Origin: Goji berry natively belongs to China. History reveals that the goji berry has been in use for over 2000 years now. It was used as a part of traditional Chinese medicine. There is a record of the use of goji berry in the book Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing by the emperor Shen Nong from China. The book imparts knowledge about the goji berry, its uses, and its advantages. This book is the oldest book on Chinese herbs and medicine.
Materia Medica is another book that puts light on goji berry and its benefits. This book is written by Li Shi-Zhen in the sixteenth century.
As per history, a legend confirms that a doctor visited a small village in China almost 2000 years ago and this village consisted of centenarians. The doctor observed the village people for some time and concluded that the people who lived for the longest time had homes with well attached to goji berry trees. Once the goji berry fruit ripened, it would fall into the well and release all its nutrients into the water. The residents would drink this water and cook food with it and take all the benefits of goji berry.
Goji berry is also known as wolfberry. There is another story regarding the origin of the goji berry and where the name wolfberry came from. The Chinese farmers saw wolves sheltering among the dense goji berry vines.
Most of the world’s goji berry comes from the areas in Northwestern China, where there are 200,000 acres of farmland dedicated to goji berry cultivation. Goji berry plantations are also be found in Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi.
Scientifically: Goji berries belong to the nightshade family, which means that they are related to tomatoes and eggplant. It comes from the Lycium Barbarum shrub. This shrub gives bright orange-red berry fruit.
The texture of goji berries varies from that of a prune or chewy raisin to a harder, gummy consistency. When ripe, these red berries are tender and are picked carefully or shaken from the vine into trays to avoid spoiling.
Usage: Goji berries are world-famous for its benefits and nutritive value. Dried and fresh goji berries are eaten as a snack food and food supplements, such as granola bars, yogurt, tea blends, fruit juices, and juice concentrates, whole fruit purées, and dried pulp flour. Goji berry seed oil is also available commercially and has several benefits.
Goji berry is also used in the cosmetic industry and has amazing skin and hair benefits. Goji berries help in improving eye sights and eye health. Goji berries have been proven to prevent cancer and fight from free radicals. It boosts the metabolism and the immune system. Vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids help in preventing from different diseases. Goji berries also contain beta-carotene, which improves skin elasticity and reduces skin irritation. It also prevents sun damage. It also helps in controlling blood sugar levels. It reduces depression and anxiety.
Below are some DIYS with goji berries:
- Take a few goji berries and blend them with a tablespoon of yogurt. Apply this mask on the face. Wash them after 10 minutes. This mask helps in smoothening fine lines.
- Boil a few goji berries and some quinoa together. Boil until thickens. Mash it together with hands. Apply this paste on the face for 15 minutes. This helps in tightening and lightening the skin.
- Soak 3-4 goji berries in 2 teaspoons of water in a small bowl. After 15 minutes, mash up the goji berries into a pulp and add some honey to it. Apply this mask for 15 minutes and then rinse. This is a great anti-aging and hydrating mask.
- Make goji berry tea by steeping 5-6 goji berries in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drink this as tea or use it as a facial toner or hair rinse when chilled. This moisturizes the skin from within or from topical use.