Have you ever heard of wolfberries or sometimes also known as goji berries?
These are really common in Malaysia, and most Chinese households cook with these.
Dried wolfberries can be added to savory soup and stew, braised claypot dishes, and even (pork bone tea soup).
The best sort to use is of course the organically grown. Wild Goji Berries which have the highest anti-oxidative properties.
Highly renowned in Chinese cuisine as an ingredient with great healing powers, nutrient richness, and antioxidant qualities, wolfberries lend a nice, characteristically sweet flavor to dishes.
Especially to pork and poultry and when you bite into them, they retain some sweetness and you will bite into some soft seeds as well.
These plants grow wild in parts of China and are also cultivated throughout Asia, the Middle East, North America and Britain.
It is claimed that Wolfberries improve eyesight and Chinese doctors have for thousands of years studied them for many medicinal treatments.
If you look into the chemical constituents of wolfberries, you will find that they contain most all of the amino acids.
More beta carotene than carrots, much more Vitamin C than oranges, and are also rich in vitamins B1, B6 and E and other minerals.
Many say it is the most potent antioxidant fruit! Wolfberries have high levels of zeaxanthin, lutein, polysaccharides and polyphenolics.
Which have been shown to improve vision, including the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Wolfberries have been used in China as a staple for many centuries.
The fruit or berries have been used by herbalists for ages.
Its roots have been known to have healing properties as well.
The tender leaves are edible.
It appears that the plant can survive extreme temperatures and can be grown in either semi-shade or direct sunlight conditions.
It grows best in moist soil.
Along with green tea and ginseng are known as ‘national treasures’ of Chinese medicine. But what about it causes many to boast that wolfberries improve eyesight?
Wolfberries are used as a tonic for the kidney and liver functions.
Problems with eyesight, particularly blurred vision, may be due to an imbalance in the liver and kidney which is why wolfberries are used as an effective cure.
It can be combined with chrysanthemum flower, Chinese yam and other herbs to replenish yin to improve vision.
It has been used in China to improve vision disorders such as cataracts, retinopathy as well as macular degeneration.
Besides improving eyesight, wolfberries have been known to boost energy, enhance the immune system function, improve circulation, and help with diabetes, cancer and other illnesses.
Longevity is the highest in the world in Ningxia, the region of China where the best variety of this fruit is grown.
So, if you see Wolfberries in the supermarket today.
Do yourselves a favour and pick some up for a soup later. Your family will benefit from its anti-oxidative, healing properties!
Health Benefits Of Goji Berries
Diabetes has emerged as one the major diseases in the world in modern times.
Controlling or preventing diabetes is absolutely necessary, as it can lead to the development of several other diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and ocular diseases.
One of the major health benefits of consuming goji berries is that it can help in controlling diabetes.
Recent studies suggest that the fruit extracts of goji berries possess considerable hypoglycaemic properties.
Studies also indicate that using goji berries to control diabetes will yield no negative side effects.
Cholesterol is one of the major reasons for the development of heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
This forms plaque-like structures inside the blood vessels and arteries that obstruct the blood flow.
This in turn causes the heart to pump with higher force, resulting in heart weakening, which can be followed by a heart attack.
For starters, cholesterol is one of two types. One is HDL or high density lipid cholesterol, which is good cholesterol, and the other is LDL or low density lipid cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol.
It is the LDL or the bad cholesterol that forms plaque and leads to heart weakening. Recent studies have shown that the intake of goji berries reduces high cholesterol levels.
In particular, LDL cholesterol levels are reduced.
Free Radical Scavenging
Antioxidants, as the name suggests, are a wide range of chemicals that react and neutralize the action of free radicals that are produced in our body.
Free radicals, if left alone, can damage our tissues, cells, cell membranes, and DNA over time, resulting in the development of various diseases.
Research studies have suggested that the consumption of goji may help in the reduction of medical conditions related to free radicals.
The antioxidants present in goji berry may also help in boosting the immune system.
Free radicals can also attack the heart, just as any other organ. When heart muscles are attacked, the result can be that the heart will be weakened.
Although this happens over a long period of time, it is still required to take precautionary measures.
Goji berry can act as a protective measure, as it contains anti-oxidant chemicals that can protect the heart from the attack of free radicals.
Recent studies have noted significant free radical scavenging in the heart by goji berry extracts.
The health benefits of goji berry also include general well-being and a healthy body.
Results of a study conducted suggest that consumption of goji berry enhance and improve gastrointestinal functions and reduce stress and fatigue.
It also improves neurological and psychological performance as well.
Goji berry has not only been eaten as food; the Chinese also used it to treat cancer in their traditional medicine.
Scientific investigations into goji berry fruit extracts revealed various anti-cancerous properties.
They were tested on human cancer cells, which showed considerable control over the growth of cancer cells.
Apoptosis, or the sudden death of cells, was observed for cancer cells when goji berry extracts were administered.
Protects Brain Cells from Damage
We have mentioned that unstable chemicals called free radicals attack our body from the inside.
Sometimes, they can also attack neurons or brain cells. The damaged brain cells can develop neurodegenerative diseases.
These neurodegenerative diseases can be effectively countered by consuming goji berry.
Goji berry extracts have shown significant neuroprotective activity.
The team that conducted research ascertained that goji berry possesses anti-aging effects and has suggested it as a preventive medicine.
Protects Liver from Damage
The liver is one of the most resilient organs in our body and it can protect itself from chemical, free radical, and physical damages.
However, this cycle of damage and regeneration can ultimately result in liver damage.
Goji berry, on the other hand, has been used traditionally in Chinese medicine to frequently treat liver diseases.
The extracts of goji berry showed free radical scavenging in the liver and protective properties.
Ultraviolet radiation is one of the threats that we are all facing, due to the depletion of the ozone layer in several parts of the world.
The exposure of the skin to UV radiation can result in skin damage and skin cancer in extreme cases.
We can reduce this risk by consuming goji berries. Goji berry extracts can protect our skin from damage caused by UV radiation.
Studies have shown that goji berries significantly reduce skin inflammation and immune suppression.
The antioxidant potential in goji berries has been attributed to this action.
Improves Sleep Quality
Some of the Chinese traditional uses of goji berry were to induce sleep and to reduce stress.
Research has shown that goji berry, when given to human subjects, improved their quality of sleep significantly without having any adverse effects.
Apart from this, easy awakening was also observed, compared to the control group.
Increases Semen and Sperm Quality
Goji berry has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an aphrodisiac.
Scientific studies on goji berry’s aphrodisiac properties concluded that it can reduce the damage caused to the testes and provides protection against oxidative stress by hydrogen peroxide.
Which can decrease semen count, as well as sperm quality.