The Health Benefits of Goji Berries

Himalayan Goji Berries

Himalayan Goji Berries

Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth. They are a member of the nightshade family (Solonaceae), which contains many other common vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper, as well as some poisonous plants like belladonna and deadly nightshade. Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, the goji berry is now grown in many other countries as well.


Although they have only been introduced in Western countries in recent years, gojis have been used for thousands of years in Tibet and China, both as a culinary ingredient and medicinally.

Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.

This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system. It’s no wonder then, that in traditional Chinese medicine they are renowned for increasing strength and longevity.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the goji is said to act on the Kidney and Liver meridians to help with lower back pain, dizziness and eyesight. They are most often consumed raw, made into a tea or extract, or as an ingredient in soups.

Gojis are most commonly available in dried form, and make a great snack eaten as is, added to trail mix, muesli or oatmeal. They can also be soaked for a couple of hours in enough water to cover them. Then the soak water can be drained off and makes a delicious drink, or both water and berries added to smoothies.

Please note that there can be adverse interactions if you consume goji berries while also taking medication for diabetes, or blood pressure, or take the blood thinner warfarin. So be sure to consult your health care provider if that is the case.

Gojis can often be found in Asian food stores, but most of these come from the commercial growing regions of China and Tibet, and contain high levels of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Even some brands which claim to be organic may not be, so be sure to source your goji berries from a reputable source.

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DISCLAIMER: The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information and statements found here are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your medical professional.

27 Responses to “The Health Benefits of Goji Berries”

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  1. When I saw this post, my initial thought was – “Here we go, a pitch to buy some juice or something.” Boy was I wrong. Good information. I wonder if Goji berries grown everywhere have the same level of minerals? In NC where I live we have the lowest levels of selenium in our bodies because it is not in the soil here. I encourage my patients to eat foods that are rich in selenium or to take supplements. What is your thought?
    .-= Bruce “the Mid-Life Mentor”´s last blog ..Why am I gaining weight during Menopause? =-.

    • Eat Healthy says:

      @Bruce Ha, I didn’t think of that when I posted the article, but yeah those multi-level marketers have a lot to answer for… they really taint things for many people with their pushy, hyped up style of marketing don’t they? I’m glad you mentioned juice, it reminds me I have a recipe (if you can call it that, it’s so simple it may no qualify as a recipe) for goji juice… it will only cost you $53 a bottle. ;-) Just kidding! But I must post that soon, as well as some more recipes using gojis.

      We are about to start growing Goji Berries here in New Zealand. I’ve seen bushes being sold, but I’m going to grow mine from seed. Like you in NC, we also have very low levels of selenium (among other things) in the soil. But here’s what I believe, you put the nutrients into the soil and the plant will take them up and convert them to organic minerals that our bodies can assimilate really easily. I think seaweed and especially sea mineral agriculture are the best ways to do that. Have a look at these two books, you may be able to find other information by and about the authors free on the web too.

      Fertility from the Ocean Deep

      Sea Energy Agriculture

      This is what I’m researching and experimenting with at the moment. I’ll be posting more about it when I’ve learned a bit more, but I truly believe sea mineral agriculture is the thing that can save us and restore the damage that we’ve done to the soil. The full sea minerals are the best, but if you can only get seaweed extracts it’s the next best thing. All the minerals we need are in the ocean. Since the oceans once covered the planet, they were also in the soil. But time, rain and (especially) short-sighted, greedy commercial farming practices have depleted the soils of the full spectrum of minerals. In every way you can, just feeding the soil (naturally, organically) will help. At the very least it helps to restore the micro-organisms that are an essential part of the process.

      I’ve also read a bit about people using volcanic rock dust to do something similar, but I don’t think the mineral spectrum is so complete in volcanic rock.

      You might also be interested to have a look at this site: 2 Women On 2 Acres, perhaps sign up to the newsletter. Very soon there will be a free guide on Fertilizer Teas released, and if you’re on the newsletter list you’ll be notified. It covers all kinds of things, comfrey tea, chamomile tea, manure tea, as well as seaweed tea – basically natural, liquid fertilizers that you can make quite inexpensively and what each one is used for and how to make them. I did the proof reading, so I’ve already read it. It’s good!

