Gogi Berries

Gogi Berries, also called Wolfberries, are native to the Himilayan valleys of Tibet, Mongolia, and China. Their flavor is somewhat likened to that of a cross between a strawberry and a raspberry. They are commonly found in the West as dried berries, berry juice, gogi crunch bars, and as the extract in capsules.

In the traditional medicinal cultures of its native regions, gogi is used as a remedy for inflammation, skin irritations, nosebleeds, joint pain, and as a sedative. Traditional Chinese medicine values gogi in herbal preparations to treat poor vision, anemia, and coughs. High and rich in antioxidants, gogi berries contain substances that have been shown to counter the effects of free radicals- those pesky chemicals that damage cells and can potentially cause cancer, and the juice may also be used as a mild adaptogen.

Gogi is both a food and a medicine for the Traditional Chinese; the tender young leaves are commonly eaten as vegetables, the juice combined with tea to make a tonic, the berries cooked and added to foods like rice porridge and tonic soups, and the berries boiled to make a variety of medicinal teas.

There are 80 species in the genus Lycium, or wolfberry, but the most well known are of the Chinese species L. barbarum and L. chinese, which are the ones sold in America as gogi berries. The reddish orange berry’s antioxidant components are that of cartenoids, found in many fruits and vegetables that are bright red, orange, or yellos. Gogis also contain beta-sitosterol which may help balance cholesterol levels, polysaccharides which may boost the immune system, and many vitamins and minerals beneficial to the system.

Drinking the juice contributes to a sense of well being, a sense of calmness and happiness, better quality of sleep, sharpened athletic performance, heightened antioxidant activity in the body, and a general feeling of good health.

To use: Sprinkle Gogi Berries or Gogi powder in salads, smoothies, desserts, or any other preparation that needs a flavor boost, or simply munch on them as a snack.  Soak the berries for easier blending, mashing, or for a moist snack instead of a dry one. Add Gogi berries to hot water for a superfood tea!

Get creative!

 

*Source: National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs