L y c i u m barbarum

Marketed as goji berry, lycium is gaining a reputation as an exotic health food or "superfruit." It is actually naturalized in North America and Britain, known as the Duke of Argyll's tea plant, Chinese wolfberry, box thorn, or matrimony vine.

The berries make a rejuvenating tonic with a wide range of claimed benefits including improving eyesight and helping reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Lycium originates in China and has been part of Chinese medicine for millennia. Its undoubted health benefits have become something of a fad in the West in the last decade or so.

In Chinese cuisine worldwide young leaves and seedlings of lycium are used for soup, and the bark of the root medicinally for malaria and high blood pressure. However, it is the tasty orange- red berries, known as gou qi zi (or goji), that are prized.

In Chinese terms, the berries nourish and tonify the liver and kidney meridians, and address blood and yin deficiency. In practice this means the berries are useful for conditions as varied as dryness, sore back and legs, weak muscles and ligaments, impotence, dizziness, and vision problems.

What may be surprising is that this plant has actually been a naturalized plant in Britain since the 1730s. The story goes that the third Duke of Argyll, Archibald Campbell (1682-1761), an avid plant collector, was sent a true tea plant, Camellia sinensis, and a lycium, but the labels were switched in the ship's hold. The name Duke of Argyll's tea plant (or tea tree) for lycium stuck and was kept even once the mistake was recognized. Other names lycium has attracted include Chinese wolfberry, box thorn, and matrimony vine.

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Berry Boosters

Acai, Maqui And Many Other Popular Berries That Will Change Your Life And Health. Berries have been demonstrated to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Each month or so it seems fresh research is being brought out and new berries are being exposed and analyzed for their health giving attributes.

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