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A review of Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) in Traditional Chinese medicine as a promising organic superfood and superfruit in modern industry


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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years by different generations in China and other Asian countries as foods to promote good health and as drugs to treat disease. Goji berry (Lycium barbarum), as a Chinese traditional herb and food supplement, contains many nutrients and phytochemicals, such as polysaccharides, scopoletin, the glucosylated precursor, amino acids, flaconoids, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals. It has positive effects on anitcancer, antioxidant activities, retinal function preservation, anti-diabetes, immune function and anti-fatigue. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, Goji berries can be sold as a dietary supplement or classified as nutraceutical food due to their long and safe traditional use. Modern Goji pharmacological actions are improving function, enhances the body ,s ability to adapt to a variety of noxious stimuli; it significantly inhibits the generation and spread of cancer cells and can improve eyesight and increase reserves of muscle glycogen and liver glycogen which may increase human energy and has anti-fatigue effect. Goji berries may improve brain function and enhances learning and memory. It may boost the body ,s adaptive defences, and significantly reduce the levels of serum cholesterol and triglyceride, it may help weight loss and obesity and treats chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Today they are considered functional food with many beneficial effects, which is why they have become more popular recently, especially in Europe, North America and Australia, as they are considered as superfood with highly nutritive and antioxidant properties. Geographical origin of Goji berries are one of the most important quality parameters in TCM since the differences in climate, soil, and cultivation methods cause differences in the chemical composition of the plants. Goji berry has huge health benefits that attract good international markets. Goji berry which is as knows as the super fruit and super food in TCM for the claimed health benefits and it should be part of daily diet.
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Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants 6(12): 437-445, December 2018
DOI: 10.15413/ajmp.2018.0186
ISSN: 2315-7720
©2018 Academia Publishing
Research Paper
A review of Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) in Traditional Chinese medicine as a
promising organic superfood and superfruit in modern industry
Accepted 3rd December, 2018
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years by
different generations in China and other Asian countries as foods to promote good
health and as drugs to treat disease. Goji berry (Lycium barbarum), as a Chinese
traditional herb and food supplement, contains many nutrients and
phytochemicals, such as polysaccharides, scopoletin, the glucosylated precursor,
amino acids, flaconoids, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals. It has positive effects
on anitcancer, antioxidant activities, retinal function preservation, anti-diabetes,
immune function and anti-fatigue. Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine,
Goji berries can be sold as a dietary supplement or classified as nutraceutical food
due to their long and safe traditional use. Modern Goji pharmacological actions
improve function and enhance the body ,s ability to adapt to a variety of noxious
stimuli; it significantly inhibits the generation and spread of cancer cells and can
improve eyesight and increase reserves of muscle and liver glycogens which may
increase human energy and has anti-fatigue effect. Goji berries may improve brain
function and enhance learning and memory. It may boost the body ,s adaptive
defences, and significantly reduce the levels of serum cholesterol and triglyceride,
it may help weight loss and obesity and treats chronic hepatitis and cirrhosi s. At
present, they are considered functional food with many beneficial effects, which is
why they have become more popular recently, especially in Europe, North America
and Australia, as they are considered as superfood with highly nutritive and
antioxidant properties. Geographical origin of Goji berries is one of the most
important quality parameters in TCM since the differences in climate, soil, and
cultivation methods cause differences in the chemical composition of the plants.
Goji berry has huge health benefits that attract good international markets. It is as
knows as the super fruit and super food in TCM for the claimed health benefits and
it should be part of daily diet.
Key words: Goji berry, TCM, superfood, superfruit.
Goji berry and its cultivation in China and other parts of
the world
Goji, which is also called wolfberry has been used as
traditional medicinal foods in China and other Asian
countries for centuries (Potterat, 2010). They are very hard,
spiny, shrubby vines in the tomato-nightshade family
Solanacaea. Goji berry has different vernacular names; the
most common name, wolfberry, comes from the character
gouas it is related to the one that means wolf. The name
goji is an extrapolation of a number of native words, and it
was originally coined in 1973 by researchers at the
Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute (TBRI) (Amagase and
Farnsworth, 2011). Goji plants are native to China, where
Mohamad Hesam Shahrajabian1,2, Wenli
Sun1,2 and Qi Cheng1,2*
1Biotechnology Research Institute,
Chinese Academy of Agricultural
Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.
2Nitroegn Fixation Laboratory, Qi
Institute, Building C4, No.555
Chuangye County, Jiaxing 314000,
Zhejiang, China.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants; Shahrajabian et al. 438
they are grown from the subtropics in the south to the cold,
dry climate on Inner Mongolia. Commercial fruit production
is concentrated near Inner Mongolia. The fruit are red like a
tomato, with a green calyx near the stem. Seeds are small
and edible, similar to tomato seeds. The flowers open a
purple colour which fades to yellow (CPC, 2010; Amagase
and Farnsworth, 2011; Amagase, 2014). It has been
observed that geographical origin is one of the most
important quality parameters for many foods, since the
differences in climate, soil and cultivation methods cause
differences in the chemical composition of the plants
(Bondia-Pons et al., 2014). Cao and Wu (2015) reported
that while Ningxia is recognized as the daodi region of Goji,
increasing market demands pushed the cultivation into new
regions in China and Goji fields now stretch over different
geographical and climatic environments between 82oE and
115oE, 30oN and 45oN. These include temperate monsoon
climate (Hebei), temperate continental semi-arid climate
(Ningxia, Gansu and Inner Mongolia), plateau continental
climate (Qinghai), and continental arid climate (Xinjiang)
(Li et al., 2017). These different environmental conditions
influence both the appearance and the metabolite profile of
Goji (e.g., amount of polysaccharides, flavonoids, betaine,
and carotenoids) (Zhang et al., 2012; Shen et al., 2016;
Dermesonlouoglou et al., 2018). Moreover, different species
and cultivars (e.g., Ningqi series) are widely cultivated while
L. chinese is only cultivated in Hebei (Cao and Wu, 2015).
Traditionally, a good Goji quality was defined as: Large
berries with red colour, mild texture, few seeds, and sweet
taste (Chinese Pharmacopoeia Commission, 1963). Goji
berry belongs to the division of Magnoliophyta, class of
Magnoliopsida, order of Solanales, family of Solanaceae and
Genus of Lycium. Goji berry or wolf berry is the common
name of the fruits Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinese,
which are two closely related species (Chang et al., 2010;
Redgwell et al., 2011). The genus Lycium (Solanaceae)
consists of about 80 species found worldwide in arid to
semi-arid environmental condition (Chen et al., 2013;
Huang et al., 2015). The main centers of diversity for this
genus are distributed between Argentina and Chile,
Southern Africa and Southwestern North America (Miller
and Venable, 2003; Miller et al., 2008). L. barbarum and L.
