GOJI, LYCIUM BARBARUM
Goji, the fruit of longevity
Goji has ancient origins, legend sais that in the 7th century AD. in the Himalayan mountains, in a Buddhist temple, there were plants whose ripe berries fell into the well. The monks who drank that water daily lived in excellent health and for a very long time …
At the beginning of the 80s, legend aside, new technologies really made it possible to attribute the reason for this longevity to the substances released in the water by the goji berries.
Lycium Barbarum is the botanical name of the plant that produces Goji berries.
It is a perennial, rustic shrub, native to the Himalayan regions of Asia, with a rather vigorous growth.
It could reach three meters in height and a slightly smaller diameter, has bright green or gray-green lanceolate deciduous leaves, withstands even intense frosts and strong winds.
From the purple flowers originates a small fruit in a bright red / orange color, pendulous, similar to cherry, but with an oval shape, which reaches full maturity at the end of summer.
GOJI: healthy contents
In addition to being eaten fresh, goji berries can be dry in the sun and when dehydrated they turn into a product very similar to raisins, which can certainly be stored until the next harvest, without losing their properties. Blended can be mixed with other drinks or doughs to give them its distinctive flavor.
A research carried out in 1999 in Boston at Tufts Univerity, established a score for food taking into consideration the “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity”, known by the acronym ORAC: the higher the antioxidant power of the food, the higher the ORAC score assigned.
Foods such as carrot have a content of 300 ORAC units, 2,500 spinach, 2,650 blackberries, 3,750 blueberries, 10,500 pomegranate, 30,000 goji berries per unit of measurement.
We know that antioxidants fight free radicals which are responsible for the aging of cells and that the daily requirement to keep our mind and body active and young has been estimated at 5,000 ORAC units.
It is not only the antioxidants that are present in such a massive form: ascorbic acid, the common vitamin C, is also 500 times higher than that in oranges, it contains more beta-carotene than carrots, per unit of measurement.
There are also other vitamins: B1, B2, B6, E, many amino acids, more than twenty trace elements.
It has been found that it controls cholesterol, improves the immune system and much more.
- has anti-inflammatory properties
- improves vision
- stimulates the immune system
- stimulates metabolism
- improves intestinal function
- increases energy level, reducing the sense of fatigue and improving recovery after exertion
- improves sleep and memory
- reduces cholesterol
- protects from UV rays
- regulates blood sugar levels
It is easy to understand the importance of a constant intake of Goji berries. For its contents, I have highlighted only the most relevant, the goji berry can be considered as an important agricultural food, (see cranberry and Goumi of Japan) a few grams a day of dried berries are certainly useful to keep oneself as healthy as possible and youth.
For centuries in Asia, goji berries have been consumed daily by millions of people, so that from the areas of origin the crops have expanded more and more, reaching unimaginable productions.
In China, where they seem to be half of Asian intensive cultivation, it is estimated that the annual harvest exceeded thirty thousand tons in 2000.
How Goji taste?
There are several kinds of Goji plants, therefore you could find berries with very different tastes.
Some raw berries are very bitter, but for commercial uses only the sweeter are selected.
The dehidrated berries are all sweet, but check the ingredients, usually they have sugar addition.
Where to find Goji:
Goji berries are available on the market, both dried in snack packs, and processed into juices, almost all from Asian origin.
Unfortunately, phytosanitary controls in those regions are rather scarce, if not absent, and recently in the USA a considerable amount of products have been destroyed because very high levels of pesticides and fungicides have been detected.
I bought a seedling online, in 2 years it has tripled in size and this year was filled with flowers and fruit.