervical cancer, treats menstrual discomfort and benefits the heart and blood pressure)
~Solavetivone (anti-fungal and anti-bacterial)
~Beta-sitosterol (anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol, treats sexual impotence and treats prostate enlargement)
The science behind the benefits of goji berry consumption matches up with the traditional human longevity enhancing properties this herbal adaptogen was said to confer.
The following four categories are the attributes that Traditional Chinese herbalism says are the benefits of goji berry use. It's interesting how nearly all of the above mentioned scientific goji facts literally fit into these four categories, thus showing us how accurate the alternative diagnostic methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine really is!
Blood: The iron content of the wolf-berry obviously contributes to building red blood cells. The sesquiterpenoids are known to help alleviate menstrual problems as well as benefit the heart and naturally lower blood pressure. Beta-sitosterol lowers cholesterol. These goji facts show why this berry tops the list of live superfoods.
Kidney yin: The most outstanding benefits of goji berry for longevity in humans is the ability that the sesquiterpenoids have in increasing the secretion of human growth hormone (hgh) by the pineal and pituitary glands in the brain. Hgh is a master hormone that is responsible for keeping an entire cascade of steroidal and sex hormones in good balance.
The average 70 year old has hgh levels that are one tenth that of a 20 year old. This low level leads to a wide range of hormones becoming out of balance and essentially causing aging in the body in the long run. Some of the glycoconjugate polysaccharides in lycium barbarum plants protect against DNA mutations by increasing blood serum levels of superoxide dismutase (the king of antioxidants). Betaine also protects the DNA. The zinc content of goji berries benefits the production of male semen as well as being a building block for certain key proteins that repair DNA. Finally, beta-sitosterol treats sexual impotence and prostate enlargement in men.
Liver yin: In TCM the Liver organ system is associated with eyesight and the emotion of anger (interestingly alcoholics are often associated with anger and it is well known how alcohol damages the liver). The carotenoids zeaxanthin (organic goji berries are perhaps the worlds richest source of this antioxidant), lutein and beta carotene are well known to help improve and repair the eyesight and damage to the retina. Physaline can treat hepatitis B in the liver. Betaine increases choline production in the liver, prevents fatty liver disease and detoxifies the liver.
Lung yin: The Lung organ system of TCM is associated with the immune system and the skin. Physaline has immune boosting properties. Ascorbic acid (vit. C) is well known for immune boosting as well. The benefits of goji berry's glycoconjugate polysaccharides is immunomodulation, meaning that they "re-educate" the immune system to work better permanently. Using a military metaphor, immune boosting can be likened to drafting new recruits into an army.
Although it is beneficial if your army is in need of them, having too many troops, especially fresh recruits, increases the chances of friendly fire (the immune system attacking your body by mistake). Immunomodulation can be likened to taking the basic troops you have and training them to become the "navy seals" of your body! Basically you have a smarter, more powerful and more intelligent immune system. Also, the vitamin E content of the Chinese wolfberry his good for the skin.
One historical figure that popularized the benefits of goji berry consumption for Chinese longevity was Li, Ching Yuen.
At 50 years of age he was advised by a Taoist hermit he met in the mountains, who claimed to be over 500 years old, to consume a medicinal soup on a daily basis that contained goji berries (benefits are accumulated over long term daily use). Later, after living to the age of 150, he added other herbs to his "program" of centenarian foods such as he shou wu, ginseng, licorice root and gotu kola.
It was purported that Li, Ching Yuen lived to be 256 years of age. Whether or not this is true, it can no longer be proven, however this man did exist and he did live to a very advanced age. Stories of amazing individuals such as Mr. Li can teach us about things such as the benefits of making certified organic goji berries a part of our daily intake of live superfoods.
The benefits of goji berry plants in your garden is that you have your own supply of fresh, straight off the bush berries!
Growing goji berries benefits your wallet by saving you money on the somewhat pricey and often over priced imported berries! This also helps introduce goji berry plants into the ecosystem (from birds eating the berries and spreading the seeds). This way, the benefits of goji berry plants can be enjoyed by wild animals and foragers as well :)
If you're wondering how to grow goji berries, you simply need to take some of the dried berries (preferably from lycium barbarum plants which have been shown to be the most medicinal potent species) and soak them in water overnight. Then stick the soft berries into rich organic soil in some small, easily transferable pots. After a few days you'll have little green shoots poking up through the dirt. Once these are big enough you can transfer them outdoors to grow in a very well lit patch of your yard. The hardy goji berry benefits most from plenty of room (the bush can grow up to 6 feet tall!) and direct sunlight.
~"Superfoods" by David Wolfe (North Atlantic Books, 2009)
~"Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Vol II." by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D., AHG and Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., AHG (Lotus Press, 1998)
~"Chinese Tonic Herbs" by Ron Teeguarden (Japan Publications, 1984)
~Research on the increased blood serum SOD levels in rats: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16679745?dopt=AbstractPlus
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