Goji is the jewel of Chinese medicine. It is a very powerful and efficient antioxidant that helps prevent premature ageing. It also supports vitality, sexual potency and at the same time provides aphrodisiac effects. It supports the immune system in general as well as brain activity; it improves memory, helps with headaches, helps reduce high blood pressure and supports haematopoiesis.
Wolfberry or Chinese Goji (Lycium chinensis in Latin) is one of the most nutritious fruits on Earth.
Goji fruits are red and they stay red even dried. Even dried Goji fruits are very tasty, with taste similar to that of raisins, cherries, cranberries and rose hips. The plant is in the family Solanaceae which also includes potatoes, peppers, tobacco or poisonous herbs containing tropane alkaloids (deadly nightshade).
Nutrient Content of Wolfberry
From a nutritional point of view, wolfberry is probably the most valuable fruit on the planet. It contains 18 amino acids which is six times more than bee pollen. Furthermore, it contains 22 trace dietary minerals where we can name e.g. zinc, iron, copper, calcium, selenium, phosphorus and mainly germanium. Germanium is found very rarely in foods. Its effects on human body have not been studied sufficiently, but it is undoubtedly very important and indispensable.
In Japanese and Chinese medicine, wolfberry has its place for its analgesic effects, it helps oxidize tissues and acts against cancer cells in the body. Wolfberry is the most abundant source of carotenoids (which also account for its red colour). Carotenoids are able to catch free oxygen radicals, support immunity, both male and female reproductive organs, heart, blood vessels and eyes. They protect from bad effects of UV radiation and they help tan during sunbathing. Using Goji also allegedly mitigates psoriasis symptoms. It also contains 500x more vitamin C than oranges in weight. Goji also have hepatoprotective effects which means it protects the liver and helps renew damaged liver cells. Furthermore, there are some substances (luteine and zeaxanthine) in the fruits that improve vision. And last but not least, Goji improves our mood, helps us against stress and improve sleep quality.
Wolfberry Growing and Picking
Wolfberry or Goji comes from Asia; it is a deciduous thorny bush that grows up to three metres tall. It forms long overhanging branches and so it also grows into considerable width. For this reason, it is recommended to prune the growing bush so as to form a trunk and a top. The bush blooms from June to October with small purple blossoms. Fruit occurs during the second or third year after planting. Fruits are orange-red berries.
In our climate, wolfberry spends winter without any problems and it is not very demanding in terms of soil and conditions. In order for it to grow well, it should be exposed to sunlight. Light soils (e.g. loose sandy soils) are more suitable for growing wolfberry than the heavier ones. Soil OH should be around eight. Wolfberry is not even demanding in terms of watering; doing it once a month is sufficient.
Pick the fruits when approx. 90% of them are ripe on the bush. Harvested fruits demand care; you don't want them bruised or damaged. It is not suitable to harvest the fruits after rain. If you want to dry the fruits, you should let them dry naturally, in half-shade at best. Place the fruits ca 2 cm apart and let them dry without moving them anywhere. Handling before the drying process is complete or drying the fruits artificially makes them lose vitamins and taste.
A bush related to wolfberry grows in our domestic conditions. It is called Lycium barbarum and it differs from Lycium chinense by not having healing effects.
As we have already mentioned, wolfberry is a universal medicine and a perfect dietary supplement. As far as its use is concerned, it always depends on the form you decide to take. You can eat Goji fruits fresh or dried, in the form of juice, capsules or powder. Doses are prepared depending on other factors as well, such as sex, age and weight of the user.
Goji fruits are not for children under 2.5 years of age; it is recommended to start best no sooner than at the age of 3 with a single handful of berries a day. Children older than ten can use the same amount of Goji berries that is recommended for adults, i.e. 30 berries - two handfuls a day. Using excessive amount causes digestive trouble. Do not use Goji directly before going to sleep, otherwise it leads to problems with insomnia. Do not use Goji if you often experience diarrhea. The issue of using Goji during pregnancy is controversial; no negative effects have been proven directly, however there is a risk of increased haemophilia in pregnant women.
Goji berries should best be consumed fresh. However, Goji berries are not available easily in our country, because the fruits do not last fresh for longer than several days. Solution: grow your own fruits. Goji berries are sometimes available frozen. After defrosting them, you can enjoy the berries as if they were fresh. Dried Goji berries are available easily. You can notice beneficial effects of Goji after several weeks of use.
