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Goji Berry
Overview
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are bright orange-red berries native to southeastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Goji berries have long been an important part of Chinese medicine, and have been used for enhancing the immune system, protecting the liver, improving eyesight and improving circulation, to name a few. They are perhaps, best known for their high antioxidant activity. Goji berries are now becoming increasingly popular in the west, as the secrets to its wonderful health benefits are being uncovered. There have been several published studies that note goji berries may indeed have a number of possible medicinal benefits. They are finding that the high antioxidant count may be the reason for the health benefits beginning to be uncovered. Studies are showing that goji berries may provide potential benefits against inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases, and vision-related diseases.
Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to:

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arw improve sexual function and fertility
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arw promote longevity
 
What is Goji berry?
The goji berry is also called the wolfberry. It is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub that's native to China. In Asia, goji berries have been eaten for generations in the hopes of living longer.

Over time, people have used goji berries to treat many common health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, and age-related eye problems. Goji berries are eaten raw, cooked, or dried (like raisins) and are used in herbal teas, juices, wines, and medicines.


Where it is found
Goji berries grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet.

Benefits / uses
Research shows that eating berries like blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries offers some definite health benefits. Berries like the goji berry are filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart disease. Antioxidants may also boost the immune system and lower cholesterol.

Eating foods high in antioxidants may slow the aging process as well. It does this by minimizing damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA. When a cell's DNA changes, the cell grows abnormally. Antioxidants can take away the destructive power of free radicals. By doing so, antioxidants help reduce the risk of some serious diseases.

Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may have anti-aging benefits. These special compounds help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease.

Some research suggests that goji berry extracts may boost brain health and may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's. Other studies using goji berry juice founds benefits in mental well-being, and calmness, athletic performance, happiness, quality of sleep, and feelings of good health.


Goji Berries And Antioxidants
The Goji berry has been rated number one on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale by the US Department of Agriculture. The scale was developed to measure the antioxidant levels in foods and, the higher the score, the more potent the food is at fighting the free radicals that damage cells. Goji berries achieved a spectacular 25,300 per 100g on the ORAC scale, while prunes, which came second, had a mere 5,770 per 100g. The berries have 2,000 more antioxidants and 500 times the amount of vitamin C per weight as oranges.

Improving vision with the Goji berry
As mentioned, Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s principal roles in the body is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light. In fact, it is believed that increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.

Controlling cholesterol and blood pressure with the Goji berry
Goji berries are believed to combat two key factors implicated in the development of heart disease, namely oxidized cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. Cholesterol becomes a health problem when it is oxidized by free radicals and attaches to artery walls as plaques. The body secretes an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD) which combats free radicals. SOD produces antioxidants to prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. Unfortunately, levels of SOD decline with age. Research in China has demonstrated that that the Goji berry can stimulate an increase in the production of SOD, thereby reducing oxidization of cholesterol. Goji berries also contain other antioxidants that decrease oxidation of cholesterol and help to control blood pressure.

Organ maintenance with the Goji berry
Goji berries can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and enhance the liver and digestive system function. The berries contain fatty acids, which can stimulate collagen production and retain moisture, resulting in younger-looking skin.

Improving Sleep with the Goji berry
Goji berries are a rich source of two nutrients, Thiamin (B1) and Magnesium, known to promote healthy sleep.

Boosting energy with the Goji berry
The Goji berry is an ‘adaptogen’, a term used to describe a substance with a combination of therapeutic actions. Goji berries are considered to be a beneficial adaptogen in Asia. The berry is believed to enhance stamina, strength and energy.

Promoting human growth hormone production with the Goji berry
Levels of human growth hormone decline as the body ages. This decline parallels physical deterioration, such as lower levels of energy, muscle wasting and a tendency to store more body fat. Goji berries are believed to boost the secretion of human growth hormone in three ways. The Goji berry is a rich source of l-glutamine and l-arginine, two amino acids which may work together to boost growth hormone levels. A polysaccharide in the Goji berry has been found to act as a powerful secretagogue (a substance that stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone by the pituitary gland). The berry is a rich source of Potassium, which is vital for health and longevity. Insufficient Potassium can result in reduced secretion of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.

Doses
The Tibetan Medical College in Lhasa Tibet who is the exclusive business partner worldwide of Tibet Authentic recommends 5-25 grams daily as being the recommended daily adult dose for general well being. For those with illness of those feeling unwell or with particularly low energy the The Tibetan Medical College recommends a minimum of 15 grams daily and up to 30 grams daily.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
There may be some possible herb-drug interactions with goji berries. If you take warfarin (a blood thinner), you may want to avoid goji berries. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure drugs.

Also, if you have pollen allergies, you may want to stay away from this fruit. However, when eaten in moderation, goji berries appear to be safe.


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