There are a few herbs that have claims of longevity and immortality. Goji berries used medicinally first appeared in The Book of Songs over 3000 years ago in China. The poet Liu Yuxi pointed out that the Taoist monks who consumed the berry and root achieved immortality. Laozi, a Taoist philosopher said the herb compared to the magical dew made by the marriage of heaven and earth. The essence of all life.
Since ancient times they have been one of the most popular herbs in China. Originally used in Tibetan Medicine which helped influence Traditional Chinese medicine. People in the Himalayas have a rich history of using goji berries to aid meditation, helping them maintain health, longevity, energy, and stamina. Small villages throughout Asia have the highest per capita of elders that live past the age of 90. These are remote, isolated places. Their longevity has a lot to do with their climate, lifestyle, and diet. Eating an abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, hardly any animal fats, and handfuls of goji berries.
The importance of this longevity herb goes beyond what is written in texts. Traditionally it has been used to tone and enrich the yin essence in the lungs, kidneys, and liver. With a special affinity for treating blurry and diminishing vision as well as tinnitus. By reducing inflammation and protecting against oxidation. Overall, it protects our life force and improves our longevity.
All parts of the plant are used for medicine including the leaves, flowers, and roots. Other common names for goji berry are wolfberry and Lycium berry. The root resembles a dog so the Chinese name for goji, gou, means dog or wolf.
Read more about the powerful medicinal uses below and discover recipes for herbal teas specifically formulated for longevity.
Wood Element Tea with Goji Berry
I decided to add goji berry to the wood element herbal tea blend because it is a plant that can easily withstand harsh climates like Colorado. It grows abundantly in my garden. The tea is a specifically formulated remedy for the wood element or spring season. This herbal tea helps cleanse and nourish your liver. Strengthen the lungs + heart. Ground the spirit. Move stagnant qi outward to help replenish energy and vitality. If you want to have health like the ancients of these cultures add goji berries to herbal teas on a daily basis as a longevity tonic.
Goji Berry Quick Plant Profile:
Common Names: Boxthorn, Desert-Thorn, Wolfberry, Barberry, Matrimony Vine, Lycium, Gou Qi Zi, Lycci berries
Archetype: The Chinese character for “gou” means wolf or dog. In China the wolf symbolizes manhood, courage, teamwork, and strength. Which are all characteristics of the spiritual qualities of goji.
Scientific Name– Lycium barbarum L. ; Lycii fructus
Energetics- Sweet, Neutral
Spiritual Uses– Connects us to our spiritual path, combats depression, reconnects us to our passion, and soul nourishment, helps us face change and rewrite toxic habits, opens our creative force.
Organs/Meridians– Lungs, Liver, Blood
Parts Used- Berry, Root Bark, Leaf and Flower.
Dosage- 2-4 berries, root decoction 1/2 cup daily, berries 1/2 cup daily. Tincture: 1/2 tsp 3x daily
Origin of Goji Berries
Orgin In Traditional Tibeten Medicine
The Himalayas, the ridge that cuts through Asia, is between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. The land that boasts hundreds of peaks over 23,600 ft. Among diverse micro-climates of scrub forests, deciduous forests, grasslands, savannah, alpine meadows, and tundra.
Goji berries were found among the Himalayan mountains long ago by ancient people. Himalayan Traditional Medicine created the foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tibetan Medicine, and Ayurvedic Medicine. Many that live in this region have incredibly long lifespans of over 100 years. Goji berries are one of the common foods that they all eat that contribute to their longevity. After scientific research, we now understand why Goji has contributed to their overall health and why it has become a popular superfood.
Early recorded history in the Divine Farmer’s Handbook of Natural Medicine is from the first century. Even then they knew of goji berries’ benefits for tonifying vital energy while strengthening the capacity for physical energy.
Now, these little berries even have a 2-week long festival celebrating their healing and protective properties.
Origin in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Goji has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for more than 3000 years and was first recorded around 200 BCE in Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, an ancient book detailing the medicinal and agricultural knowledge of the mythical Chinese emperor Shen Nong. The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing is the oldest book on Chinese herbs and records 365 traditional herbs.
The Lycium plant was also a recorded component of the formulas taken by the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty ~221 BC and appeared in Shennong Bencao Jing, the first whole materia medica in ~200 CE. Prior to this, the use of Lycium in the mountains of the Ningxia Province was recorded in the Shijing, a collection of poems dating back to 1100 BC.