You can even use Goji in the form of a home-made or bought juice. Drinking Goji juice is excellent mainly when you need to provide your body with a source of energy and vitality. Wolfberry juice is known for its delicious taste and it doesn't leave sour aftertaste in your mouth. You can also buy it in the form of syrup.
You can also add Goji berries into your favourite tea, with a chopped apple and a pinch of cinnamon. Goji will give a specific flavour to the tea and sufficient energy and a dose of beneficial substances to you.
Stimulating Goji Decoction
Making a Goji decoction is easy. Boil a tablespoon of Goji berries in 250 ml water for about 10 minutes. If you prepare a Goji decoction,6-18 grams of berries are used for daily dosage. Typical timing for the therapy course is one to three months.
Goji Alcohol Leach
Put approximately 80 g of Goji berries into one litre of 40% alcohol and let the mixture macerate for two months. After this time, add a bit of honey and use three spoonfuls twice a day, including the fruits; at best once in the morning before breakfast and during the day for the second time.
Goji Healthy Cocktail
Prepare 60 grams of dried Goji berries and 400 ml of fresh goat whey. If the whey is not entirely pure, strain it through a strainer to clean it. Put all the berries you prepared into it and put the whole mixture into the fridge and let it swell for at least 2.5 hours. When the fruits are entirely soft, blend everything using a blender. If you want a beverage without the seeds, strain it through a very dense strainer. Serve the beverage cooled. Although the itself cocktail is very tasty, if you wish to improve it, add some fresh orange juice.
Breakfast with Goji Berries
Muesli with Goji
You can consume this easy delicacy every day. Prepare 250 g of oat flakes, 50 grams of Goji berries, 100 grams of blend of nuts, raisins and almonds and 75 grams of natural cane sugar.
Preparing Muesli with Goji
Put the flakes and the sugar into a large pot and mix; roast everything until the sugar melts and the flakes gain golden colour. Keep stirring it and add Goji, nuts and raisins. You may also add fruits, chocolate, cornflakes, etc. to your taste. Pour milk over the finished mixture. Muesli with Goji prepared like this gains mildly caramel flavour and puts you in a great mood for the whole day.
Prepare 300 g corn porridge, 4 tbs Goji berries, 2 tbs raisins and 6 walnuts, honey or cane sugar.
Preparing Breakfast porridge with Goji
Make the porridge, stir it well and sweeten it with honey or cane molasses; apart from Goji, you can also add other dried, fresh or preserved fruits. Put the raisins and chopped walnuts in to your taste.
Colourful Cottage-Cheese Goji Cake
Cottage-Cheese Goji Cakes are very popular since it is not demanding in terms of money, time and skills.
Dough: 150 g soft flour, 150 g butter, 80 g very soft sugar, 1 egg yellow, 1 vanilla sugar, half a spoon of baking powder
Icing: 100 g very soft sugar, 500 g cottage cheese, 2 eggs, Goji, raisins, cranberries
Preparing Colourful Cottage-Cheese Goji Cake
First, make soft dough out of the prepared ingredients. Push the dough into a form previously buttered up or dusted with flour or inlaid with baking paper. Put the dough into the oven heated up to 180° to pre-bake for about 6 minutes. We also prepare the icing. Mix the cottage cheese with egg yellows and very soft sugar. Whip the egg whites into hard snow and add it into the cottage cheese. Put the dough out of the oven and let it cool off. After that, place the cottage cheese mixture on top of it. Then sprinkle the top with colourful fruits, i.e. Goji berries, raisins, cranberries, etc. You may also let the fruits rest in water for a while before using them to make them softer. Let the cake bake for another 20 minutes in the oven heated to 180°.
Home-made Goji Cookies
50 g oat flakes, 10 g dried apricots, 10 g raisins, dried plums, dates, etc., 20 g Goji berries, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, a handful of nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts or almonds), whisked-egg-whites from 3 eggs, honey.
Preparing Home-made Goji Cookies
Warm up the butter on a pan and roast the flakes. Gradually add chopped fruits and honey and let everything caramelize slightly. Put this mixture together with whisked egg-whites. Heat up the oven to 150°. Sppon the prepared mixture on a baking tray and bake slowly for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden and crunchy.
Other Goji Recipes
The mild flavour and great effects make wolfberry suitable for soup and vegetable stocks, for salads, cakes and desserts. It is also a perfect complement for main courses; for example, you can try to make Goji chicken, ground meat with Goji, etc.