chinese have been domesticated and widely cultivated in
Northwest China for more than 600 years. Lycium
ruthenicum is endemic to northwestern China and is
regarded as a potential plant to control erosion because of
its high salt-tolerance (Chen et al., 2013). Some common
species of wolfberry in Arizona, California and Mexico are
Wolfberry or Frutilla (Lycium brevipes), Wolfberry or
Manzanita (Lycium andersonii), Wolfberry or Barchata
(Lycium berlandieri), Wolfberry or Frutilla (Lycium
californicum), Wolfberry or Frutilla (Lycium exsertum), and
wolfberry or Frutilla (Lycium fremontii). In recent years,
there has been a growing trend in introducing Goji
cultivation to different pedoclimates in Europe (Italy,
Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal), or even developing new
cultivars (Donno et al., 2015; Mocan et al., 2017; Protti et al.,
2017). Currently, Romania has the biggest cultivated area of
L. barbarum plants in the European Union (Mocan et al.,
2018). Goji plant can handle a wide range of conditions
(Patsilinakos et al., 2018). They prefer a moderately moist,
well-drained soil, but they are also fairly drought tolerant.
The berries will produce and ripen the best in full sun. Goji
berry shrubs have long, arching branches that hold up
better with some structural support. The famers can also
train Gojis onto a trellis, fence or any other solid structure.
Due to their vigorous growth habit, Gojis can be pruned
anytime to control their height and shape. Yao et al. (2018)
reported that it does not justify superiority of a specific
production area over other areas. Instead, it will be
essential to distinguish Goji from different regions based on
the specific morphological and chemical traits with the aim
to understand what its intended uses are. Liu et al. (2017)
postulated that environmental temperature play one of the
most and important factor influencing on the phenolic
compositions and contents in the leaves and stems. From an
agronomical point of view, each region produces specific
cultivars that may differ in chemical composition and
biological properties (Wojdylo et al., 2018). For example,
the differences between Goji berries growing in China and
Italy were previously evaluated by Rocchetti et al. (2018) or
in different localization in China (Dong et al., 2012).
Some important facts about Goji berry in China are:
1) The Goji berry is commonly used as a natural form of
erosion control in China.
2) L. barbarum is being researched for Alzheimer',s and
other neurodegenrative diseases.
3) L. chinese has shown evidence of growth-inducing effects
on probiotic cells.
4) Goji berries are celebrated each August in Ningxia during
an annual festival coinciding with the yearly berry harvest.
5) Theory of how L. barbarum came to bear so many
nutrients, due to Yellow River silty, mineral-rich loess
leftover from the last glaciations period.
Recently, numerous phytochemical and pharmacological
studies focus on its health benefits, and support its use as
functional food (often sold under the marketing concept of
an alleged “superfood) (Yao et al., 2011; Chang and So,
2015; Jatoi et al., 2017; Qian et al, 2017; Pedro et al., 2018).
It is also called superfruitin Europe and North America
due to their potentially health-promoting constituents
(Potterat, 2010; Hempel et al., 2017). Some problems,
identification and control treatment of Goji berries are
shown in Table 1.
Goji berry and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
Some of the first healers to recognize the power of the Goji
Berry were the Himalayan people, who utilized the berries
Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants; Shahrajabian et al. 439
Table 1: Some problems, identification and control treatment of Goji berries.
Goji gall mite
(Aceria kuko)
Extremely small, difficult to see with naked eye. Pale
salmon and wormlike mites with six to seven
generations per year. Small bead-like galls from on
leaves. They are yellow/green on the bottom and
reddish on top. Each gall holds large numbers of
Sulfur, insecticidial soap, or horticultural oil (0.5%
solution) can be used to control. A spray application of 2%
horticultural oil, either in the fall (just before leaves drop)
or in the spring (just as leaves emerge) will be most
effective. Keep alternative hosts such as pepper, eggplant
and black nightshade, clear from the area.
Powdery mildew
(Sphaerotheca spp.)
Fungal disease that forms white patches of powder
on leaves and stems.
Prune to improve air circulation and minimize wet foliage.
Horticultural oils can help prevent further spreading once
present in field.
Blossom end rot
Calcium deficiency related abiotic disorder resulting
in a water-soaked spot on the end of fruit.
Control by careful irrigation to minimize extreme
fluctuations in soil moisture (particularly during bloom
and fruit sizing)
of the Goji vine which flourished in the valleys of the
Himalayas for thousands of years. Some sources state that
wolf berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine
for at least 2000 years (Williamson et al., 2013). Their
undocumented legend, however, is considerably older, as
wolf berries are often linked in Chinese lore to Shen Nung
(Shennong), China ,s legendary First Emperor, mythical
father of agriculture, and herbalist who lived circa 2800 BC.
The book was named Shennong Ben Cao Jing and was
supposed to contain all of the emperor ,s knowledge on the
subject of agriculture. There is another important Chinese
book written by Li Shi-Zhen in the 16th century that also
included important information on the subject of the Goji
berry. From a TCM point of view, the nature of Goji berry is
calm, and its flavour is sweet. According to TCM theory and
practice, Goji berry can act on both the liver channel and the
kidney channel, and the major health benefits of Goji berry
are its ability to nourish and tonify liver and kidney
(Chinese Pharmacopoeia, 2005; Cieslik and gebusia, 2012).
It should be noted that Goji berry is used not only as a drug
in TCM prescriptions to treat diseases but also as a popular
food by Chinese people in their daily life for promotion of
general health. According to the regulations of the China
State Food and Drug Administration, it is one of the 87 TCM
ingredients that can be used as both normal food and
functional food (Bucheli et al., 2011; Fiorito et al., 2019).
Goji berry translates to wolfberry. One theory as to the
origin of the wolfberry name stems from speculation that
Chinese farmers saw wolves sheltering among the dense
Goji berry vines. Most of the world',s Goji berry production
centers around areas in Northwestern China, where there
are 200,000 acres of farmland dedicated to Goji berry
cultivation. Goji berry plantations can also be found in Inner
Mongolia and Shaanxi (Zhu et al., 2016). Wu et al. (2018)
also reported that northwest regions of China are the main
producing area of L. barbarum, including Xinjiang, Tibet,
Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Gansu. Goji berries
provide 8 essential amino acids that the body cannot
synthesize. One of the most important reason for the
popularity of Goji berries is the fact that they contain a high
concentration of an antioxidant called Zeaxanthin.
According to various studies, a diet that contains Goji
berries can increase a person's Zeaxanthin levels by as
much as 26%. Goji berry is frequently added to soups, hot
pots, and herbal teas, and is also popularly soaked in wines
alone or together with other TCM ingredients to make
functional wines (Bucheli et al., 2011; Zhang et al., 2015).
