Lycium / Goji Berry

Lycium / Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi)

Botanical Name: Western – Lycium, L. barbarum, L. afrum. Eastern – L. barbarum, L. chinense, Fructus Lycii chinensis.

Chinese legends claim that a Taoist monk lived to be 252 years old by including lycium berries in his daily tonic. Famous for aiding a long, healthy life and longevity, lycium is also known as an excellent blood tonic.

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Below is an overview of lycium / goji berry, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of lycium / goji berry.

How to take FULL advantage of Lycium / Goji Berry's healing powers...

Lycium (Gou Qi Zi)

JOIN ME in an exploration of the healing herb, Lycium / Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi). Explore the benefits and applications of Lycium / Goji Berry, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and so much more!


Western Name: Lycium / Goji Berry

Also Known As: Boxthorn, Desert-Thorn, Wolfberry, Barberry Matrimony Vine

Organs/Systems: Respiratory, Immune, Liver, Blood

Key Actions: Blood Tonic, Liver Tonic, Anti-fungal, Hypoglycemic, Neuroprotective, Anticancer, Antiradiation, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-aging

Medicinal Uses: Cancer, cleanses blood, supports liver function, supports immune function, protects immune system from radiation therapy, skin, stamina, cognitive function, fatigue, anxiety, poor liver function, cough.


Pin Yin: Gou Qi Zi​

Also Known As: Goji Berry, Chinese Wolfberry, Matrimony Vine Fruit

Meridians: Liver, Kidney, Lung

Key Actions: Nourishes and Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys, Benefits Jing (Essence), Brightens the Eyes, Enriches Yin, Moistens the Lungs, Promote Longevity

Medicinal Uses: Patterns of Yin and Blood efficiency, low back pain, nocturnal emissions, wasting and thirsting disorders, consumption, eye conditions caused by Kidney or Liver deficiency, dizziness, blurred vision, cancer, lower cholesterol, fatigue, stamina, low back or knee pain, builds energy, balance blood sugar, longevity, glaucoma, skin, enhance immune function, support liver function, anxiety, depression, stress, dry cough, cognitive function.

Basic Habitat / Botany:

Lycium is a genus of plants in the nightshade Solanaceae family. There are about 70-80 different species. It is a thorny shrub with small, narrow, and fleshy leaves that are alternately arranged. They have funnel or bell-shaped flowers that are white, green, or purple in color. The berries are red, orange, or black with a few seeds or many. Most lycium species are monoecious, producing bisexual flowers.

Lycium grows worldwide where temperate and subtropical climates occur. South America has the most species. The Chinese species, L. chinese, is native to China.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Berry, Root, Root Bark, the Leaves and Flowers can also be used.​

Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Neutral

Caution: Considered very safe.

Key Constituents: Berries – Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), Betaine, Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Flavonoids, Vitamins A and C, Linoleic acid. Roots – Cinnamic acid, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Chromium, Magnesium, and others.

History/Folklore: Lycium, commonly called Goji in China, has also been used by European herbalists since ancient times and was traded from the Far East by Romans. Pliny the Elder of Ancient Rome, describes boxthorn (lycium) as a medicinal plant used to treat sore eyes and inflammation. In the biblical Book of Proverbs, boxthorn is said to, “beset the path of the wicked.”

The herb was originally recorded for medicinal purposes in China in the Book of Songs, giving it more than 3,000 years of historical usage. It has long been classified as one of the fundamental herbs in Chinese Medicine.

The Chinese character “gou” also relates to “dog” or “wolf”, hence the plant is also called “wolfberry.” In Southern China, wolves were viewed as bad omens, but in Northern China, they were considered sacred and the image was often used on weapons, amulets, and furniture. The wolf was considered to be a symbol of manhood, courage, teamwork, and strength, all characteristics associated with the healing powers of lycium.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, lycium has long been used to treat male infertility. It is famous as a Liver and Blood (Xue) tonic. The herb increases vitality and brightens the eyes, especially improving night vision. They are known to calm the heart and nervous system as well as strengthen the legs, as they improve blood circulation. The berries also help cells to absorb more nutrients from the system.

Lycium roots are used to Cool Hot Blood, thereby lowering fevers, and improving irritability and sweating. The roots are also used in China to help treat people suffering from hypertension. They can be harvested at any time of year, but generally, they are harvested in the spring.

Good quality lycium berries are bright red, tender, and sweet. If they have turned brown or brownish-red, are dried up, or are not sweet, they are too old.

A combination of lycium and schizandra is one of China’s most famous tonics. In folk medicine, 10g of this herb can be steamed and taken 2-3 times daily to treat wasting and thirsting disorders, such as diabetes or tuberculosis Many people will squeeze the juice out of the lycium berries using this concentrated liquid as a drink.

Lycium contains Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), which are considered to be the plant’s active anti-aging compounds. These compounds, in conjunction with the plant’s other constituents, collectively contain a variety of pharmacological functions including immunoregulative, anti-apoptotic activities, and reducing DNA damage that can help to counter the impact of aging. The LBPs, found in Lycium, are natural amino acids that help counter oxidative stress and aid immune system function.

Lycium berries contain some of the highest levels of beta-carotene found in edible plants.

As lycium is neither hot nor cold, it can be used to treat both hot and cold conditions without further exasperating either condition.

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Did you know?

Eye Treatment

The Chinese tonic, Fructus Lycii (Gou Qi Zi), is made from the fruit of several species of lycium and is used as a supplement, to treat the eyes.


Tree of the Jews

In the Muslim text, Sahih Muslim, lycium is described as “the tree of the Jews,” as the plant hid Jews running from persecution.

Fun fact!

Brighten Your Spirit

In China, it is said that lycium brightens the spirit.

Take FULL advantage of Lycium / Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi)!

Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.

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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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