Goji berries, also called wolfberries and lycium, are a type of berry native to China, though they also grow in areas like Nepal and Tibet.1,2 These red berries grow on a deciduous shrub.3 Both the fruit and the roots can be used in medicine, often in dried form.1
Goji Berry Uses and Health Benefits
There are many goji berry benefits and medicinal uses. It’s thought to be linked to longevity and have many health benefits for diabetes and heart patients.2 It’s even said to help improve sexual function and boost sperm production.2,4 Traditional uses in Chinese medicine involved using the herb as a tonic to increase longevity, enhance the immune system, and improve circulation.4 It may also help with dry eyes and weight loss, though more research is needed.3 Other goji berry uses include for treating the following conditions:
- Depression - Among goji berry benefits, it’s said to help improve mood. It may help in treating symptoms of depression.
- Common Cold - With its immune-boosting properties, goji berry may be an effective home remedy for fighting off the common cold.
- Liver Cancer - Goji berry has many health benefits for the liver. The fruit has long been used to protect the liver from damage due to toxins in the body. It’s also believed to have some cancer-fighting benefits and may be effective in preventing or treating liver cancer.
- Antisocial Personality Disorder - Goji berry is believed to help treat a variety of personality disorders, including antisocial personality disorder.
- Macular Degeneration - Macular degeneration is an age-related condition of the eye associated with vision loss and impairment in old age. Among goji berry benefits, it has long been used for eye health. This herb contains a carotenoid called zeaxanthin, which helps protect the retina and can help treat macular degeneration.
Goji Berry Side Effects and Precautions
Goji berry can be eaten raw, dried, or used in cooking and is generally considered safe in regular doses. In some cases, goji berry side effects may include nausea and vomiting. Do not take a goji berry herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as it contains a chemical called betaine that can cause miscarriage. Goji berry can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, so patients with low blood pressure, those taking medications for high blood pressure, or those who have diabetes should consult their doctor before starting on a goji berry diet. Other goji berry side effects can include allergic reaction. Avoid goji berry if you are allergic to tobacco, peaches, tomatoes, or nuts.3