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Wolfberry Fruit in Chinese Traditions

Aug 17, 2007
Wolfberry fruit is also known as Fructus Lycii in Latin. Chinese herbalists have been using Wolfberry fruit for ages. These are nothing but the berries of Lycium Chinese which is more commonly known as Lycium barbarum. Its roots are also found to have healing properties. Wolfberry fruits are the native of East Asia and Europe. You can find it growing wild on the hillsides where the climate is relatively cooler. With its growing popularity, it is also being grown almost everywhere in China as well as some parts of Asia. It is also found takers in the U.K., Middle East and the North America.

When it comes to its physical features, it grows in the form of a shrub and can reach over two meters. It doesn't grow very fast and its flowering season is from June to August. The seeds mature from August to October. The flowers of Wolfberries are hermaphrodite which means that the flowers have both the male and female organs. Wolfberry could be grown in semi shade or in direct sunlight and grows the best in moist soil. Wolfberry can easily survive extremes of temperature.

Wolfberries are harvested in the late summer or in early autumn. The berries are then dried in shade till it is seen that the cortex is completely wrinkled. Then it is dried in the sun till the fruit gets crusted but the pulp should remain soft. The best time to harvest root is in the spring but you can harvest the roots anytime you wish. You can use the roots fresh or dried as per your requirements.

When it comes to China, Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu produce the best wolfberries. This plant is so useful that not a single part of this plant goes in vain. Apart from its fruit, the leaves are very tender and edible. Roots as well as the fruit are used in medicines. These berries are also called Lycium Fruit, Matrimony Vine Fruit, Chinese Desert Thorn Fruit, Box Thorn Fruit and Chinese Wolfberry Fruit. These berries taste sweet and are found to be mild in nature.

The earliest records of Wolfberry fruit being used as medicines dates back to the first century AD. And from then onwards it has been used as a yin tonic for kidneys and liver and also as a blood tonic. Since Wolfberry fruits fight against fat deposition and that too mainly in the liver, it is generally given to patients of obesity as well as patients suffering with liver lipidosis. It also lowers blood sugar and as such is very beneficial for diabetics.

And that is not all. It has wide spread medicinal properties. It can be used to treat aches of the body or weakness due to kidney problems. Dizziness, tinnitus (buzzing or ringing noise in the ear), problems with vision, problems in knee and waist, sexual dysfunction in males, blurred vision because of lack of yin in the liver and kidney are some of the most common physical problems it can cure or prove very effective in curing.

The berry fruit could be combined with rehmannia root, dogwood fruit and dodder seed and various other herbs to strengthen kidneys and liver. It is also used with chrysanthemum flower, Chinese yam and several other herbs to replenish yin and to improve vision.
Wolfberry fruit is a rich source of carotene, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C. In addition to this, it is also a rich source of amino acids, zeaxanthin, physalien, betiane, B-ergosteriod, trace elements like copper, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and selenium and iron. Wolfberry enhances phagocytosis (which is the process of engulfing of foreign materials like microorganisms) of the reticuloendothelial system, increases white blood cells of the periphery, increases humoral and immune system of cells and also enhances hematopoietic which relates to the functions of daughter blood cells.

Betaine is a natural stimulant which helps in growth stimulation, blood sugar and lipid reduction, resisting fat deposition in the liver cells and also helps in regenerating the liver cells. Wolfberry fruits also have the cholinomimetic effect which reduces blood pressure and excites the intestines. It is similar to estrogen in function.

Liver is related to eyesight in Chinese medicine and that is why it is used as liver tonic to improve eyesight, blurred vision and other problems of the eye. What is more it is also considered to have 'properties to cool the blood'. That is why it is used to reduce fever, reduce excess sweating, nosebleeds, vomiting and also in dizziness.

Even tea made of Wolfberry root is very popular to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. It is also widely used to treat coughs and asthma and is perhaps one of the best natural anti-carcinogenic foods available as its controls gene mutation and fights cancer.
About the Author
What civilization first used the Wolfberry Fruit for healing, find out at
Goji Berry
Guide | First Healers

Learn more about the
powerful Himalayan Goji Berries at
Goji
Berry Guide | Himalayan Goji Berries
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