Goji Berry is a type of berry that is commonly found in the interiors of China, in the Himalayas in Tibet, and in Mongolia. They belong to the family of nightshade (Solonaceae). For thousand of years Goji Berries have played a pivotal role in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it was only recently that scientists discovered the health benefits of Goji berries.
Traditional background of Goji Berries
According to the traditional medical practitioners of China, Goji Berries are good for the liver and are also known to improve eyesight, sexual function and fertility. It also helps to improve blood circulation and increase longevity. The Goji berries are found in a dried and shriveled manner and resemble red raisins. They have a slightly tangy taste, which is sweet and sour to some extent. They have a shape like that of the raisins and have a similar chewy texture. According ancient Chinese practice Goji berries are eaten raw, added with tea and Chinese soups or consumed as liquid extracts. Goji berries are now available at Chinese herbal shops.
Constituents in Goji Berries
Goji Berries contain high amount of antioxidants, especially carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Zeaxanthin takes care of the retina of the eye because it soaks the blue light and acts as an antioxidant. The extracts of Goji berries help to prevent the expansion of cancer cells, lower blood glucose and reduce cholesterol levels. Various trials conducted on animals prove that goji berries increased anti-inflammatory immune cells which protect against bacteria and cancer. It is extremely beneficial for any kind of inflammation and therefore is good for treating any inflammatory disease. It also reduces symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and swelling. It increases immunity and resistance towards the growth of cancer cells. Of late Goji berry juice has become popular as a health drink. However, the side effects that come with regular intake of Goji berries have not been documented. Goji berries contain Vitamin C more than that of oranges and also Vitamin A. They also contain vitamin E, B6, B2 and B1. The Goji berries are also known to contain both germanium and selenium and eighteen amino acids, which is higher than bee pollen. They also contain twenty-one trace minerals (which include, phosphorous, zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, iron and germanium), beta-carotene which is more than that present in carrots and also linoleic acid. It also contains more protein than whole wheat.
Production of Goji Berries
Goji Berry plants can grow in any type of soil heavy clay, light sandy and medium loamy. However the plant flourishes in a well-drained soil of medium quality. The roots penetrate deep in the soil and are drought resistant. They grow as a thick bush almost eight to ten feet in height while the vines can grow as long as twelve feet. Goji Beery plants require regular pruning as this will help to produce better quality berries and give a good look to the bush as well. During the early summers, this plant is covered with small flowers, which resembles trumpet. The same plant bears purple and white flowers at the same time.
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