Do you like goji berries?


Do you like goji berries? Goji berries and the juice made from them have become popular the U.S., but they are actually a traditional Chinese medicinal food, known by the name Gou Qi Zi.  The botanical name, Lycium chinense, or L. barbarum, is sometimes called Chinese wolfberry.  It is a perennial shrub that grows well in fertile soil of zones 2-7, and can easily be grown in your yard like other berries.  Harvest begins mid-summer.

In Chinese Medicine goji berries are used as a nutritive and blood tonic and are often used in longevity formulas.  Not only are the berries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, they also lower blood sugar, blood lipids, and mildly lower blood pressure.  They strengthen eyesight and are good for night vision.  They are vasoprotective and stabilize capillaries, and are used to improve circulation to the extremities and improve peripheral neuropathies.  They are also pre-biotic, used to promote healthy gut flora.

The Chinese use goji berries similarly to raisins: add to rice pilaf, to stews, to lentil salads, to porridges, and to any meat dish.  You can also make a decocted tea by adding 4 teaspoons of the dried berries to 2 cups of water and, once boiling, lower to simmer for 15-20 minutes then steep for 45-60 minutes.

Bevin Clare