Red Goji (L. barbarum L.) is a perennial, deciduous shrub
growing northwest China and the Mediterranean region
(Zhao et al., 2015). Black Goji is a black colour small berry
fruit from (L. ruthenicum Murr.) natively growing in
northwest part of China (Xin et al., 2017). Tang and Giusti
(2018) reported that the fruit, known as black Goji, is
popular in traditional Chinese medicine. On the basis of
TCM view, Goji berry is mainly used in treating yin
deficiency in liver and kidney. The dried fruit (Figure 1) is
commonly used in TCM preparations at a dose of 6-15 g,
taken twice or thrice daily (Liu and Tseng, 2005). Goji berry
can also be a part of a mix of Chinese herbs that is ground to
a fine powder and used in honey pills (a traditional TCM
formulation in which honey is used as main excipient to
make pills) of 15 g each. One of these pills is taken with
bland soup in the morning and another at night on an
empty stomach (Liu and Tseng, 2005; Wang et al., 2018).
Goji berry is one of the most popular TCM herbs regulated
as a foodstuff that is used in nutricosmetic products in
China. Nutricosmetics are used for the promotion of skin
and hair health. Only angelica and pearl powder are more
frequently found in nutricosmetic products in China
(Bucheli et al., 2011). Wojcieszek et al. (2017) reported that
compounds identified in Goji berries are most likely to be
responsible for better bioaccessibility of elements such as
copper and zink to the human organism. The berries are
also used in traditional Korean medicine, traditional
Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants; Shahrajabian et al. 440
Figure 1: Fresh and dried Goji berries. It appears red in colour with white seed inside.
Japanese medicine, and traditional Tibetan medicine (Wang
et al., 2010; Yao et al., 2011; Cho et al., 2016). Goji Berry
root bark is used for treating inflammation and certain skin
diseases. Song et al. (2011) concluded that the traditional
Chinese medicine, L. barbarum and its taurine component is
valuable medicinal herb for the prevention of diabetic
Composition, health beneficial and clinical aspects of
Goji berries
Goji berries can provide almost twice vitamin A that a
person needs in a day (Liu et al., 2018). It has almost a third
of the daily recommended vitamin C. Moreover, Goji berries
are rich in some important and essential minerals including
iron and potassium. Potterat (2010) and Endes et al. (2015)
reported that this crop includes essential oils, vitamins (A,
A, and C), amino acids, mineral elements (K, P, Ca, Mg, Fe,
and Na), and betaine. A diet that contains Goji berries can
help in the treatment and prevention of various health
issues, but the most important ones are:
High blood sugar: Goji berries are said to be able to lower
blood sugar in addition to helping to relieve insulin
resistance which can be able to reduce risk of developing
diabetes. Goji berries contain high levels of fibre and
protein, which means that they can help to provide a feeling
of fullness without the need to take in an inordinate amount
of calories. Regular consumption of Goji berries can
enhance lymphocyes, which are the red blood cells that
protect the body from harmful bacteria. The nutritional and
functional properties of Goji berries are provided by a rich
variety of components, including amino acids, polyphenols,
carotenoids, polysaccharides, organic acids and their
derivatives (Zhao et al., 2015; Ducruet et al., 2017; Zhou et
al., 2017; Bertoldi et al., 2019; Zhao et al., 2019). Mocan et
al. (2018) reported that Goji berries are a rich source of
bioactive compounds with functional properties that need
further risk/benefit evaluation when used in foods or
health promoting formulations. There are many varieties of
Goji Berry grown in many parts of the world. As the
popularity of the berry continues to grow, more and more
varieties will likely appear as the vine is cultivated for
commercial purposes. But it is said that the most powerful
and nutrient rich Goji Berries in China still come from the
vines of Himalayan valleys.
Goji is a good source of fiber, protein, carotenoids (Liu et
al., 2014), and polysaccharides (He et al., 2012). It also has a
lot of biological activities, including antidiabetes (Lin et al.,
2012), antiproliferative activity (He et al., 2012), preserving
retinal function (Chu et al., 2013), and antioxidant activity
(Luo et al., 2004; Amagase and Farnsworth, 2011; Song and
Xu, 2013; Magiera and Zareba, 2015; Zhang et al., 2016).
Donno et al. (2015) mentioned that Goji berry is identified
as a rich source of antioxidant compounds, with health
promoting properties as compared with other common
fruit species. Recent studies have shown that antioxidant
activities of some natural products are correlated with
defence against oxidative stress and different human
diseases including cancer, arteriosclerosis and aging
process (Willcox et al., 2004). Compounds of nutritional
value of Goji are very diverse, including polysaccharides,
carotenoids, polyphenols, essential oils, betaine, vitamins,
amino acids and oligo elements (Forino et al., 2016). Goji
berries are rich in sugars (Montesano et al., 2016) and
lipids (Blasi et al., 2016). Wojdylo et al. (2018) indicated
that apart from being natural, nontoxic colorants in drinks
and cosmetics, Goji carotenoids show biological activity, e.g.
they act as antioxidants or precursors of vitamin A. Xie et al.
(2016) reported that L. barbarum can be utilized as
pharmaceutical for treatment and also as an ingredient in
Chinese cooking. Cheng et al. (2015) reported that Goji
berries have long been used to promote fertility and as
potent anti-aging and antioxidant agent. They are rich in
ascorbic acid (approx. 42 mg/100g) (Llorent-Martinez et
al., 2013), thiamine, riboflavin and vitamins E, B1, B2 and
Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants; Shahrajabian et al. 441
B6 (Wojdylo et al., 2018). Further, they contain
carbohydrates (arabinose, rhamnose, xylose, galactose,
mannose and glucose) (Montesano et al., 2016), organic
acids (malic acid, citric acid, shikmic acid and fumaric acid)
(Mikulic-Petkovsek et al., 2012), and many minerals
(potassium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium,
zinc, and selenium) (Cieslik and Gebusia, 2012; Llorent-
Martinez et al., 2013; Nile and Park, 2014). Goji berries
comprise also fatty acids (hexadecanoic acid, linoleic acid
and myristic acid) (Blasi et al., 2017), and amino acids
(proline, betaine and taurine) (Potterat, 2010). Xin et al.
(2017) reported that the pulp of the Goji had the highest
concentration of phytochemicals [TPC (Total phenolic
content, TFC (Total flavonoid content, MAC (Monomeric
anthocyanin content, and CTC (Condensed tannin content)]
as compared with the seeds and whole fruits. They have
also found that the antioxidant activities order is like
pulp>seeds>whole fruits.