Wolfberry is one of the 120 herbs belonging to the top grade herbs. It contains remarkable health benefits. Long-term use of wolfberry is considered beneficial for strengthening the body, keeping fit, prolonging life, and easing life through all the seasons
Actions & Constituents:
Key Actions: Blood Tonic, Liver Tonic, Anti-fungal, Hypoglycemic, Neuroprotective, Anticancer, Antiradiation, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-aging, Nourishes and Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys, Benefits Jing (Essence), Brightens the Eyes, Enriches Yin, Moistens the Lungs, Promote Longevity.
Key Constituents: Berries – Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), Betaine, Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Flavonoids, Vitamins A and C, Linoleic acid. Roots – Cinnamic acid.
Trace Minerals: Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Chromium, Magnesium, Selenium, Phosphorus, Copper, and others.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Uses
Goji berry (Gou Qi Zi) nourishes jing essence, yin, and blood. Jing essence is the primordial energy of the body associated with the kidney-adrenal system, sexual libido, and fertility.
The kidneys, liver, and lungs are all considered yin organs. Goji’s are used as a Kidney and Liver Yin tonic to treat impotence, nocturnal emission, dizziness, and prematurely gray hair. It is a classic herb described in classic Chinese herbalism tests as a tonic to “brighten the eyes” used for blurry vision for deficient patients with visual disorders. Moistens the lungs lubricating a dry cough that is due to yin deficiency.
According to TCM an inflamed liver or any liver problem for that matter manifests in the eyes. So when you see eye problems it normally means there are underlying conditions in the liver to treat. Goji berries have a neutral thermal nature which means it is generally safe to use for cold and hot constitutions.
The roots are used to cool hot blood helping with fevers, irritability, and sweating. In China, the roots are often used to treat people suffering from hypertension. Harvest the roots any time of year, but they typically have more medicinal benefits when harvested in the spring.
Nutritional & Health Benefits:
- One small goji berry is highly concentrated with nutrients. Used to increase energy levels, build blood, and treat infertility.
- High antioxidant levels alleviate oxidated stress preventing free radical damage on DNA, lipids, and proteins.
- More protein than whole wheat, 19 amino acids including all 8 essential amino acids.
- Taurine is one of the amino acids that is a building block for human proteins found in the brain, spinal cord, heart and muscle cells, skeletal muscle tissue, and retinas.
- Twenty-one trace minerals including germanium which has anti-cancer effects and is not often found in foods.
- The richest source known for full-spectrum carotenoid antioxidants including beta carotene (a better source than even carrots) and zeaxanthin (protects the eyes)
- Higher levels of Vitamin C than oranges, vitamin E which is very rarely found in fruits (normally found in nuts and seeds), and Vitamin B complex are that are necessary for converting food to energy
- Beta-sitosterol, similar to cholesterol, is an anti-inflammatory agent, with cholesterol-lowering effects, and is used for enlarged prostate and impotence.
- Large amounts of essential fatty acids are required for the body’s production of hormones and for the proper function of the brain and nervous system.
- Cyperone is a sesquiterpene that is beneficial for the heart, circulatory system, and blood pressure. Alleviating menstrual discomfort with promise in treating cervical cancer.
- Solavetivone is a powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compound.
- Physalin promotes cancer-killing cells and can be naturally active against all types of leukemia.
- Betaine is processed by the liver to produce choline a compound that calms nervousness, enhances memory, promotes muscle growth, and protects against fatty liver.
- The polysaccharides are master molecules. They are complex carbohydrates connected to proteins.
- Used to treat both hot and cold conditions without further exasperating either condition.
- Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs) are plants with active anti-aging compounds. These compounds, in conjunction with the plant’s other constituents, collectively contain a variety of pharmacological functions including immune system regulation, anti-apoptotic activities, and reducing DNA damage that can help to counter the impact of aging. The LBPs, found in Lycium, are natural amino acids that help counter oxidative stress and regulate blood sugar.
Immune modulating action supports immune function, protects the immune system from radiation therapy, reduces immune system overactivity, which causes allergies, auto-immune disorders, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease, and improves response to pathogens. Anti-inflammatory- The anti-inflammatory enzyme called superoxide dismutase controls damage done by free radicals.
The carotenoids and flavonoids help maintain cardiovascular health and help us cope with stress and maintain psychological balance. Due to goji berry’s high iron content, they are used for anemia, and blood circulation in the legs, as a blood cleanser, and to support liver function. Also used in TCM for patterns of Yin and Blood deficiency.
Heart– The antioxidant properties help prevent heart disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL and increasing SOD, preventing bad cholesterol, and improving endothelial function, relaxing and opening constricted blood vessels.
