What are the effects of drinking Lycium barbarum?

Black goji berries have been hailed as a health panacea, yet their true potential remains shrouded in mystery for many.

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When mentioning wolfberries, many people immediately think of the red ones (also known as goji berries or Fructus Lycii). This is an ingredient that is often found in traditional Chinese medicine, which can be used to make tea or in cooking. Aside from these wolfberries, we also have black wolfberries.

Black wolfberries offer a wide range of health benefits, but not everyone is aware of them.

The scientific name for black wolfberries is Lycium ruthencium. This is a nightshade plant that grows wild. Black wolfberries originate from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Western China, on the eastern outskirts of the Tibetan Plateau. This herb is known by several names, including Chinese boxthorn, Chinese wolfberry, and wolfberry.

Black wolfberry.

Black wolfberries are round, fleshy fruits. When ripe, the berries turn black. Black wolfberries are roughly 0.5 cm in diameter. Inside the berries are several round seeds. Black wolfberries taste sweet. When soaked in water, black wolfberries (aka black goji berries) can turn the water blue or purple.

Black wolfberries are rarer and are considered more effective than red wolfberries. Tibetan women have long used these berries for skincare, anti-aging, and overall health.

Modern scientific studies have shown that black wolfberries are rich in OPCs (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins). These are bioflavonoids (complex plant compounds) that are beneficial to our health. The concentration of OPCs in black wolfberries is considered the highest found in nature. Studies have shown that OPCs have antioxidant properties that are 20 times stronger than vitamin C and 50 times stronger than vitamin E.

When soaked in water, black wolfberries (aka black goji berries) can turn the water blue or purple.

Black wolfberries are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially antioxidants (oligomeric proanthocyanidins), beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and lutein.

In addition, black wolfberries also contain compounds that help to reduce the oxidation of lipids, prevent the formation of adipose tissue, and stimulate fat burning in the body.

The carotenoids and OPCs in black wolfberries work together to protect eyesight and reduce capillary bleeding.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that protect eyesight and prevent the development of macular degeneration.

The antioxidants in black wolfberries also have beneficial effects on the nervous system, protecting nerve cells and reducing oxidative stress in the brain.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, black wolfberries are sweet and enter the liver and kidney meridians. This herb is mentioned in many traditional medical texts, including the Ben Cao Jing Shu, which states: Black wolfberries tonify the liver and kidney, nourish qi, and are the primary herb for replenishing kidney yin deficiency; they are very good for nourishing essence and improving eyesight. The book Materia Medica states: Black wolfberries nourish insufficient essence, improve eyesight, and calm the nerves; they treat liver and kidney yin deficiency, blood deficiency causing dizziness, fatigue, seminal emission, eye pain, eye fatigue, and night blindness.

In terms of usage, you can use black wolfberries to make a drink (put black wolfberries in water and steep like tea). Each time, use 5 grams of black wolfberries with 200 ml of warm water. You can also soak black wolfberries in alcohol. Black wolfberries can also be used in cooking stews, soups, and broths.

Note that black wolfberries lose their medicinal properties if stored for too long.

Frequently asked questions

Black wolfberries, scientifically known as Lycium ruthencium, are nightshade plants that grow wild. They are native to the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Western China, near the Tibetan Plateau. These berries have been used for centuries in traditional medicine and are known by various names such as Chinese boxthorn, Chinese wolfberry, and simply wolfberry.

Black wolfberries are round, fleshy fruits that turn black when ripe. They are approximately 0.5 cm in diameter and contain several round seeds. These berries have a sweet taste and when soaked in water, they can turn the water blue or purple.

Black wolfberries are considered rarer and more effective than their red counterparts. They are rich in OPCs (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins), which are bioflavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties. In fact, studies show that OPCs in black wolfberries are up to 20 times stronger than vitamin C and 50 times stronger than vitamin E. These berries also contain protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially antioxidants, beta-carotene, lycopene, and various carotenoids. They are known to improve skin health, promote anti-aging, and support overall wellbeing.

Black wolfberries have been shown to reduce lipid oxidation, prevent the formation of adipose tissue, and stimulate fat burning. The carotenoids and OPCs work together to protect eyesight and reduce capillary bleeding. Additionally, the lutein and zeaxanthin in these berries protect against macular degeneration. The antioxidants also benefit the nervous system by protecting nerve cells and reducing oxidative stress in the brain.

In traditional Chinese medicine, black wolfberries are believed to tonify the liver and kidney, nourish qi, and replenish kidney yin deficiency. They are mentioned in ancient texts such as the Ben Cao Jing Shu and the Materia Medica, which describe their ability to nourish essence, improve eyesight, and calm the nerves. They are used to treat a range of conditions, including liver and kidney yin deficiency, blood deficiency, dizziness, fatigue, seminal emission, eye pain, eye fatigue, and night blindness.

You can make a drink by steeping black wolfberries in warm water, similar to tea. Use 5 grams of berries per 200 ml of water. Alternatively, you can soak them in alcohol or use them in cooking, adding them to stews, soups, or broths.

Yes, it is important to note that black wolfberries will lose their medicinal properties if stored for too long. Consume them fresh or within a reasonable timeframe to ensure you reap their full benefits.
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