      Just a note on selenium – you probably know this already, but for those who don’t, Brazil Nuts are the highest source of selenium. Personally I stay away from supplements, I think they often do more damage than good. There are good natural sources of everything we need. It really helps if you grow your own vegies organically, and use heirloom seeds (not the F1 hybrids) the difference in taste and I suspect nutrition is quite pronounced.

      • MERCY ISAAC says:

        I WILL RECOMMEND YOU TO USE ‘AZOMITE’ IT IS A NATURAL TRACE ELEMENT SOIL RE-MINERALIZING SUPPLEMENT.IT IS MINED IN UTAH,IN THE USA.IT CONTAINS MORE THAN 67 TRACE ELEMENTS AND MINERALS.IT IS FDA AND OMRI CERTIFIED.

  2. Hi Donna,
    I’ve never heard of Goji berries. How interesting…I probably won’t be rushing out to buy any, but I am interested in your post on quinoa. I was just looking for info on quinoa today! Fantastic coincidence.

    Every week I do a blog carnival called “staying young – from the inside out”. I’ll attach a link so you can take a look. Your posts would fit in beautifully. I publish on Sundays. A new one will be out tomorrow. You send in a link thru blogcarnival dotcom

    I think you’ll digg it. lol! blogger humor :)

    I see my buddy, Bruce left a comment too!
    .-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..Are You Creative, Fun and Interesting? How to Stay Young – from the inside out =-.

    • Eat Healthy says:

      @Cheryl how serendipitous, this week I’ve been looking for blog carnivals and contests to participate in (for the first time, I’ve not done anything like that before). Thanks for letting me know about it. I’d love to participate. I need to set reminders in my calendar though, There was one I found for Fridays and I completely forgot about it. I may miss this Sunday… it’s Sunday here in NZ now and I’m about ready for bed after staying up way too late last night working on my blog.

      Quinoa is great, I love it. I love rice, but quinoa is even better. And it cooks so quickly. It’s almost like couscous with the health benefits of brown rice plus! It’s really nice sprouted too. Have you tried the different colors? I’ve found white, red and black (really a very dark purple) quinoa. I have heard that the nutritional value differs slightly between the colors, I’m sure that white is the least nutritious, red is better and black is the best because of the anthocyanins that would make the color.

      Haha, love the blogger joke! That must be the first blogger joke I’ve ever heard.

  3. Evelyn says:

    This is a very informative post. I haven’t had Gogi berries in a while and your post reminded me how powerful these little berries are. Take care!

  4. Wallace Gordon Dickson says:

    Thanks for the information on Goji berries. I ordered some chlorella and some chia from an online supplier and as a gift they included a small bag of goji berries in my package. A nice surprise. But I had no idea what goji berries were good for, so I googled them on the web tonight and thereby found your site. It seems to be a very powerful super food indeed. I intend to consume them regularly in my morning green smoothies. Thanks for being there.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Wallace! I’m glad you found my site and found that article helpful. If the goji berries are raw you can also plant them and they should grow. They are apparently pretty hardy as far as climates and where they can grow. I have some saved from my last order of goji berries that I intend to plant as soon as I get my garden space ready.

  5. chris wee says:

    Gogi berries is very common used by Chinese, Korean & Japanese. It is safe at dosage < 15grams per day

  6. bailliebruce says:

    There are numerous Health benefits associated with Goji berries. These are one of the most nutritional dense fruit present on the earth. It includes all the essential amino acids and is loaded with vitamin C.

