The origin of goji berries is unknown. Goji berries have been used as food and medicine for over 2,000 years in Asia. The common name, "wolfberry," is often used in science. There is some controversy as to whether goji and wolfberry are the same fruit. Most experts agree that they are similar, but not identical because they are grown in different parts of Asia. However, the health-food industry has adopted the name, "goji," which may come from the Mandarin name, "gouqi."
The leaves, roots, and root bark have been used as medicine. Goji berries have been used for kidney, liver, and eye health. They have also been used for immune enhancement, male infertility, and anti-aging purposes. Goji berries are rich in nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Goji berry is being studied for eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, vision loss with age.
Data is still limited, but there is a growing body of research on goji. Some compounds in goji berries have been studied for possible anticancer, antidiabetic, blood pressure-lowering, anti-infertility, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, and immune-stimulating effects.

Related Terms

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Select combination products: Runmushu oral liquid (rehmannia root, figwort, lilyturf root, dendrobium stem, wolfberry fruit, chrysanthemum, and sticktight).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Asthma (Grade: C)
In traditional Chinese medicine, an herbal combination product that contains wolfberry, has been used to treat asthma. Further study is needed to determine the effect of wolfberry alone.
Cancer (Grade: C)
Compounds in goji are found in a variety of plants and have been reported to have immune enhancing benefits. One study looked at the use of goji with powerful immune-stimulating drugs in the treatment of various cancers. Further study on wolfberry alone is needed.
Cognition (Grade: C)
Early study suggests a lack of effect of goji on cognition in healthy adults. Further research is needed.
Immune function (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that wolfberry may affect immune response. However, further study is needed in this area.
Skin aging (Grade: C)
A combination treatment that includes goji berries has been found to have possible benefits for skin health and may reduce wrinkles. However, information is needed on the effect of goji berries alone.
Vision (Grade: C)
Goji is a popularly marketed product for vision enhancement. Goji berry contains many nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds are believed to help prevent age-related eye diseases. Early research suggests that whole wolfberries may help improve zeaxanthin levels in the body. A combination product was found to improve tear production. More research is needed in this area.
Weight loss (Grade: C)
Early study suggests that GoChi™ fruit juice may help reduce waist circumference, but not body weight. More research is needed to confirm these results.
Well-being (Grade: C)
Early study has explored the possible effects of goji on well-being. The fruit juice GoChi™ appears to improve some measures of well-being. Further study is needed in this field.