Yan et al. (2014) in their experiment indicated that the
contents of nutritional components in the different tissues
were significantly different. The ratios of essential amino
acids/total amino acids and ratios of essential amino
acids/non-essential amino acids for the leaf, pollen, and
flower were all higher than the criteria provided by
FAO/WHO. The pollen and the fruit contained highly
unsaturated fatty acids. All the tissues were good sources of
mineral elements, polysaccharides and phenolic
compounds. Furthermore, they have found that Ningxia
wolfberry pollen, leaf and flower can be a potential
resource of nutrients for humans and animals. It has also
effectiveness in aging, increased metabolism, immune
system, liver function and glycemic control (Silva et al.,
2017). However, their benefits are attributed to the
bioactive component polysaccharide-protein complex 4
(LBP4), which is composed of six monosaccharides
(galactose, glucose, rhmnose, arabinose,
mannoseandxylose) (Amagase and Nance, 2008; Ming et al.,
2009; Amagase et al., 2009; Lu and Zhao, 2010; Carnes et
al., 2013). Soares deSousa et al. (2016) noted that Goji has a
complex rich vitamins and minerals that protect the central
nervous system, reduces the risk of glaucoma and has
antitumor activity, prevents chronic diseases such as
hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, hepatitis, and also helps in
reducing fatigue and greater resistance in exercise, being a
strong ally in the prevention of aging. It has been found that
the flavonoids from wolf berries protect the blood cells and
mitochnodria against oxidative damages (Luo et al., 2004).
Jin et al. (2013) demonstrated that L. barbarum
polysaccharides has various important biological activities,
such as antioxidant, immunomodulation, antitumor,
neuroprotection, radioprotection, anti-diabetes,
hepatoprotection, anti-osteoporosis and antifatigue. Gao et
al. (2008) also mentioned that Goji berries have a long
history of use for the treatment of eye problems, skin
rashes, psoriasis, allergies, insomnia, chronic liver disease,
diabetes, tuberculosis, and kidney disorders. Masci et al.
(2018) also concluded that the purified components of the
Goji berry may be potentially useful as adjuvants in the
treatment of diabetes and its correlated illnesses. Wolfberry
polysaccharides were reported to have shown antioxidant
activity in vitro. A glucopyranoside and phenolic amides
isolated from wolfberry root bark have also been found to
have an inhibitory activity in vitro against human
pathogenic bacteria and fungi. A human supplementation
trial showed that daily intake of wolfberries increased
plasma levels of zeaxanthin (Karioti et al., 2014; Hempel et
al., 2017). On the contrary, it is also reported in some
literature that in the west, none of this research has been
scientifically verified, confirmed in clinical studies, and
accepted by regulatory authorities. Some health benefits of
Goji berry are boosted immune system and flu protection,
potential weight loss aid, antioxidants for eyes and skin,
maintenance of blood sugar, increased testosterone,
restoration of body homeostasis and strengthening of body
energy (Chang et al., 2010; Chu et al., 2013; Protti et al.,
2017). The findings of Pehlivan Karakas et al. (2016) study
showed the methanol extract of L. barbarum on low levels
of anxiety and depression like behaviours. Their results also
indicating that females seem to benefit from the methanol
extract of L. barbarum more than males in terms of anxiety
and depression like behaviours, as well as spatial learning
behaviour (Pehlivan Karakas et al., 2016). Some researchers
reported that the carotenoid profile of Goji berries is the
subject of different reports, where zeaxanthin-dipalmitate
was confirmed as the major carotenoid of Goji berries (Peng
et al., 2005; Inbaraj et al., 2008; Hempel et al., 2017;
Fratianni et al., 2018). Fratianni et al. (2018) mentioned
that the dried samples of Goji berries could be used as a
dietary source of carotenoid and be worthy of development
and utilization.
Dried fruits can be eaten raw and used in confectionary
goods or in bakery products, added to trail mix, cereals,
muffins, energy bars or soups (Gao et al., 2008; Rosa et al.,
2017). According to the findings, the dried fruits are red-
orange, seeded, rich in vitamins of group B, C, E, contain 21
microelement including anticancer germanium (Llorent-
Martinez et al., 2013), 18 amino acids, 8 of which the
human body does not produce, and 4 irreplaceable
polysaccharides which do not exist in products of food. Goji
berries contain not only high amounts of antioxidants,
carotenoids, vitamin A and zeaxanthin, but also rich in
vitamins B and C and polysaccharides (Ionica et al., 2012;
Senica et al., 2018; Skenderidis et al., 2018). In addition,
flavonoids such as rutin, gentistic acid and quercetin are the
main active compounds present in the leaves of L. barbarum
(Dong et al., 2009; Duan et al., 2010; Chen et al., 2013;
Dermesonlouoglu et al., 2018). Lopatriello et al. (2017)
found L. barbarum flowers and pruned stems as sources of
beneficial compounds. The most important health benefits
of Goji berry are shown in Table 2.
L. barbarum extracts were proven to possess prosperity
biological activities, e.g. anti-ageing effects, increased
Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants; Shahrajabian et al. 442
Table 2: The most important health benefits of Goji berry.
metabolism, antioxidant properties, anti-diabetes and
glucose control, immunomodulation, anti-glaucoma,
neuroprotection, anti-fatigue/endurance, cytoprotection
and antitumour activity (Potterat, 2010). Numerous studies
indicated the powerful antioxidant potentialities achieved
from L. barbarum molecules, to act as promotions
forvarious health protective effects (Wu et al., 2004;
Abdennacer et al., 2015). It is well documented that several
traditional herb and plant extracts have antioxidant
properties and are potential candidates for the prevention
and treatment of ROS-induced diseases (reactive oxygen
species) (Li et al., 2007; Leontopoulos et al., 2017). Dried
Goji fruits (L. Chinese) has the highest content of total
polyphenols and vitamin C based on the cellular juice
concentration due to fruits dehydration. Extraction with
alcohol 80% as well as with hydrochloric acid 2% have
resulted in the highest values of the polyphenols content
while the highest antioxidant activity was found by using as
solvent the hydrochloric acid 2%, normally used for vitamin
C determination. The DPPH method was affected by the
content of vitamin C (Ionica et al., 2012; Rocchetti et al.,
2018). Yu et al. (2006) mentioned that the pharmacological
activities associated with L. barbarum include
hypoglycemic, immunomodulation, anti-hypertension,
lipotropic, protecting hepatic function, anti-aging, anti-
fatigue, antioxidant and so on. Some Researches indicated
that components of berry fruits especially Goji berry may
inhibit replication of the virus both directly and indirectly,
e.g. by blocking surface flycoproteins of influenza virus and
stimulating immune system of the organism; in
consequence to its properties, Goji berry are raw materials
of potential use in the prevention and treatment of
influenza (Gramza-Michalowska et al., 2017).
Macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, and
dietary fiber. 68% of the mass of dried wolf berries exists as
carbohydrate, 12% as protein, and 10% each as fiber and
fat, giving a total caloric value in a 100 g serving of 370
(kilo) calories, of which 272 come from carbohydrates and
90 of which come from fat.
Micronutrients include the following:
1). 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals
2). 18 amino acids
3). 6 essential vitamins
4). 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty
acids, linoleic acid, and alpha-liolenic acid
5). Beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols
6). 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin
(below), lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll
7). Numerous phenolic pigments (phenols) associated with
antioxidant properties.