  7. danielle says:

    Thank you for all the good info on goji berries. i wonder if you could help with my inquiry.As my husband has kidney disease, he has to restrict his potassium intake, but when I checked the potassium level of the berries, one website told me it had 1600 mg per 4 ounces (4 times the level of bananas, then another website tells me it has not potassium at all and good for kidney patients. So my question is……….. wait for it…. which one is correct ? I would be very grateful for your help.
    Danielle

    • Donna says:

      Hi Danielle, I’m not a doctor or nutritionist so I’m sorry but I can’t advise you. You should ask your medical professional, or a nutritionist about that. I’d like to know what they say, if you don’t mind posting back. It might help other people with the same question. Thanks, Donna

  8. Michele says:

    I have just started using the goji berry in my healthy eating plan, one worry that I have does it stain the urine bright red?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Michele, no it shouldn’t be doing that. You might want to talk to your health care professional about that.

    • Eddie says:

      If your urine is only red when eating goji berries then it’s obviously coming from eating the berries. If your urine is red at other times then you should go see your doctor. Also, some of the goji berries that are brought into the USA have been dyed red and that could be causing your urine to turn red. Try rinsing the goji berries before eating them. If the water turns red then they are probably dyed. I know that when your urine turns pink after eating beets it means that your stomach acid is probably low. Another probability is that your iron levels could be low.

      Health & Happiness.

      • Donna says:

        I don’t think you can make that kind of assumption Eddie, unless you are a medical professional and actually examine the person. That’s interesting about the goji berries being dyed though. I have also heard that many coming from China have pesticides and other poisons on them. So it’s important to buy them from a reputable source.

  9. Purdi james says:

    I’m eating dark chocolate goji snack while reading the article. Glad I looked it up. Good information. Question about liquid fertilizer pertaining to low selenium in the soil. What are some items to use and how to make it.

  10. Rev Cecil Begbie says:

    Dear Friends

    Goji berries helped me to experience total healing from prostate cancer. I can therefore recommend Goji berries very strongly for good health. I have taken for the past four years since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and still take 3 desertsponfuls daily in the form of a smoothy consisting of 3 desertspoonfuls of Goji Berries+ 3 desertspoonfuls of yogurt + a glass of fruit juice. I very seldom suffer from ther flu because my immune system is very strong, due to the high content of Vitamin C in the Goji berries. the daily intake of goji berries helps to prevent re-currence of cancer.

    • Eddie says:

      Sounds good to me. I use them in my smoothies also. I blend some fresh made almond milk, with some frozen strawberries, blue berries, 2 TBSP of Goji Berries, some papaya, ground chia seeds, seeds, rice bran and a dash of stevia or monk fruit sugar. Very high ORAC value.

  11. Theresa says:

    Hi just wondering i am thinking of starting to incorporate goji berries into my diet i just wonder what is the reccomended dosage per day like 20 berries or 30 how many can you eat per dy safely also i have ulcerative colitis but am not taking any meds for it and as far as i know have no other issues is it ok to eat goji berries with this condition and will i see any improvement with this condition by eating them i felt hopeful when. Poster said it healed his prostate cancer please let me know what you think not under a doctors care at all u dont need to be a doctor etc just let me know what you think about it

  12. fruitbowlk says:

    I’m just tying them for the first time. Thanks for the info.

  13. Kimber says:

    Where do you purchase your Fiji berries? All comments talk about a reputable source, but no other information. Thanks in advance.

  14. Mrosin says:

    I wondered how goji berries interact with Warfarin and the other meds indicated. I read somewhere that goji berries can thin the blood, so I would think that taking them therapeutically would lessen the need for Warfarin, which is very dangerous and causes terrible side-effects. Does anyone know how goji interacts? Doctors have monetary reasons to prevent people from the natural choices, after all.

  15. Tsipi says:

    Where can one get reliable information about the contraindications of consuming goji berries ? Some articles state that they are beneficial for reducing high pressure ( for which people usually get medication ) while others state that the combination of berries with the medication can be harmful, The same about anticoagulants and pregnancy. The contradictory information is very confusing. ? Since berries are not prescribed by physicians, how can one decide ?
    Thanks for documented, reliable information.

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  1. [...] Goji berries are a nutritionally-dense superfood. Among other things they contain more protein than any other fruit. You can read more about the health benefits of goji berries here. [...]



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