Goji berries have been known – and treasured in China for at least 6,000 years; nonetheless, they seem almost too new to people in the West. How could this noble fruit have remained hidden from us for such a long time? Reddish-orange oval and drooping fruits glow from the goji vine, reminiscent of the hue of the second chakra, for indeed there is significant light within this super-fruit. The reddish orange color of the second chakra is often related to strong immunity, making it the berry’s calling card. These days, Goji Berry fever is sweeping through Western health communities and now appears frequently in teas, juices, and other hybrid health drinks. The berries are sweet, said to be like a cross between a cherry and a cranberry, or a tart cherry and a sweet cranberry. It is a complex and unfamiliar taste for most people. Yet, most find it very pleasant. Dried fruits can be used like raisins and currants and added to baked goods and cereals.
The berry itself has been crowned a super-fruit, sharing this honor with others like acai, blueberries, pomegranates, lucuma, and cape gooseberries. All such fruits have myriad traditional uses and emerging applications that include and transcend ingesting these gems, delectable as they are. They exhibit complex, healing polysaccharide chains and contain and an array of nutrients, such as Vitamin C, B1, B6, and even protein.
People in the Middle Atlantic States can now grow goji vines in their backyards, as some varieties are hardy to Zone 5. An increasing number of American and Canadian nurseries are offering goji seedlings. There are many varieties, in fact over eighty in China. Several varieties speckle deserts in the American Southwest, though competition for such treats may be high and one must have a guide to help find in the vastness of such terrain. It is no wonder that the fruit is such a powerful adaptogen; it has modified itself to thrive in climates ranging from the moist to arid.
In America, “goji” represents a new moniker, as they have been commonly known here as “wolfberries.”
Something of a foundational cure-all berry in Chinese medicine, the goji berry is now showing up in topical skincare products, reminding of us an ancient secret – health is true wealth and beauty. Look for cleansers, balms, toners, and serums containing organic goji, as the berry extract actually nourishes skin. It enables cell regeneration through imbuing the skin with a feast of vitamins – and amino acids. Vitamin C, in particular, catalyzes collagen production, allowing skin to plump as wrinkles diminish. The complete nutritional array of goji berries works to detoxify skin. This can be a paramount issue because of all the environmental pollutants skin now encounters and absorbs. Skin needs to constantly detoxify and adapt. Many of the vitamins in the goji berry’s profile have been shown to be anti-carcinogenic. The berries’ lustrous orange skin and pulp convey the presence of carotene. Actually, the goji berries contain more carotene than carrots, relative to their size and shape! It is truly wise to feed the skin through ingesting super-foods like goji berries. Don’t, however, neglect to feed the body’s largest organ, topically.
In the tradition of Chinese medicine, the presence of goji berries in skincare products promises preventative care. Perhaps the goji berry will join apples and other more familiar fruits in the backyard victory garden. Let’s not forget to also make prominent space for goji berries in the botanical medicine cabinet where skincare lives and breathes a beautiful, green future.