Our bodies need a lot of things to keep them…
Today Vine Vera continues our series on various fruit extracts for health, wellness, longevity, and skincare. The “superfruits” we’re looking at belong to a class of foods known for their high concentrations of compounds—like antioxidants—that promote overall health and wellbeing. Today, we look at a tasty red Chinese berry known as “Goji,” and its potential uses for both skin care and general health.
After examining the North American Chokeberry and the South American Acai berry, we now turn our attention Eastward, and overseas. A thorny, shrubby plant with long, slender branches and large spearhead-shaped leaves, the goji bush—Lycium barbarum—produces bright orangey-crimson berries with an ellipsoid shape that make them look like tiny, old-fashioned Christmas lights.
The berries are generally dried before eating, though they are considered safe to eat raw. Goji berries have a distinct and unique taste that’s slightly sweet, tart, musty and a bit bitter. They are used in traditional Chinese medicine, can be steeped to make a tea, and have a number of culinary applications owing to their unique taste. Multiple types of wine include goji berries in the production process, including grape-goji hybrid wines.
Health, Wellness, and Longevity
Goji berry extract has many proposed benefits, including aiding with or curing high blood pressure, age-related eye problems, and fever. Sadly, these are only proposed benefits, and remain unproven.
Much more credible benefits of goji berry, however, are their high fiber content and impressive vitamin and mineral profile. Goji berries are high in vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin A. They’re also low in calories and have complex carbs that metabolize slowly and tend not to cause blood sugar spikes.
Goji berry is probably most effective for skin care when eaten as one component in a healthy, antioxidant-rich, fiber-rich, nutrient-rich, balanced diet. That said, it also has several proposed benefits when used as a topical cream, such as reducing the appearance of wrinkles and scars, promoting youthful, soft skin through antioxidants, working as a natural anti-inflammatory, helping the skin stay firm, and mitigating sun damage.
Vine Vera recommends adding goji berries to your diet for their many nutritional benefits. Using skincare products with goji berry extract should be viewed as “icing on the cake,” so to speak.
Goji berry has known interactions with a number of prescription medications. You should always discuss herbal supplements with your doctor before commencing use (and if you’ve already started use, notify your doctor immediately), but this is doubly true with goji berry because of the fact it is known to interact with prescription drugs, especially the anticoagulant warfarin.
And finally, as with many of the fruits in this series of articles, goji berry is an unknown, with researched ongoing but not complete, and no clinical trials to substantiate health claims. Its status as a beneficial supplement is in “maybe, maybe not” territory, and as such Vine Vera cannot recommend its use as a supplement.
That said, goji berries have many nutritional benefits, like high fiber, vitamins and minerals, and complex carbs, so they can certainly be a nutritive part of a healthy diet.