It is also reported that 100 grams of dried contain the
following minerals:
1). Calcium: Wolfberries contain 112 mg/100 g serving,
providing about 8-10% of the Dietary Reference Intake
2). Potassium: Wolfberries contain 1132 mg/100 g dried
fruit, giving about 24% of the DRI.
3). Iron: Wolfberries have 9 mg iron/100 g (100% DRI).
4). Zinc: 2 mg per 100 g dried fruit (18% DRI)
5). Selenium: 100 g of dried wolfberries contain 50
micrograms (91% DRI).
6). Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)- At 1.3 mg, 100 g of dried
wolfberries provide 100% of DRI.
7). Vitamin C: Vitamin C content in dried wolfberries has a
wide range (from different sources) from 29 mg/100 g to as
high as 148 mg/100 g (respectively, 32 and 163% DRI).
Wolfberries also contain numerous phytochemicals, such
1). Beta-carotene: 7 mg/100 g dried fruit.
2). Zeaxanthin: Reported values for zeaxanthin content in
dried wolfberries vary considerably, from 25 to 200
mg/100 g. The higher values would make wolfberry one of
the richest edible plant sources known for zeaxanthin
content. Up to 77% of total carotenoids present in
wolfberry exist as zeaxanthin (Fratianni et al., 2018).
Academia Journal of Medicinal Plants; Shahrajabian et al. 443
Known in Asia as an extremely nutritious food, Goji berry
fruits have been extensively eaten raw, consumed as juice or
wine, brewed into herbal tea or prepared as a tincture,
eaten as salads and used widely in other culinary
preparations. Its leaves are made into tea. Besides its uses
in food and culinary, wolfberries have long played
important roles in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM),
where they are believed to enhance immune system
function, improve eyesight, protect liver, boost sperm
production and improve circulation, among other effects. It
has been widely used in Asian countries such as China,
Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand for many years. Goji
berry is widely distributed in the arid and semi-arid regions
of China, Japan, Korea, Europe, North America and the
Mediterranean. The northwest regions of China are the
main producing areas of L. barbarum, including Xinjiang,
Tibet, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Gansu.
Currently, China is the major supplier of L. barbaru products
in the world. TCM calls for Goji berries to be prepared as a
decoction or ground into a powder and mixed with other
herbs. Goji berry is being widely used as a functional food,
mainly for their antioxidant action due to a high content of
vitamin C. Anti-aging, antioxidant, immunomodulating,
hypotensive, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-
diabetic, neuroprotective, and anticancer properties have
been associated with L. barbarum. In TCM science, it has
been reported that this crop is also good to improve
eyesight and to strengthen the liver and kidney. L. barbarum
contains polysaccharides, carotenoids, including
zeaxanthin, vitamins, and flavonoids. The roots contain
alkaloids, flavonoids, betaine, and vitamins E, B1, B2 and
B6. Additionally, Goji berries are rich in ascorbic acid,
thiamine and riboflavin. Moreover, they contain
carbohydrates (arabinose, rhamnose, xylose, galactose,
mannose and glucose), organic acids (malic acid, citric acid,
shikimic acid, and fumaric acid), and so many minerals such
as potassium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron,
calcium, zinc and selenium. At present, the Goji is enjoying
the enormous popularity worldwide by being made into
Goji berry tea, bars, beer, cookies, cuttings, dessert, drinks,
eye cream, extract, powder, essential oil, facial cream, face
mask, jelly, smoothie, jam, muffin, supplement, tablets and
etc. Although, TCM in China is partly integrating with
western medicine science, researchers should learn more
from TCM and carry out more studies. This review article
allowed verifying that Goji berries are sources of
compounds with valuable nutritional and bioactive
properties and, therefore, they could be useful for
incorporation into foods with functional properties. They
can also provide industrial sustainability and could be
considered as organic superfood and superfruit in not only
Asian countries but also western countries.
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Cite this article as:
Shahrajabian MH, Sun W, Cheng Q (2018). A review of Goji berry
(Lycium barbarum) in Traditional Chinese medicine as a promising
organic superfood and superfruit in modern industry. Acad. J. Med.
Plants. 6(12): 437-445.
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... Goji comes from the Chinese "gouqi" (9). Its first mention in Chinese lore is dated 2800 B.C., associated with a mythological Chinese sovereign to whom the book "The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic" is attributed (65). Its use in traditional Chinese medicine is testified by different records (66). ...
... Several species and varieties of Lycium are cultivated for berry production, like L. barbarum aurantiocarpum and Lycium chinense pataninii. Goji berries are the most used part of the Lycium plant ( Figure 1B), and their main activities, according to traditional Chinese medicine, are on the liver and kidneys (65). Goji berries contain abundant bioactive molecules, with more than 200 different identified components (68,69). ...
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In the last decades, several nutraceutical substances have received great attention for their potential role in the prevention and treatment of different diseases as well as for their beneficial effects in promoting the health of humans and animals. Goji berries (GBs) are the fruit of Lycium barbarum and other species of Lycium , used in traditional Chinese medicine, and they have recently become very popular in the Occidental world because of their properties, such as anti-aging, antioxidant, anticancer, neuroprotective, cytoprotective, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory activities. These effects are essentially evaluated in clinical trials in humans; in experimental animal models, such as mice and rats; and in cell lines in in vitro studies. Only recently has scientific research evaluated the effects of GBs diet supplementation in livestock animals, including rabbits. Although studies in the zootechnical field are still limited and the investigation of the GB mechanisms of action is in an early stage, the results are encouraging. This review includes a survey of the experimental trials that evaluated the effects of the GBs supplementation on reproductive and productive performances, immune system, metabolic homeostasis, and meat quality principally in the rabbit with also some references to other livestock animal species. Evidence supports the idea that GB supplementation could be used in rabbit breeding, although future studies should be conducted to establish the optimal dose to be administered and to assess the sustainability of the use of GBs in the diet of the rabbit.
... Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) are becoming increasingly popular all over the world [1][2][3][4][5]. Ginkgo biloba L. is one of the most ancient plants on the earth, and it contains flavones and lactones which have been applied in traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years [6][7][8][9]. ...
