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.
Tang WM, Chan E, Kwok CY, Lee YK, Wu JH, Wan CW, Chan RY, Yu pH, Chan SW. A review of the anticancer and immunomodulatory effects of Lycium barbarum fruit. 1. Inflammopharmacology. 2011 Dec 22. [Epub ahead of print]
The anticancer effects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have attracted the attention of the public vis-?-vis existing cancer therapies with various side effects. Lycium barbarum fruit, commonly known as Gou Qi Zi in China, is a potential anticancer agent/adjuvant. Its major active ingredients, L. barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), scopoletin and 2-O-?-D: -glucopyranosyl-L: -ascorbic acid (AA-2?G), are found to have apoptotic and antiproliferative effects on cancer cell lines. Moreover, LBP also contributes to body's immunomodulatory effects and enhances effects of other cancer therapies. It is not known whether there are any undesirable effects. Further studies on its pharmacological mechanisms and toxicology could facilitate a safe usage of this TCM herb.