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.
Zhu CP, Zhang SH. Lycium barbarum polysaccharide inhibits the proliferation of HeLa cells by inducing apoptosis. 1. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Jun 13. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5743. [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND: Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP), isolated with boiling water from the famous Chinese medicinal herb Lycium barbarum fruits, is one of the most important functional constituents in Lycium barbarum. In this study the effects of LBP on cell proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis in human cervical carcinoma cells (HeLa cells) were investigated. RESULTS: LBP could inhibit the proliferation of HeLa cells by changing cell cycle distribution and inducing apoptosis. In addition, the loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (??(m) ) was observed by flow cytometry and the increase of intracellular Ca(2+) concentration was detected by laser scanning confocal microscope in apoptotic cells. At the same time, the nitric oxide content, nitric oxide synthase and inducible nitric oxide synthase activities were also increased. CONCLUSION: The inhibitory effect of LBP on the proliferation of HeLa cells was caused by inducing apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. The results showed that LBP can be developed as a potential chemotherapeutic agent candidate against human cervical cancer. Copyright ? 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.