Herb of the Month

 

A different herb showcased each month listing its benefits, properties, and uses in Chinese Medicine.

Goji Berry

A Nourishing "Superberry"

 

Known as Gou Qi Zi in Chinese Medicine, Goji Berry has been used for longevity and other health benefits since ancient times. More recently, this delectable berry has become known as a “superfood” here in the west, boasting anti-aging, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. It is also suggested that goji berries can boost immunity, improve vision, and increase metabolism.

A boosting herb

According to Chinese Medicine, Goji Berry is a tonic herb that benefits the liver, kidney, and lung acupuncture meridians. It is also used in many herbal formulas and as a standalone to tonify yin and blood. Yin and blood function to balance the heating aspects of yang and qi in the body. This balancing act is necessary for optimal health, and to prevent things from drying out prematurely in our bodies. When yin and blood is adequate and flowing smoothly, our organs, eyes, and ligaments remain properly moistened and nourished. Overwork, excessive exercise, chronic stress, or anything else that is overtaxing to our body can lead to a deficiency of yin and blood over time.

Here are a few more benefits of snacking on this tasty berry:

Boosts immunity

Due to their high antioxidant properties, berries in general have been shown to boost immunity. Goji berries have high levels of vitamins A and C, and modern research continues to present evidence showing that this “superfruit” can aid in strengthening our immunity, leaving us stronger to fight off those pesky seasonal sniffles.  

Improves Vision

According to Chinese Medicine, goji berries enter and benefit the Liver and Kidney meridians, both of which are essential for eye health and vision. Modern research agrees that goji berries can benefit vision. It is the composition of highly branched polysaccaharides and proteoglycans found in this fruit that may enhance the neuroprotective properties of the eyes. Also, the high presence of taurine (a nonessential free amino acid) suggests its macular benefits.

Can aid in weight loss

Although limited in human studies, there is some evidence that drinking goji berry juice can help with weight loss by increasing metabolism. Naturally, they have a low glycemic index, and are high in fiber which can help control blood sugar by making you feel full longer. Goji Berries have also shown to lower bad cholesterol in both animal and human studies.

How to eat this superfood

Goji Berries have a sweet, tangy, and slightly nutty flavor. They can be enjoyed in herbal teas, smoothies, soups, and other savory dishes. Or, they can be simply eaten out of the bag as a snack.

Things to consider

Although goji berries seem like another cure all (kind of like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar), they should be consumed in moderation. Because of their sweet, and subtly cloying nature, it may be best to skip goji berries if you have a sensitive stomach, or are experiencing diarrhea.

It is important to buy goji berries from a well-reputable producer, preferably organic.  A personal favorite is 

* Avoid Goji Berries if you are taking Warfarin or any other blood thinners.   

* Allergic reactions have been reported in a small population of people with food allergies.

References

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