GojiPosted: December 30, 2009
Goji is actually a generic term given to various berries in the Lycium family that grow in Asia, where they’ve been consumed for centuries to supposedly promote good eyesight, agility, and longevity, among other benefits. Wolfberry is another common name for these small, red, tangy berries. There is no evidence to support the claim that they prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Other claims—that they ward off everything from cancer and liver disease to impotence and obesity—are also unproven. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, there is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of goji berries for any medical condition. Moreover, goji may interact with blood thinners (such as warfarin) and other medications. And as with some other food imports from China, the FDA has issued import alerts on goji berries for having illegal pesticide residues.
There’s nothing magical about goji berries—or “Tibetan” goji berries, in particular. They are healthful, but not the “healthiest food source on the planet.” All berries, including blueberries, are nutritious and high in antioxidants. Go for goji if you like it and can afford it, not in hopes that it will prevent or cure any disease. There’s no evidence to support the use of goji capsules.
Nearly as inflated as the health claims is the price of goji juice ($20 to $35 for 32 ounces), which is often sold through multi-level marketing programs. The dried berries are about $1.50 an ounce; fresh berries are rarely available here.
(source: UC Berkeley)