Lyceum barbarum, otherwise known as the Goji berry plant, is considered both a fruit and an herb. The Goji berry is a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The Goji berry is low in calories but high in fiber and contains 500 times more vitamin C than an orange. The Goji berry also contains high amounts of iron and vitamin A. The antioxidant zeaxanthin gives the Goji berry its red color which contains a high amount of beta carotene which is great for your skin.
One quarter cup of dried goji berry fruit contains 90 calories, 4 grams, and 11 of the essential amino acids of protein per serving. Goji berries have an ORAC rating of 3290, which puts it between apples and blueberries in terms of antioxidant power. Goji berries have been used for over 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine.
The use for the berry was first recorded by Emperor Shen Nong in a book called Shen Nong Bencaojing around the year 200 B.C. There is also an ancient Chinese legend that says a man named Li Qing Yuen consumed the Goji berries daily and lived to be 252 years old. Goji berries give an amazing boost in energy due to the high polysaccharide or complex sugar content. You can buy Goji berry plants that can be grown in any soil type, as long as it drains well. The Goji plant grows well in full sun or partial shade. Researchers are currently running studies to test the exact capability of the berry to reverse or halt the growth of cancerous tumors.