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Goji Berry Plants


Benefits of Goji Berry: Your Fountain of Youth?

Goji berry plants have been used for health reasons for hundreds of years in Asia. Acai. Goji. Are these berries different? Yes. Learn about the Goji plant, growing Goji berry and the benefits of Goji berry.


Goji berry plants (also known as wolfberries) are getting a lot of press - along with Acai berries - as a healthy anti-aging fruit. However, when people see all the hype it's always good to keep a little skepticism in your pocket. This article examines these berries in more detail so you can make an informed buying choice.




Growing Goji Berry Plants

Growing Goji plants is challenging: the plant needs full sun and a hot, dry climate. It can survive in hot and cold weather. There are a number of organic, specialty nurseries around the world (from the state of Utah in America, to Saskatchewan in Canada, to the United Kingdom, to India and China) that provide plants.

Once the plant is well established, it is easier to grow. Goji plants can grow in a number of different types of soil: light sandy, medium-loam, heavy-clay or a combination of soil types. Good quality soils will ensure that the Goji plant grows good flowers and fruits. The plant does need well drained and well aerated soil; this plant does not do well in wet soil. While the Goji Plant does best in full sunlight and a hot climate, it can still thrive in partial shade.

Goji bushes are a type of evergreen native to China and Tibet. In those regions, the berries have been eaten for hundreds of years. Local lore says they’re good for longevity, fighting fevers, lowering blood pressure, and improving eyesight.

Growing Goji organically is not difficult; you can find organic soil and organic plants at local organic garden supply stores.




Benefits of Goji Berry

Just like strawberries and blueberries are healthy, Goji berries do have antioxidant qualities. Modern research into antioxidants indicates that these components can help fight heart disease and decrease a person's risk of getting cancer. Additionally antioxidants decrease the overall effects of aging especially in the skin.

Sounds good right? Actually the Vitamin A in Goji berries is certainly good for you. The only thing that's uncertain is if the berry is actually healthier than other similar fruit and whether the health benefits of Goji berries transfer effectively into supplement forms. There's a lot of research yet to be done.




Potential Side Effects of Goji Berry

There are some indications that Goji berry may be counter-indicated for someone with diabetes, individuals on blood pressure prescriptions and those who take warfarin (or other blood thinners). The Goji may cause a negative reaction with these associated drugs. Beyond that, it seems to be a safe food for consumption.

** Talk to your doctor before you eat Goji berries, drink the juice, or take a Goji supplement.**




The Benefits of Goji - What Proponents are saying:

The on-going use of Goji in China (over 6,000 years) is certainly a pretty good selling point. Traditionally, herbalists use the berry for the following reasons:

  • Treat fertility problems
  • Increase sexual performance
  • Safeguard liver functions
  • Improve circulation
  • Support the immune system
  • Slow down the progression of macular degeneration

While the two published studies on Goji seem to imply that its antioxidants and vitamins do have positive effects, they did not determine if Goji juice or tea is as effective. Considering Goji juice is very pricy, if you want to try adding Goji to your diet, the fruit form might be best. The berries are somewhat tart and have a consistency like raisins.




Shopping for Goji Berries

You can find Goji berries at a variety of health food outlets, as well as online. Or, if you wish you can grow your own Goji berry plant. If you have well-drained soil, these are hearty bushes that tolerate some draught and thrive best in full sunlight. Those living in very cold climates may find the bush struggles with a harsh winter.

As the Goji Berry Plants grow, they can get quite large. It is recommended that the bush be pruned after it yields its berries.

Keep in mind that this bush doesn't yield in the first two years - it has to mature. Additionally you may find yourself fending off rabbits and deer who find the berry very appealing. Getting some lightweight netting helps somewhat.




Goji Berry Plants

Anti-aging and fitness products are in high demand these days. Many people want to feel younger and live healthier lifestyles. Unfortunately that means that you need to be an informed consumer and find out what products really live up to their claims.

While the berry has been used in Asia for thousands of years, it has not yet been thoroughly researched. This lack of research on the Goji, and the fact that most websites discussing Goji juice benefits are also selling it, makes us want to proceed with caution.

Goji berries will not do you any harm if you decide to add them to your diet (they have healthy vitamins and antioxidants). If you have any of the conditions mentioned under "side effects" or are taking those medications, it's best to avoid Goji juice (and also discuss supplements with your medical doctor before using). For everyone else - be realistic. Don't necessary expect the fountain of youth from this berry, just expect a healthy snack.




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Natural Soil Aeration

Soil with a good population of worms in it is a healthy soil. If your existing soil has plenty of worms then you just need to keep them happy while your vegetables grow.

Worms in your soil keep it aerated and maintain a functioning drainage system. Worms are, in effect, tilling your soil.

Worms do not destroy the soil structure or pollute the environment with petrol fumes and residues (as heavy machinery do).

By creating space with their burrowing, worms allow air to circulate, water to drain, and roots to grow.

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