Goji berries, also called lycium or wolfberries, are a well-respected tonic herb used as part of the centuries-old tradition of Chinese Herbal Medicine (TCM). These tasty berries can be eaten as is, made into a tea, or added to soups and stews.
Botanical name: Lycium barbarum Mill.

Botanical Family: Solanaceae

Common name: lycium

Synonyms: wolfberry, Chinese wolfberry, box thorn, matrimony vine, lycii (lee-chee), gouqi (go-chee), gou-qi-zi (Pinyin name)

The Plant: Goji berries, or lycium, are native to China and other parts of southeast Asia. Although matrimony vine is one of its other common names, lycium is actually a spiny shrub, not a vine. The ten-foot long, arching branches are, however, reminiscent of a vine. The pale rose-colored flowers develop into red, pointed fruits or berries.

Goji berries are found in the wild, growing in sunny areas with dry soils at high elevations. Where cultivated, goji berries prefer a cool climate and sandy soils. But in the wild they're found growing in sunny areas, at high elevations, in dry soil. It has become naturalized in the Eastern half of the United States and across northern Europe. Much of the cultivation of goji is done in China in the Ningxia province and east of Beijing.

The berries of goji are juicy and red-orange when ripe in late summer or early fall. They're harvested and then spread thinly on mats to dry. The fruits bruise easily, turning black where they are damaged, so they must be handled carefully to maintain the desired red color.

Constituents of Note: Carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, with zeaxanthin, a yellow pigment, account for up to one half of the carotenoid content of lycium berries. Also present are about 5% polysaccharides and up to 1% of betaine, an alkaloid found in milk thistle and beets (from which it gets its name).

Goji Berries, Whole (Gou Qi Zi)

Goji Berries, Whole
  • Brand: Frontier Bulk
    Botanical Name: Lycium barbarum Mill.
    Safety Info: Not to be used during pregnancy.
    Ingredients: Goji berries whole, sodium sulfite
    Origin: China
    Kosher: Kosher
    Size: 16 oz
    Package: Foil Bag
    Introduction Date: 1988-11-01
    Supplement Facts
    Serving Size 1 tsp
    Servings About 172
    Amount per % Daily
    Serving Value
    Sodium 10mg <1%
    Total Carbohydrate 2g <1%*
    Dietary Fiber <1g 3%*
    Sugar 1g **
    Goji, whole (berries) 2.6g **
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
    ** Daily Value not established.

    Common Name: Goji
    Plant Part: Berry
    Cut: Whole
    Bar Code: 0-89836-00894-7
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