Background Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a living fossil and a deciduous tree, which has extracts with antidiabetic, antioxidant anticancer, antihypertensive, immunestimulative, hepato-protective and antimicrobial activities, memory enhancement efficiency and beneficial effects against neurodegenerative disease. Objective The goal of this manuscript is survey on medicinal values and natural benefits of Ginkgo. Methods This review evaluated publication in MEDLINE/PubMEd database and Google Scholar. The keywords used to electronically search were Ginkgo biloba, living fossil, bioactive components and traditional Chinese medicine. Results Its main active constituents extracts are flavones glycosides such kaempferol, quercetin and isorhamnetin, terpene lactones, alkyphenols, proanthocyanadins, rhamnose, glucose, D-glucaric acid, ginkgolic acid, organic acids such as hydroxykinurenic, kynurenic, protocatechic, shikimic and vanillic. Ginkgo kernels have been used as medicine or eaten as nut in traditional medicinal science. The most notable pharmaceutical application of Ginkgo are in cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer, impaired cerebral performance, vascular insufficiency, antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, premenstrual syndrome, liver fibrosis, vascular disease, tinnitus, macular degeneration, memory and vertigo. Conclusion Development of modern drugs from Ginkgo by considering the importance of traditional medicinal Asian science with further researches should be emphasized.
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The consumption of fruits, leaves, and roots of Lycium barbarum L. and Lycium chinense (Mill.) species has a long tradition, especially on the Asian continent, due to their health benefits. In recent decades, social and economic factors, along with scientific progress, have stimulated the expansion of the consumption and cultivation of goji plants on a global scale, but mostly in Western countries. The traditional therapeutic properties attributed to goji plants, scientifically demonstrated through clinical and pharmacological studies in vitro and in vivo, are due to a diversified content in antioxidants (polysaccharides, flavonoids, carotenoids, and antioxidant capacity). With the development of technological capabilities for the detection and extraction of biocompounds from plant resources (including from secondary metabolisms), the completeness of research on the beneficial and secondary effects of the use of these species in human nutrition has increased. In most of the published studies, the chemical profile of L. barbarum or L. chinense species was analysed in terms of the therapeutic benefits of the variety, the different plant components subjected to extraction, the prior processing of these components, the method of extraction of active biocompounds, and to some extent, the correlation of this profile with geographical origin. The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive and updated summary on some chemical compounds with therapeutic effects from Lycium spp. plants, addressing the correlation of the phytochemical composition in relation to their cultivation area, in the perspective of identifying and creating new goji varieties with high adaptability to local pedoclimatic conditions.
Conference Paper
Anise is considered one of the economically and medically important plants that used by many peoples in the past, including Arab peoples, where has many compounds with useful properties. The aim of the current study was to detect the important chemical compounds in anise extract by hexane solvent using the GC-MS technique to show the types of compounds that have economic and medical importance for isolated from this plant in the future, in addition to the activity of antioxidation of this extract. Methods: In the experiment, plant extraction was prepared by used Soxhlet, were using hexane as a non-polar solvent, Then the compounds were detected by the GC-MS technique with the presence of additives Pyridine and MSTFA, also use DPPH and FRAP assays to examine the antioxidant activity of the extract. there was 25 chemical compounds, which were successively diagnosed according to the speed of their appearance depending on the retention time, Ethylphenyl acetate was found with the highest concentration among the compounds (26.988%), followed by Eugenol with a higher retention time and less concentration (16.509%), while Anethole was found with retention time higher than the two previous compounds, but less concentration (9.962%). Also found compounds not previously registered within the chemical content of the anise plant (Isobutyltrimethoxysilane Ethyltrimethoxysilane , Oxalic acid and Octatetracontane), which is due to the different conditions and the importance of using additives. As for the antioxidant efficacy, the high concentrations of anise extract showed great efficacy that was not significantly different from ascorbic acid, where (80, 90 and 100mg/ml) of anise extract showed (93.07%, 95.23% and 96.91%) in DPPH compare to (94.88%, 97.20% and 98.37%) for ascorbic acid respectively, also (90 and 100mg/ml) showed (0.301 and 0.390) in FRAP compare to (0.358 and 0.418) for ascorbic acid as control, and they were also close when compared with each other. As for the remaining concentrations, they showed weakness in their ability to scavenge roots OF DPPH and reduce of FRAP to show significant difference when compare to ascorbic acid. It was concluded from the current study that there are many compounds in the content of Anise plant that have high economic and medical importance that can be used for scientific and research purposes, in addition to the presence of new compounds that can be attributed to it the effectiveness of this plant. In addition, there is significant antioxidant activity of anise extract may be very important in the scientific field.
Conference Paper
The studies stated that anise extract contains many compounds that act as antioxidant. Objective: The current study aimed for using anise extract to reduce side effects of cisplatin, addition to use Nano loading to increase the effectiveness of antioxidant properties of the extract. Methods: Anise extract was prepared by crushing the grains and extraction by hexane, then used chitosan to load anise extract molecules. Characterization was tested by particle size, Zeta potential, and FTIR assays. 40 Mice divided into four groups, dosed for 28 days, 1- Control group, dosed orally with normal saline daily. 2- The animals dosed cisplatin (6 mg/kg) intraperitoneally weekly. 3- 10 animals, dosed cisplatin 6 mg/kg intraperitoneally weekly and 200 mg/kg daily of anise extract orally, 4-10 animals, dosed cisplatin 6 mg/kg intraperitoneal weekly and 40 mg/kg daily of extract loaded with chitosan orally. Animals were sacrificed and taken the serum. Antioxidative biomarkers (CAT, SOD, MDA, GSH, and GPx) were measured. Results, there are significant differences in the enzymes for all animals treated with cisplatin compared to the control group, while the treatment by anise extract and cisplatin showed a reduction of the side effect of this drug on antioxidant indicators, loading of anise extract loaded on chitosan showed an improvement in the effectiveness of extract to reduce effects of oxidative stress for cisplatin, Conclusions: It can be concluded that anise extract act as a protective agent against the effect of cisplatin, as well as Nano loading, added an improvement in the effectiveness of anise extract.
Abstract This study seeks to examine the effects of globalization on CO2 emission in Nigeria. This study was motivated by the theoretical postulation that developing countries emit more CO2 at their early stage of development and less when they become more developed. This was tested in the case of Nigeria. Data was used from 1970 to 2014 and the method used was Autoregressive Distributed Lags (ARDL). The bounds test results show that globalization has a long-run relationship with CO2 emission. The long-run estimates revealed that EKC is confirmed in the case of Nigeria because GDP per capita is positive at an early stage of CO2 emission but start decreasing after a threshold level because their level of development has improved and they are adopting clean energy. The relationship between globalization and CO2 emissions shows a negative and significant relationship. These results suggest that countries should encourage economic globalization to reduce emissions. This finding suggests that imports from countries where the firms are using clean technology for production should be encouraged.
