Lycium barbarum

Lycium barbarum

Lycium barbarum, a plant with millennial uses

Lycium barbarum is a plant native to the Asian continent, as well as one of the two Lycium species that are commercially presented today as Goji. Compared to the other species, L. chinense, L. barbarum is richer in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Its fruits, known as Goji berries, have been used since ancient times in traditional Chinese medicine for their antioxidant and immunostimulating properties. Thanks to these characteristics, Goji berries are called "fruit of long life" of the Himalayan populations; in fact, the intake of Lycium barbarum, in addition to preventing cardiovascular diseases and tumors, leads to better concentration and to fight fatigue, improves gastro-intestinal functions and prevents senile and neuro-degenerative diseases.


Properties of Lycium barbarum

As previously mentioned, Lycium barbarum possesses numerous nutritional and healthy qualities. First of all is the antioxidant property - which gives the berries the name of "fruits of longevity" - able to fight free radicals, the main causes of cellular aging and neuro-degenerative diseases. Secondly we find the ability to stimulate the immune defenses, mainly due to the presence of four polysaccharides present only in this species (LPB) and vitamins. Furthermore, Lycium barbarum possesses anti-asthenic and energizing properties, which allow it to be used as a natural psycho-physical stimulant. The high content of carotenoids gives the berries the ability to protect blood vessels, improving circulation and vision. Finally, it is used to protect hair, nails and skin thanks to the high content of vitamin A, and as an adjuvant in slimming diets thanks to the anthocyanins that counteract the accumulation of fat.


Main constituents of Lycium barbarum

The fruits of Lycium barbarum contain numerous phytochemical constituents, responsible for their prodigious beneficial and health properties. They contain vitamin A and C in high concentration, vitamins of group B (B1, B2, B3), mineral salts (calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, chromium, copper, etc.), essential and non-essential amino acids , vegetable fatty acids, sterols, flavonoids, betaine and carotenoids (lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene). They also contain four unique polysaccharides in the world, LPB (Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides), responsible for the ability to support and strengthen the immune system. It is clear from these data that Goji fruits are highly indicated for preventing degenerative diseases, neoplasms, cardiovascular diseases, immunosuppression, night vision disorders, stress and fatigue.


Contraindications

The fruits of Lycium barbarum, although they possess amazing health properties, should not be taken in case of proven allergic reactions following exposure to plants of the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, etc.), as this species is part of the same family. The consumption should be avoided in case of taking anticoagulant and antihypertensive drugs, due to the possible interaction between active ingredients. It is also not recommended to consume it in case of diabetes, in order to avoid an excessive lowering of blood sugar. Due to the possible allergenicity and the high presence of selenium, it is contraindicated to take it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.



Video: Goji Berry. Lycium barbarum. Taste Test