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wolfberry from Wikipedia

Goji, goji berry or wolfberry is the fruit of Lycium barbarum (simplified Chinese: 宁夏枸杞; traditional Chinese: 寧夏枸杞; pinyin: Níngxià gǒuqǐ) andLycium chinense (pinyin: gǒuqǐ), two closely related species of boxthorn in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The family also includes the potato, tomato,eggplant, belladonna, chili pepper, and tobacco. The two species are native to Asia.


Wolfberries are usually sold in open boxes and small packages in dried form.

Defrosted goji berries


As a food, dried wolfberries are traditionally cooked before consumption. Dried wolfberries are often added to rice congee and almond jelly, as well as used in Chinese tonic soups, in combination with chicken or pork, vegetables, and other herbs such as wild yam, Astragalus membranaceus, Codonopsis pilosula, andlicorice root.[citation needed] The berries are also boiled as a herbal tea, often along with chrysanthemum flowers and/or red jujubes, or with tea, and packaged teas are also available.[citation needed]

Various wines containing wolfberries (called gǒuqí jiǔ from 枸杞酒) are also produced, including some that are a blend of grape wine and wolfberries.[citation needed]

Young wolfberry shoots and leaves are also harvested commercially as a leaf vegetable.

Medical research

Although goji is the subject of basic research to determine if it has physiological properties, lack of clinical evidence and poor quality control in the manufacture of consumer products prevent goji from being clinically recommended or applied.

Safety issues

In vitro testing has revealed that the tea inhibited warfarin metabolism, providing evidence for possible interaction between warfarin and undefined wolfberry phytochemicals.

Potentially harmful interactions may occur if wolfberry is consumed while taking other medications, such as those metabolised by the cytochrome P450 liver enzymes. Such drugs includewarfarin, or drugs for diabetes or hypertension.


Dried goji berries on sale in a market in France

Since the early 21st century, the dried fruit has been marketed in the West as a health food, often accompanied by scientifically unsupported claims regarding its purported health benefits.

Companies marketing the berries often propagate the unsupported myth that a Chinese man named Li Qing Yuen, who was said to have consumed wolfberries daily, lived to the age of 256 years (1677–1933).

Commercial products marketed outside Asia

The presence of wolfberry in health food stores and grocery markets is increasing in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) seed oil in a clear glass vial

Other wolfberry consumer applications include:

  • Dried berries (pictured above)
  • Berry pieces in granola bars
  • Yogurt products
  • Green tea products

Commercial suppliers have processed wolfberry as

  • An additive for manufacturing
  • Juice concentrate
  • Whole fruit purée
  • Pulp powders
  • Whole or ground seeds

No special conditions in the EU

In June 2007, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) published the results of its inquiry concluding that goji berries were not a “novel” food in Europe.The inquiry found that the berries were already in wide use before 1997 and had a history sufficient to suggest safety. The FSA is an advisor to the European Union’s European Food Safety Authority. Had the berries been found to be a novel food, goji berries would have required authorisation from the European Council and Parliament.

Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States

In January 2007, marketing statements for a goji juice product were subject of an investigative report by CBC Television‘s consumer advocacy program Marketplace.

By one specific example in the CBC interview, Earl Mindell (then working for direct-marketing company FreeLife International, Inc.) falsely claimed the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York had completed clinical studies showing that use of wolfberry juice would prevent 75% of human breast cancer cases.

During 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed two goji juice distributors on notice with warning letters about unproven therapeutic benefits.These statements were in violation of the United States Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act [21 USC/321 (g)(1)]because they “establish the product as a drug intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” when wolfberries or juice have had no such scientific evaluation. Additionally stated by the FDA, the goji juice was “not generally recognized as safe and effective for the referenced conditions” and therefore must be treated as a “new drug” under Section 21(p) of the Act. New drugs may not be legally marketed in the United States without prior approval of the FDA.

On May 29, 2009, a class action lawsuit was filed against FreeLife in the United States District Court of Arizona. This lawsuit alleges false claims, misrepresentations, false and deceptive advertising and other issues regarding FreeLife’s Himalayan Goji Juice, GoChi, and TaiSlim products. This lawsuit seeks remedies for consumers who have purchased these products over the past several years.