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The adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) is a traditional legume crop that plays a crucial role in both the sustainability of agricultural systems and the supply of food protein. Having been used for thousands of years in China as traditional Chinese medicine and food, the adzuki bean has a great potential to be a drug candidate or functional food. Adzuki is a good source of essential fatty acids, fiber, minerals, and phytochemicals such as polyphenols and phytates. Legumes are nitrogen-fixing systems that have long been used for biological nitrogen fixation in agriculture. The biologically fixed nitrogen of adzuki beans can reduce the hazards of chemical fertilizers. Because of the increasing requests for plant production, especially protein and oils, and to decrease the economic and environmental pressure on agricultural ecosystems, grain legumes such as adzuki beans are expected to play a major role in future crop systems and sustainable agriculture. Legumes, especially those that have various medicinal effects, can help to restore organic matter to the soil and reduce pests and diseases problems, and they may lead to increased soil fertility. Adzuki beans have considerable potential globally to be a functional food for health promotion and disease prevention not only in Asian countries, but also in other parts of the world. China is the home of the soybean. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a natural and organic healthcare system in which the body is viewed as a complex network of interconnected parts. The most important health benefits of soybeans are that they improve metabolic activity, promote healthy weight gain, have anticancer potential, boost heart health, relieve menopausal symptoms, boost digestion, improve bone health, prevent birth defects, improve circulation, control diabetes, and relieve sleep disorders. Soybeans can clear heat, detoxify, ease urination, lubricate the lungs and intestine, and serve as an excellent source of protein. In soybeans, atmospheric nitrogen (N2) fixation happens in the nodules, which grow in the roots and are produced by N2-fixing rhizobial bacteria. Most of these bacteria belong to the genera Bradyrhizobium, Mesorhizobium, Rhizobium, and Sinorhizobium. With the world’s increasing dependence on agriculture to feed its population, the use of reduced nitrogen derived from energy provided by fossil fuels is not likely to be sustainable. The key to future sustainable agriculture is to utilize the fundamental knowledge of the process of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in association with other agricultural practices to benefits an increasing world population. The food therapy of TCM aims to maintain balanced nutrition through diet. Mung beans, also known as lu dou, are a traditional soy food consumed mainly in East Asia, especially China and Japan. It has been used both as nutritional food and herbal medicine. The two principal properties that make mung beans useful to agriculture are their high protein content and their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. The factors determining the symbiotic process are the genetic constitution of the host plant and the bacteria, the environment, and technological inputs such as inocula, fertilizers, and pesticides. As a consequence of the persistent energy crises, which result in higher fertilizer costs, biological N2 fixation has become one of the most attractive strategies for the development of sustainable agricultural systems. Inoculation with Bradyrhizobium enhanced the nodulation, shoot biomass, and grain yield of mung beans. The legume residues can supply more mineral nitrogen to the succeeding crops than cereal residues can, owing to the relatively high nitrogen content of the legume residues. In traditional Chinese medicine, the mung bean clears heat, detoxifies, quenches thirst, promotes urination, reduces swelling, and reduces edema in the lower limbs. It is recommended for edema, conjunctivitis, diabetes, dysentery, summer heat, heatstroke, dehydration, and food poisoning from spoiled food. All in all, the most important health benefits of mung beans are antioxidant effects, antifungal and antimicrobial activity, antiinflammatory activity, and their antidiabetes, antihypertension, and anticancer effects. Mung beans are rich is easily digestible protein. They also contain vitamin A, iron, calcium, zinc, and folate. and are high in vitamins B1, B2, and C and niacin. Their antinutrients are phytic acid, tannins, hemagglutinins, and polyphenols. Nutrition therapy based on TCM is quite effective at treating common diseases.
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The increasing importance of organic food production is due to better environmental performance than conventional farming. Organic farming is a system that aligns well with sustainability. In many countries, especially developed countries, functional foods are considered to be and are ranked as one of the critical state policies, since adequate nutrition promotes growth and development, prevents diseases, and increases productivity and life expectancy. Day by day, the number of consumers who demand healthier organic foods is increasing, so it is becoming ever more important to find the relationship between organic farming and functional foods. Organically produced foods are widely believed to satisfy food safety and are produced in more environmentally friendly, authentic, and local systems. The most important required activities in organic farming are the use of organic seeds and locally adapted varieties; the use of measures to improve soil fertility, such as crop rotation, organic fertilizer, and soil erosion; pest and weed control only through mechanical and biological measures; animal housing that allows for natural behavior with natural light and sufficient space; the use of organic fodder; and access to pasture areas. Organic farming is one of the main areas in agricultural and food systems that complies well with sustainability, an overarching principle that will drive agricultural industries and activities in the near future. Functional foods provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition, and more people have to be informed to choose functional foods. Both organic and functional foods have perceived health promotion or disease prevention properties beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients. The first priority of producers, especially those who think about sustainability, is to improve the general functionality of food. In organic agriculture, sustainability and health issues should be addressed holistically. Healthy foods come from healthy soils, and organic production needs sustainable management. With organic agricultural production, producers and farmers can produce better yields and reduce the risk of damage from pests and diseases. What is more important is working with natural processes and providing the optimum situations to sustain both farms and foods.
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The functional food industry has been developing rapidly in recent years. Great progress has been made in this industry, especially in the number the claims related and the quality of the functional foods. The most important pharmacological properties of jujube are antidiabetic effects, hypnotic-sedative and anxiolytic effects, neuroprotective activity, sweetness inhibition, anticancer activity, antimicrobial activity, antiulcer activity, antiinflammatory and antispastic effects, antiallergic activity, permeability enhancement activity, cognitive activities, antifertility property, hypotensive and antinephritic effects, cardiovascular activity, immunostimulant effects, antioxidant effects, and wound-healing activity. The lotus has various notable pharmacological activities such as antiischemic, antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, antiobesity, lipolytic, hypocholestermic, antipyretic, hepatoprotective, hypogylcemic, antidiarrheal, antifungal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, and diuretic activities. Coix is a source of ornamental beads, a stable sustenance, and a productive fodder grass that is increasingly viewed as a potential energy source. Chinese medicine classifies the lily plant as bitter in taste, mild in nature, and beneficial to our hearts and lungs. The flowers are dried and used in cooking stews or soups. The healing properties of lily include moisturizing the lungs, relieving cough from lung dryness, clearing heart fire, and tranquilizing the mind. Dried lily bulbs are commonly used in herbal formulas for promoting lung health; treating yin deficiency of the heart. which manifests as irritability, insomnia, dreaminess, palpitations, and absent-mindedness; promoting vital fluids; and improving the complexion. The most important benefits of the Tremella mushroom are antiaging effects, antiinflammatory effects, decreasing cholesterol, combating obesity, and protecting the nerves, and it may fight cancer. The most powerful nutritional constituents of Tremella are amino acids, vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, glucomannan 1,3-alpha-glucan, epitope 9beta-D-glucuronosyl, glucuronic acid, glucuronoxylomannan, N-acetylglucosamine, flavonoids, polyphenols, alkaloids, and organic acids. Functional foods are making inroads into Chinese diets with their promises to improve health and nutrition. Chinese consumers should choose nutritional and healthy food to maintain their general health and reduce the risk of health problems.
