Benefits of the Chinese Wolfberry

Health

The Chinese Wolfberry has been used as part of Chinese Traditional Medicine for thousands of years. This is an all-natural herb that grows in Asia, with a long list of benefits ranging from improving eyesight, lowering glucose levels to prevention of disease.

dried chinese wolfberry

With a scientific name of Lycium barbarum, the Chinese Wolfberry fruit is a bright orange-reddish berry that’s about 1 to 2 cm in width. It is rarely taken and kept raw because of its non-durability in the natural form. Thus, for the purpose of storage and transport, the Chinese Wolfberry is typically dried when put on sale, or already processed to a juice form.

lycium barbarum

While there are studies done in recent years on the benefits of the Chinese Wolfberry on the preventing hepatic or liver disease, in addition to having antioxidant properties.

List of Benefits:

1)   Helping to improve vision

chinese wolfberry for vision
A study published by the “Optometry and Vision Science” on the effects of Lycium barbarum on Macular Characteristics and Plasma Antioxidant Levels, concludes that wolfberry may be helpful in raising antioxidant levels as well as prevention on hypopigmentation of the macula of the retina within the elderly.  This is after consumption of Lycium barbarum for 90 days.

Reference: http://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2011/02000/Goji_Berry_Effects_on_Macular_Characteristics_and.12.aspx

2)   Enhancing immunity and preventing cancer

chinese wolfberry to prevent cancer

Studies published in “Immunopharmacology” have indicated that the Chinese Wolfberry is essential in preventing the decline of the immunology system due to age. Thus, this means that the Chinese wolfberry can be effective in compensating for the reduction of antioxidant enzymes in the body due to ageing.

Additionally, research published in the Medical Oncology journal in 2011 suggests that the Chinese Wolfberry may contain anti-cancer agent properties.

References: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874106006775 and http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12032-009-9415-5

3)   Promoting Liver Health

A study on the benefits of the Chinese Wolfberry on the liver, has indicated that this miracle plant works well to reduce the effect of toxins on the liver. Thus, consuming the Chinese Wolfberry may be helpful in preventing liver failure in the long run.

Reference: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874111008415

4)   Promoting Heart Health

chinese wolfberry for heart health

The Chinese Wolfberry is also believed to help with heart health. The oxidized cholesterol level in our bodies increases with age as our enzyme SOD (superoxide dismutase) levels decreases. Oxidized cholesterol attach to arterial wall of our bodies, as we grow older.  SOD is needed to produce antioxidants that will help to prevent blood cholesterol from oxidizing.

Thus, as wolfberries help to increase SOD levels, this in turn helps to increase antioxidants that in turn reduce the oxidization levels of cholesterol in our bodies.

5)   Nutritional benefits of the Chinese Wolfberry

chinese wolfberry nutritional value

Apart from the major benefits listed above, the Chinese Wolfberry is also a natural source of the following nutrients:

Vitamin C
The vitamin C content in the Chinese Wolfberry is a good antioxidant source, essential in speeding up tissue repair and healing within our body.

Potassium
The potassium content is essential in maintaining the health of the pituitary gland that produces the growth hormone in our bodies.

Zinc
Zinc works hand in hand with Vitamin C as an antioxidant, in addition to other benefits such as maintaining healthy reproductive functions.

Manganese
This nutrient is vital for healthy skin and bones.

Vitamin B2
With Vitamin B2 essential for converting Carbohydrates into fuel, this assists in increasing energy levels.

Copper
Copper also helps with energy levels in our body as well as maintaining balanced hormonal functions.

How to consume Chinese Wolfberry

If the dried version of the Chinese Wolfberry is purchased, it can actually be added to any of the Chinese dishes such as porridge or soup, or even some of the vegetable dishes.

Another way to consume it, particularly in the west, is to eat them dried and uncooked much like how raisins are eaten.  This would mean tossing them into salads or combining them with bread.

Another alternative of Chinese Wolfberry would be in its syrup or liquid extract form. The dosage of these formulations really depend on the formulation itself and therefore, it’s best to refer to the packaging on the recommended dosage required for various health conditions.

Potential Side Effects

As with most natural herbal medications, there has always been a constant concern that these herbs may potentially contain toxins that are untested. Some of the concerns include atropine content within Chinese Wolfberries, but a study conducted by the University of Graz in 2006 found that atropine, which is a toxin, levels of the samples taken were far lower than permitted toxic levels.

Another side effect of this herb is its potential interaction with warfarin that is found in blood thinners, as found in some studies. Thus, those have blood thinners, as part of their medications, should avoid taking Chinese Wolfberries as a precaution.

In conclusion, the benefits of Chinese Wolfberries are numerous, but precautions need to be taken for certain prevailing medical conditions. It is always advisable to seek the advice of a medical practitioner on the risks of consuming herbal medications.

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