Skeletal / Muscular System
Low back or knee pain. Strengthen the legs and increase flexibility in joints.
Energizer that increases endurance, strength and helps alleviate fatigue, and promotes faster recovery. Research has found that goji enhances the storage of glycogen, the body’s main energy source For the brain, it protects against cellular changes like the accumulation of toxic beta-amyloid in nerve cells. Protecting against neuron death that can lead to Alzheimer’s. As well as anxiety, stress, cognitive function, insomnia, tinnitus, and depression. Asian cultures call goji the happy berry.
Anti-diabetic & Anti-obesity- The master molecules help balance blood sugar and help with insulin sensitivity. Goji also helps the body transform food into energy more efficiently so it is not stored as fat. Increases beneficial bacteria in the gut. Improving neurological and psychological performance and gastrointestinal function. Detoxes the liver and protects against fatty liver disease. Long-chain sugars are also considered a good pre-biotic source.
known as an aphrodisiac that improves sexual performance boosts testosterone and improves male infertility.
Gum and Teeth help- the polysaccharides help form new gum tissues. Eye health -Helps with aging, macular degeneration, loss of vision, blurred vision, floaters, and night vision, protects the ocular nerve, and prevents glaucoma. Often caused by Kidney or Liver deficiency.
Moisturizes the skin by nourishing kidney deficiency that naturally comes with aging. The antioxidants and polysaccharides promote collagen production and heal skin damage, dryness, and wrinkles. Through purifying the blood and cleansing the liver directly helps heal the skin.
hot flashes, induce menses.
Enhances energy, focus, mood, and athletic performance by tonifying the adrenals. Improving feelings of calm and contentment.
Germanium and antioxidant carotenoids and flavonoids protect against cancer growth and help patients cope with toxic cancer therapies and they saw a higher rate of remission in patients taking goji berries. Goji also helps produce cancer-killing cells.
***The root is used to cool blood, lower fever, and improve irritability and sweating. And helps those suffering from hypertension.
Goji Berry Herbal Teas Recipes
Longevity Herbal Tea Blend:
1 oz of astragalus root
0.5 oz of goji berries
1 oz of tulsi
1 oz of gingko
0.5 oz of ginger
1 oz of oat straw
0.5 oz of hawthorn berries
Longevity tea helps contract cellular degeneration caused by aging. Counteracting oxidized stress and improving immune function.
Classic TCM Herbal Tea Tonic
1 part goji berries
1 part chrysanthemum
0.5 shizandra berries
Helps cool heat and inflammation in the body. Relaxes the nervous system and protects the eyes. Nourishes the skin and improves complexion. Add honey to sweeten.
Cooking With Goji Berries
The beautiful thing about goji berries is they add a natural sweetness and can easily be added to all kinds of different foods and recipes. Smoothie bowls, yogurt, oatmeal, salads, soups, and more. Even snacking on them will give you a boost of energy and stamina. Add them to granola and trail mix for an even easier way to snack. Or make goji berry juice with fresh berries from the garden. But to get all the nutritional value from these berries you want to decoct(boil) them in tea or soup.
Since goji berry is such a versatile and life-giving fruit it can be indicated for imbalances in all of the 5 elements. Because of the red color, they are an incredible superfood to eat in the summertime during the fire element. Their sweet nature nourishes the Earth element. Then is active in the Metal (Lung), Water (Kidney), and Wood (Liver) meridians.
Sourcing them from a region in China called Ningxia is recommended for the highest potency. and Di Dao (gown in their natural habitat. This is best to avoid excessive trace elements that have negative effects on our health. For the most potent organic goji berries, you can buy them from Young Living.
Goji grows best in rigorous conditions like extremely cold winters and hot summers. It thrives in extreme conditions. This kind of weather makes more stress-tolerant properties more bioavailable to us. The berries grow on a small shrub with purple flowers. There are 23 species in the genus Lycium. However, there are only 2 that we commonly use Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. Goji is part of the Solanaceae family. Also known as the nightshade family. Other plants in this family include tomatoes, potatoes, Ashwagandha, belladonna, peppers, and mandrake. Although the classic goji berries are native to the East there are several Lycium species that are native to North America. These North American species are utilized as both food and medicine by Southwestern tribes including the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi
Wolfberry contains betaine, which is a known liver protectant but can also be used to induce menstruation and abortion, so pregnant women should avoid using it because it has an estrogen-mimicking effect.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries are contraindicated in patients with spleen qi stagnation and damp accumulation.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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