Goji Berries (Organic)

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The Chinese Goji fruit known by the Chinese name gouqizi has been used since ancient times and is recorded in the earliest existing Chinese materia medica published around 100 A.D. Apart from being delicious, the Goji berry, also fondly called "happy berry" because historically it has elevated people's moods, has traditionally been utilized to nurture the heart, strengthen the immune system, facilitate optimal liver function and treat insomnia. It also increases visual perception and, as a traditional blood tonic, it has a well-known heritage in the treatment of forgetfulness, lethargy and anxiety related to blood and "chi" (or life force of the body) deficiencies.

Recently the subject of various scientific studies throughout the world, Goji berries have been found to be effective in increasing white blood cells and depressing the activity of cancer cells. In studies conducted in countries such as Mongolia, Japan, China and Switzerland, researchers have determined that the Goji berry fruit (as well as an extract from the leaves of the plant) is capable of killing some kinds of cancer cells under laboratory condition. The fruit contains many key nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B2, beta-sitosterol (an anti-inflammatory agent), linoleic acid (a fatty acid), immunologically active polysaccharides (5-8%), sesquiterpenoids (cyperone, solavetivone), tetraterpenoids (zeaxanthin, physalin), and betaine (0.1%).

Ancient Chinese medical texts celebrated these berries for their wide range of health benefits including strengthening the "chi" or life force of the body. The people who consumed this fruit were reported to live free of common diseases like flu's, arthritis, cancer and diabetes. The Chinese brought Lycium plants that produced the largest fruits back from Tibet with them to cultivate. This larger Lycium variety is larger, has more flesh and is also known as wolfberry.

In 1988, the Beijing Nutrition Research Institute conducted detailed chemical analysis and nutritional composition studies of dried Lycium fruit; this is what they discovered. In addition to being packed with vitamins B1 and B6 (which is needed by the body to convert food into energy), and vitamin E (which has never been found in fruit before), the Lycium berries contain more protein than whole wheat, 18 amino acids (8 of them essential for life), 21 trace minerals (including significant amounts of zinc, iron, copper, calcium, selenium, phosphorus and germanium; a very rare anti-cancer agent almost never found in food), more beta carotene than carrots, 500 times more vitamin C by weight than oranges, essential fatty acids (required for the production of hormones and smooth functioning of the brain and nervous system) and is a rich source of carotenoids (natural fat-soluble pigments that play a critical role in vitamin A activity in humans).

Chinese pharmacological research also revealed that Goji fruit extracts administered to mice could enhance non-specific immunity, promote production of red blood cells, increase production of interleukin-2 (IL-2), and reverse the inhibition of white blood cells caused by cancer drugs. The principal active components are polysaccharides, betaine, and physalin.

A laboratory procedure was recently developed to measure the amount of antioxidants the foods we eat contain. The procedure known as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is used by the USDA and was developed by Dr. Guohua Cao at USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, USA. ORAC is one of the most sensitive and reliable methods for measuring the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals. It is the only test to combine both time and degree of inhibition of free radicals.

According to Tufts University, the average person needs approximately 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day to have a significant impact on plasma and tissue antioxidant capacity. Three servings of fruits and vegetables per day provide approximately 1200 ORAC units. This means the average person is short by up to 3800 ORAC units each day, depending on the fruits and vegetables they are choosing and their body's requirements. To make up the difference, experts recommend supplementing our diet with high ORAC foods to become and stay healthy and slow down the aging process caused by free radical damage. The Goji berry (both Tibetan and Chinese) was rated the food with the highest antioxidant ability coming in at an amazing 25,300 ORAC units.

Another important finding about these berries is they have been found to have extremely high levels of immune-stimulating polysaccharides. What are polysaccharides? Polysaccharides are very large, long-chain sugar molecules that are nourishment for macrophages (large white blood cells) in the gut wall. The macrophages are then transported to other immune cells, setting off a chain of defensive events in our bodies.

Disclaimer: This information has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any disease or illness. It is not intended as a substitute for advice provided by a competent health care professional. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem. No claim or opinion on this website is intended to be, nor should it be construed to be, medical advice. If you are now taking any drugs or have a medical condition, please consult a competent physician who is aware of herb/drug interactions before taking any herbal supplements.

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