Goji berries (Lycium barbarum, wolfberry) grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family. Goji berries are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins. Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as Beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to: protect the liver, help eyesight, improve sexual function and fertility, strengthen the legs, boost immune function, improve circulation, and to promote longevity.
Wang J, Hu Y, Wang D, Liu J, Zhang J, Abula S, Zhao B, Ruan S. Sulfated modification can enhance the immune-enhancing activity of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. 1. Cell Immunol. 2010;263(2):219-23. Epub 2010 Apr 11.
In test in vitro, four sulfated Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (sLBPSs) with different degrees of sulfation (DS), sLBPS0.7, sLBPS1.1, sLBPS1.5 and sLBPS1.9, were added into cultured chicken peripheral lymphocytes and the changes of lymphocytes proliferation were compared by MTT assay taking the non-modified LBPS as control. Two sLBPSs with better efficacy, sLBPS1.5 and sLBPS1.9 were selected. In test in vivo, one hundred 14-day-old chickens were averagely divided into five groups randomly. The chickens except blank control group were vaccinated with Newcastle disease vaccine, repeated vaccination at 28 days old. At the same time of the first vaccination, the chickens in three experimental groups were injected with 0.5 mL of sLBPS1.5, sLBPS1.9 and LBPS at 4 mg mL(-1), in vaccination control group, with 0.5 mL of physiological saline, once a day for three successive days. On days 7, 14, 21 and 28 after the first vaccination, the changes of peripheral lymphocytes proliferation and serum HI antibody titer were determined. The result showed that two sLBPSs could significantly promote lymphocytes proliferation and enhance serum antibody titer. These results indicated that sulfated modification could enhance the immune-enhancing activity of LBPS, which there was a certain relativity with the DS of sulfated polysaccharide. sLBPS1.5 possessed the best efficacy and would be expected as the component drug of a new-type immunopotentiator.