Wolfberry Benefits

Wolfberry Benefits

Otherwise known as goji berry, wolfberry has been used in Chinese cuisine and the traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Here is a brief overview about its benefits.
NutriNeat Staff
Wolfberry is the fruit produced by two species of plants, belonging to the genus Lycium in the family Solanaceae. They are Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. These plants are natives to some parts of Asia and southeastern parts of Europe. Even though these plants are known in many different names, like bocksdorn, Chinese wolfberry, mede berry, barbary matrimony vine, etc.; the berries are most commonly known as goji berries or wolfberries, which refers to the dried fruits of wolfberry plants. Usually, wolfberries are available in dried form only. Dried wolfberries are used for both culinary and therapeutic purposes.

Wolfberry Nutrition

Wolfberry plants are often found as wild perennial bushes that can grow to a height of around three feet. These plants have thorns on their stems, and the leaves are lance-shaped. Small purple flowers are produced by these plants, and the berries are bright reddish orange. The berries are ellipsoid and carry tiny seeds. A single berry may have around 10 to 60 seeds. Wolfberries are said to be highly nutritious, and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Apart from their medicinal uses, wolfberries are also used for making soups, herbal tea, wine, and beer.

The nutritional value of wolfberries may vary with the region of production, and the ripeness at the time of harvest. Wolfberry benefits are many, as these berries are rich in macro nutrients, like carbohydrates, protein, fat, and dietary fiber. Studies show that dried wolfberries contain 68% of carbohydrates, 12% protein, and 10% each of dietary fiber and fat. 100 grams of dried wolfberry amounts to around 350 calories. Apart from that, wolfberries are rich in various micro nutrients and other phytochemicals. They also contain essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, trace minerals, essential fatty acids, polysaccharides and monosaccharides, phytosterols, and carotenoids.

Health Benefits

Wolfberry has been used in the traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. These berries are found to be effective in controlling and treating a wide range of health problems. The Chinese people believe that consumption of wolfberry is beneficial for general health and for longevity. Even though there is no scientific evidence to prove its efficacy; wolfberry is very popular across the globe, as a herbal remedy as well as a super food, which is packed with nutrients. Wolfberry is a powerful antioxidant, that can work as a strong immune system booster. These berries contain high levels of calcium, and so they are good for the health of bones and teeth. They contain riboflavin in significant amounts, and this vitamin helps the body in absorption of nutrients. It also promotes the health of eyes, and improves eyesight. It is also said to be beneficial in reducing the risk of macular degeneration.

Being rich in antioxidants, wolfberries are believed to be effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Wolfberry root bark contains some compounds with antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is also said that these berries are good for the liver, for enhancing sexual function, and for fighting fatigue. Some people may find it difficult to digest wolfberry. In that case, its juice can be used.

There are some reports of wolfberry side effects, like interactions with some drugs; especially, blood thinners, like warfarin, and those prescribed for diabetes and high blood pressure. Even though serious side effects are not reported, it is always advisable to consume wolfberries in moderation. If you want to use wolfberry for medicinal purposes, consult a qualified herbalist.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.