Goji: The Himalayan Health Secret

Here in the United States, goji berries seem to be the current big thing in health foods. You can buy goji in a number of forms from dried berries through to juices and tinctures. But exactly what are goji berries?

The term goji berry refers to the Chinese wolfberry Lycium barbarum. The barbarum variety is usually associated with Tibet and the Himalayan regions. Small, red and oblong shaped, the plants grow like bushes with vines that reach over 15 feet with rich and sweet flavor.

There is an incredible story in which has made Goji berries even more popular in China in the past century. One man, Li Qing Yuen, is said to have lived to be 252 years old and his life span has been verified by modern scholars. Born in 1678 in the mountainous southwest of China, he was a practicing herbalist, well known for his amazing vigor and excellent health. When he was around fifty years old, while out on a hike, he met a very old man who, in spite of his venerable old age, could out-walk Li. Li inquired the old sage's secret, and was told that if every day he consumed a handful of goji berries, he would soon attain a new standard of health. Li did just that and continued to consume goji berries until he was over one hundred and thirty years old.

Though Li Qing Yuen's case is rare, in that it has been reasonably authenticated by both Eastern and Western scholars, tradition is rich in the Orient in the lore of Taoists living to ages unimaginable by us. It is well known that among the Chinese population, the Taoists far outlived all other people, and goji berries have played a major part in Taoist health practice since ancient times.

If there is one fact to remember about these energy enhancing super berries, it is that they contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C than oranges, making them the richest vitamin C source on earth. Besides, goji berries are also rich in antioxidants, essential amino acids, trace minerals, vitamins and other immune system fortifying elements. It's worth noting that some of these nutrients might by reduced or even eliminated by processing methods.

Goji has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for many centuries. TCM believes the goji berry can enhance immune system function, help eyesight, protect the liver, boost sperm production, and improve circulation and longevity.

As a food, dried goji berries may be eaten raw or cooked. Their taste is somewhat similar to that of raisins. Dried goji berry is an ingredient often used in Chinese soups. Young shoots and leaves of the Lycium bush are also grown commercially as a leaf vegetable. The berries are regularly drunk in tea, and a wine containing goji berries (called gouqi jiu; 枸杞酒) is also produced.

Source: http://www.totalrawfood.com/