Goji Berry

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Scientific name: Goji Berry Lycium barbarum & L.Chinense

Family: Solanaceae

Common name: Goji Berry or Wolfberry

General Description

The Goji Berry began its long journey from China and arrived today to be cultivated in Greek fields. The plant has been known for centuries in China, especially in Tibet. Used in Chinese medicine because of its beneficial properties to stimulate the function of liver and kidneys. It is considered that rejuvenates and energizes the human body. For this reason it is called “superfood” and reputed to be the “elixir of longevity”. It tastes like raisins, leaving a small taste sensation of tomato or a combination of cherry, blackcurrants and cranberries. The fruit can be cooked or eaten raw. The Chinese make soup with it and wine. The leaves and shoots are eaten as vegetables. In the West, the Goji Berry is added in mixed nuts, in muesli and cereals or drunk as juice by adding water.

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Health Benefits

Has more Vitamin C than oranges.

Has more Carotene-B than carrots.

Contains large percentage of antioxidants.

Strengthens the immunity system.

Reduces cholesterol.

Contains 10 to 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine and 10 times more antioxidants than red grape.

Is used to cure asthma, allergies and cancer.

Gives longevity.

Helps fertility.

Strengthens sexuality.

Cultivation – Production improvement

The Goji Berry is a bushy vivacious tree that grows from ancient times in China, the Himalayas, Tibet and Mongolia. The cultivation of the plant is linear with planting distance 2.0 meters on the line and from 2.5 to 3.0 meters between rows. 200-220 plants per acre are planted. The amount of production after three years of planting may surpass 1 ton per acre. The tree height can exceed 4 to 5 meters. It is pruned in the form of palmette or cylindrically shaped in 1.5 meter height for good ventilation. The Goji Berry is resistant to extreme temperatures ranging from-20oC to +40 oC and thrives in porous, well drained soils with pH value 7 to 8. The Goji Berry does not need special fertilization. The soil should be enriched with microorganisms, zeolite and mycorrhizae for very good quality fruits. The enrichment of the soil with active microorganisms gives us resistant plants.

The economic importance of cultivation

The Goji Berries which are planted per acre are 200-220 plants. The minimum production is 7 kilos per tree. According to recent figures from foreign countries such as China and American farming Goji Berry can yield from 3.300 € up to 6.000 € per acre.

Uses – Product value

The fruit of the Goji Berry contains : amino acids , including 8 that are considered necessary , 21 trace minerals, such as zinc, calcium, germanium, selenium and phosphorus, vitamins B ( B1, B2, B6 ), more beta- carotene than carrot and the full range of antioxidants, more iron than spinach, vitamin E, 500 times more vitamin C than oranges ( per unit weight ), several phytosterols, such as anti-inflammatory beta- sitosterol, which limits cholesterol absorption and contributes to sexual vigor, ” beneficial ” fats such as omega-6, linoleic acid which are modulators of hormone function and have antibacterial and antifungal properties. More specifically the Goji Berry is considered one of the richest natural sources of nutrients. It contains vitamins, a number of minerals, antioxidants (25,100 units antioxidant ORAC Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity-American measurement scale) and amino acids. It is an antioxidant fruit that has over 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries (2,400 antioxidant units). It contains large amounts of carbohydrates, protein, fat and dietary fiber necessary for the human body. 100 grams of dried fruit contain 370 calories, 18 amino acids, 21 trace elements ( zinc, calcium , selenium, etc.) , vitamin B complex (B1 , B2 , B6 ) vitamin E and C ( more per unit weight than oranges ) 11 mg iron ( and more than spinach per 100gr), phytosterols and various fatty acids such as omega -6 linoleic acid which are modulators of hormone function. According to the opinions of nutritionists, daily consumption of 10 to 30 grams, in any form has multiple beneficial effects on the human body. It has anti-inflammatory benefits and reduces total blood cholesterol, helps the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and helps in proper functioning of the nervous system and muscles as well as the synthesis of enzymes, hormones and heals wounds. Goji Berry can also help in treating ulcers and constipation.

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The Goji Berry in International Market

Five tons of organic products with Greek Goji Berry are already monthly produced and marketed for baby cookies, diet cookies, chocolates, jams, cosmetics and juice. Greece’s goal is to be able to meet the product’s demand internationally and especially demand from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Arab countries and USA. The production of Goji Berry in Greece is of great advantage compared to the production of other countries due to microclimate of Greece. The cultivation yields products with excellent quality features and earlier fruiting. The products produced by the Goji Berries are organic, with no sugar and saturated fat.