Goji berries are considered to be an exotic super food here in the west. However, this unique fruit is actually quite common all throughout Asia. Goji can be consumed as a sweet snack or added to savory salads. It can be boiled into soups or broths, and it can be medicinally prepared as juice, tea, wine, tincture, or essential oil. This versatile berry can be presented in any number of ways and still provide the same nourishing benefit.
In Chinese Medicine, the goji berry is considered a BuPin, culinary herb, and is commonly found in many daily dishes. It is primarily utilized for supporting the liver, eyes, lungs, and kidneys. Goji berries are regarded as neutral in energy, with a balancing and nourishing nature. These little fruits are mildly sweet and used to tonify liver, kidney, and lung Yin. Goji are also great for the eyes, keeping them moist, bright, alert, and focused.
Benefits of Goji Berries in Chinese Medicine
Goji berries are tonifying and are most commonly prescribed along side other herbs for those with Yin deficiency. These formulas are used to address ordinary deficiency patterns relative to one or more of the Four Treasures: Blood, Qi, Yin, and Yang. Yin tonics are often damp in nature, and are used for hydrating the liver, kidneys, lungs, and stomach.
A deficiency of Yin typically translates to burnout, brain fog, lethargy, poor stamina, low libido, and overall fatigue. Sadly, these are conditions that are growing all too prevalent in our common culture. That said, it is important to know that no amount of goji, or any other herbal tonic for that matter, can replace a healthy lifestyle. These humble foods are only intended as a compliment to simple living, not as a remedy for poor habits and fast-paced lifestyle choices.
Goji berries alone have a neutral energy and have minimal influence upon the natural balance of your body. Balancing Yin and Yang is among the key concepts taught in Chinese Medicine. Eating hot or Yang ingredients might create excessive Yang. Damp and Cold ingredients, on the other hand, will contribute to excessive Yin. This is where goji’s neutral influence shines as a harmonizing supplement that won’t tip the scale either way.
The Five Phases
The Five Phases theory suggests that the overall nature of a medicinal ingredient determines the impact that ingredient imparts on the body. Goji berries are sweet in taste, which means they help nourish the spleen and supplement overall metabolic function. They are also bright red, and are therefore good for Blood and Qi.
Goji’s benefit also extends to the kidneys, which means they influence both urinary and reproductive systems. It further relates to metabolic aging, and one’s overall experience of energy and vigor. On a mental health note, goji berries also play a role in regulating our stress and emotions by harmonizing body fluids and Qi through supporting the liver.
How to Use?
Goji berries are used in the ripened form by removing the stem and letting them dry out in the shade like a raisin. Drying the berries concentrates their medicinal effect and makes them easy to carry or store. They are commonly thrown atop food, soups, cereals, or salads to add vibrant color and extra nutrition. They can also be boiled lightly along with ginger, chrysanthemum, and honey to make a delicious tonic elixir. You can even throw a few in your mouth to suck on and keep your palate moist.
Recently, goji has become popular as a super food, and people are eating far too much of this potent berry, ingesting handfuls at a time. Goji berries are usually given in doses ranging from two to four fruits only and are often complimented with other medicinal herbs to harmonize the effect. It would be well advised to speak to a nutritionist for finding the appropriate dosage for your body type.