Goji berries (Lycium barbarium), also known as wolfberries, look like scarlet raisins when dried and have an intriguing flavour reminiscent of extra sweet cherry tomatoes. Goji berries are one of the most nutritionally dense foods on earth; first used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote longevity, nourish essence (jing), tonify the kidneys and liver, blood and improve eyesight, it is now crowned first place in the ORAC anti-oxidant scale with a score of 25,000, placing it a league above other fruits (wild blueberries, for example, has 14,000 ORAC units). Goji berries contain plentiful amounts of carotenoids (particularly lycopene and yellow zeaxanthin), vitamin C, minerals and all 8 essential amino acids and is considered an adaptogen. According to Himalayan herbal traditions, regular intake of goji berries gladden the spirit and increase cheerfulness. Best quality goji berries are produced in Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai of China, preferably choose organic goji berries to avoid exposure to pesticides.
Growing up, the way my mum used goji berries was in a herbal soup preparations, but I discovered I prefer using them fresh and raw without high heat, such as blending them in smoothies, adding to trail mix or plumping them up in water briefly before using as a topping for salads. This also ensures the integrity of their goodness.
Category: medicinal herbs
Thermal nature: neutral
Organ network: kidneys, liver
Therapeutic action: nourishes blood; enhances immunity; improves eyesight; treats dry cough
Preparation: eat on their own; steep as tea; cook in dishes; infuse in alcohol