Goji BerryGoji, goji berry or wolfberry
is the fruit of Lycium barbarum, two very closely related species of boxthorn in the family Solanaceae (which also includes the potato, tomato, eggplant, deadly nightshade, chili pepper, and tobacco). The two species are native to southeastern Europe and Asia.Fruit:
These species produce a bright orange-red, ellipsoid berry 1–2 cm deep. The number of seeds in each berry varies widely based on cultivar and fruit size, containing anywhere between 10–60 tiny yellow seeds that are compressed with a curved embryo. The berries ripen from July to October in the northern hemisphere.Goji berries have a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour. They have a similar shape and chewy texture as raisins.Wolfberries
are usually sold in open boxes and small packages in dried form.Culinary:
1.As a food, dried wolfberries are traditionally cooked before consumption. Dried wolfberries are often added to rice congee and almond jelly, as well as used in Chinese tonic soups, in combination with chicken or pork, vegetables, and other herbs such as wild yam, Astragalus membranaceus, Codonopsis pilosula, and licorice root.
2.The berries are also boiled as a herbal tea, often along with chrysanthemum flowers and/or red jujubes, or with tea, particularly pu-erh tea,and packaged teas are also available.
3.Various wines containing wolfberries are also produced, including some that are a blend of grape wine and wolfberries.
4.Young wolfberry shoots and leaves are also grown commercially as a leaf vegetable.Health Benefits of Goji Berry:
1.Goji berries contain complex starches called Lycium barbarum polysaccharides which may benefit the immune function, and may reduce fatigue associated with living at high altitude.
2.Antioxidants temper the destructive power of free radicals, substances occuring naturally in our body but if produced in excess accelerate cell damage and destruction. Chinese research has shown a standardised dose of goji berry extract given over a month-long trial helped boost levels of protective anti-oxidant liver enzymes, and reduced by-products of oxidative damage in the blood by almost 10%. It’s worth noting that although this research is promising, the test samples of goji berries were highly purified to contain a standard amount of the active ingredient, ‘Lycium barbarum polysaccharides’, which may not reflect the same content of goji berries bought at the healthfood shop or supermarket.
3.Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may also confer health benefits. Vitamin A and its derivatives may protect against skin damage, help maintain night- vision, and benefit the immune system.
4.Some researchers suggest that goji berry extracts may improve mood, and protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, but there is no robust medical evidence to support these claims.
5.In summary, goji berries are a rich source of antioxidants with preliminary research showing some potential health benefits when taken in a standardised form - but there’s not enough sound evidence to recommend them solely for their health benefits.
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