The present study was conducted to examine whether Lycii Fructus, the mature fruit of Lycium chinense Miller (Solanaceae), is a functional food and has an ameliorative effect on a mouse model of cisplatin-induced acute renal failure. Cisplatin (20 mg/kg B.W.) was administered by I.P. injection to mice that had received oral Lycii Fructus extract (10 or 30 mg/kg B.W. per day) for the preceding 2 days. Cisplatin-treated control mice showed body weight loss and increased kidney weight, whereas Lycii Fructus extract administration attenuated these effects. Moreover, Lycii Fructus extract significantly decreased serum creatinine, a renal functional parameter. Lycii Fructus extract also significantly reduced oxidative stress- and inflammation-related biomarker levels and protein expressions in the kidney. Lycii Fructus extract treatment led to significantly attenuated histological damage in the kidney. These results suggest that therapy with Lycii Fructus extract has beneficial effects on renal injury induced by cisplatin in this experimental model.
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Goji (fruits of Lycium barbarum L. and L. chinense Mill.) has been used in China as food and medicine for millennia, and globally has been consumed increasingly as a healthy food. Ningxia, with a semi-arid climate, always had the reputation of producing best goji quality (daodi area). Recently, the increasing market demand pushed the cultivation into new regions with different climates. We therefore ask: How does goji quality differ among production areas of various climatic regions? Historical records are used to trace the spread of goji production in China over time. Quality measurements of 51 samples were correlated with the four main production areas in China: monsoon (Hebei), semi-arid (Ningxia, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia), plateau (Qinghai) and arid regions (Xinjiang). We include morphological characteristics, sugar and polysaccharide content, antioxidant activity, and metabolomic profiling to compare goji among climatic regions. Goji cultivation probably began in the East (Hebei) of China around 100 CE and later shifted westward to the semi-arid regions. Goji from monsoon, plateau and arid regions differ according to its fruit morphology, whereas semi-arid goji cannot be separated from the other regions. L. chinense fruits, which are exclusively cultivated in Hebei (monsoon), are significantly lighter, smaller and brighter in color, while the heaviest and largest fruits (L. barbarum) stem from the plateau. The metabolomic profiling separates the two species but not the regions of cultivation. Lycium chinense and samples from the semi-arid regions have significantly (p < 0.01) lower sugar contents and L. chinense shows the highest antioxidant activity. Our results do not justify superiority of a specific production area over other areas. Instead it will be essential to distinguish goji from different regions based on the specific morphological and chemical traits with the aim to understand what its intended uses are.
Influenza is a highly dangerous disease, as it is connected with a risk of complications and in extreme cases – also death. Treatment based on virustatic drugs is not always effective, as mutations lead to the development of drug-resistant viruses. A relatively efficacious protection against influenza is provided by vaccinations; however, they are not very popular due to the common distrust in their efficacy and concerns over their supposed adverse effects. Phytotherapy uses several raw materials which may be applied in the prevention and treatment of influenza. Plant origin materials of particular interest include berry fruits containing considerable amounts of bioactive compounds. The multifaceted health-promoting action of berry fruits is connected first of all with the presence of polyphenols. Antiviral activity against influenza viruses results from the presence of anthocyanins and other classes of flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids. An important group of compounds other than polyphenols, which may be readily used in influenza infections comprises polysaccharides. Research indicates that components of berry fruits may inhibit replication of the virus both directly and indirectly, e.g. by blocking surface glycoproteins of influenza virus and stimulating the immune system of the organism. In consequence to their properties berry fruits are raw materials of potential use in the prevention and treatment of influenza.
Spinach leaves, goji berries and quinoa seeds are claimed to have a great nutraceutical potential due to their high content of compounds providing benefits for human health, such as amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids, betaine, vitamins, fibre, minerals and polyphenols. Samples of these plants were extracted with different solvent mixtures (e.g. EtOH, H2O/EtOH 3:7 and H2O/EtOH 7:3) and extractions were accomplished using a microwave apparatus. Subsequent UHPLC analysis and photodiode array detection were employed for the quantification of biologically active compounds like 7-isopentenyloxycoumarin, auraptene, umbelliprenin, boropinic acid and 4′-geranyloxyferulic acid. EtOH was found to be the best solvent in terms of extractive yields and the above-mentioned phytochemicals were recorded in the concentration range 2.01–49.22 µg/g dry extract. The findings depicted herein revealed that spinach, goji and quinoa are good sources of oxyprenylated umbelliferone and ferulic acid derivatives.
Fruits of Lycium barbarum L. have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries. In the last decade, there has been much interest in the potential health benefits of many biologically constituents of these fruits. The high level of carotenoids offers protection against development of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and related comorbidities. In the present work two different selections of Lycium barbarum L., cultivated in Italy and coming from three discrete harvest stages, were subjected to two different grinding procedure and to a simplified extraction method of carotenoid component. CIELAB colorimetric analysis of the freshly prepared purees and HPLC-DAD analysis of carotenoid extracts were performed and compared. Different harvesting dates and grinding procedures deeply influence the carotenoids content and statistical analysis showed high correlation between carotenoid content and colorimetric data. The final model provides a reliable tool to directly assess carotenoid content by performing cheap and routinely colorimetric analyses for food industry.
Organically grown blue honeysuckle berries have become extremely popular in the last few years, mainly because of their taste and high ascorbic acid content. With the spectrophotometer and aid of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with mass spectrophotometry (MS) we compare the content of organic and ascorbic acids, sugars, individual phenolics, total phenolics, saponins and tannins, of four blue honeysuckle berry cultivars. On average the cultivar 'Aurora' was the biggest in terms of weight and size, with the highest sugar (2585.45 mg/100 g) and the lowest organic acid (655.46 mg/100 g) contents. Conversely, the cultivar 'Honey Bee' was the smallest and had the highest ascorbic acid (25.77 mg/100 g) and saponin (640.79 mg/100 g), but the lowest sugar (1557.37 mg/100 g) contents. Cultivars 'Borgalis' and 'Tundra' had intermediate weight and size, with high and low contents of other identified compounds.
Quality and preservation of dried goji berry can be improved with the application of osmotic dehydration (OD) as a pre-treatment step. The aim was to optimize OD conditions based on water loss, solid gain, water activity decrease and quality (color, antioxidant capacity, total phenolics, sensory properties) during processing and post-processing, to develop and produce a dried goji berry product of improved quality and with reduced energy requirements. Goji berries were treated in concentrated solution of glycerol, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, sodium chloride for 60 min at 55°C, and air-dried for 300 min at 60°C (target aw 0.50-0.55). Combining OD and air-drying led to drying time decrease by 120 min, bright red color close to the fresh berry color, improved texture characteristics, higher antioxidant capacity and total phenolic content of the final dried product. Quality of OD-treated and non-treated air-dried samples was monitored during storage at 25-35-45°C. Shelf life was significantly prolonged for OD-treated goji berries: 206 days at 25⁰C compared to 99 days for the non-treated.