Lycium barbarum goji

Characteristics lycium barbarum goji

Lycium barbarum, is the botanical name of the plant that produces goji berries. It appears as a perennial shrub, very resistant even to the most rigid climates. It grows spontaneously in the regions of the Himalayas, in China and in Mongolia, where for centuries the various beneficial properties derived from its consumption have been known. The leaves of the lycium barbarum are in the shape of a small spear of bright green color, and the plant can reach a height of three meters at its most. The flowers have a delicious bell shape that predates a lavender color at the end of their vegetative cycle, giving way to small sweet red bright berries. The botanical family of lycium barbarum is that of the solanaceae, the same to which tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc. belong. Considering its origins, the ideal habitat for this plant is the cultivation at high altitude with sandy soils along river banks. Being a plant resistant even to adverse climatic conditions, and mainly of spontaneous growth, it can develop even in habitats that are not congenial to it.

Goji berries

The fruit of the lycium barbarum is commonly called the goji berry. It comes in the form of a small roundish berry, slightly oval, bright red in color and with a sweet taste, similar to wild berries. Having much more massive antioxidants than wild berries, goji berries have quickly supplanted the consumption of wild red fruits. The ratio of antioxidants contained in wild berries compared to goji berries is three thousand against thirty thousand. Hence the widespread consumption of the fruit, which can be taken fresh, dried or in the form of juice. Lycium barbarum is not the only plant capable of producing goji berries. In fact similar fruits are also found in the lycium chinense, another variety of the plant, which however produces fruits with a more acidulous taste and with a lower quantity of antioxidants. Being also excellent for stimulating metabolic activity, they are often used in low-calorie diets.

Grow the lycium barbarum goji

Lycium barbarum can easily be grown both in pots and in the garden. Being a wild plant it adapts to all climates, but considering its origin, cool or mild temperatures are ideal for its growth. The soil necessary for its development is good if it is neutral or slightly acid, enriched with natural fertilizer. The best time of year to plant lycium barbarum is autumn or spring when the weather is still mild. Once the winter arrived, when the vegetative cycle began, the plant enjoyed a supply of nitrogen that could last until spring. Watering must be rather sparse, every 15-20 days, and almost absent in winter. It is very important to avoid stagnation that could cause rot. In this regard it is possible to add draining compounds to the soil that allow a correct passage of water. Flowering will take place around mid-August, while the berries will not be ripe until the end of September. The best exposure for this plant is in full sun and does not require pruning except to reduce its size in case of excessive growth.

Lycium barbarum goji: Beneficial properties of lycium barbarum goji

The beneficial properties of lycium barbarum do not concern the plant itself, but the fruit. Goji berries in fact contain vitamins, minerals and oligo elements in higher quantities than any other fruit. To give an example, the amount of vitamin C contained in a berry is four hundred times greater than that contained in an orange. These small red fruits are a formidable source of antioxidants, which is why they are used by the cosmetic industry to prepare anti-aging creams that counteract the harmful cellular effects caused by free radicals. This property also affects the pharmaceutical industry that is studying how it can interact in the treatment of cancer phenomena. Goji also contains eighteen types of amino acids that can prevent aging and strengthen the immune system. In the form of juice, it is taken in case of inflammation and to lower blood pressure or cholesterol level. It also helps prevent urinary infections and eye disorders.