Goji berries are also known as wolfberries and lycium fruit, derived from the plant species Lycium chinensis and L. barbarum. Goji berries are widely available as fruits and juices, as well as in supplement form like capsules, tinctures and other standardized extracts. Goji berry capsules could offer a variety of health benefits, but you should first consult your doctor to discuss the proper dosage and potential dangers.
Goji berry capsules have a variety of potential health benefits, such as treating burns, skin infections, pain and inflammation. Goji may also help to improve vision, treat anemia and coughs, and provide sedative effects. In alternative herbal medicine, goji capsules are sometimes recommended for preventing Alzheimer’s disease, protecting the liver and aiding in cancer treatments, as well as helping to treat high cholesterol, diabetes and sexual dysfunction – particularly impotence and low sex drive. Goji remedies could possibly help in treating high blood pressure, circulation problems, dizziness, tinnitus, malaria and fevers.
The purported benefits of goji berries come from the main active constituents in the fruits, which include polysaccharides, cerebrosides and beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol appears to block the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, while the polysaccharides seem to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, enhance the immune system and provide neuroprotective actions. The cerebrosides may block the release of certain enzymes that can harm your liver. The chemical constituents in goji berries also might reduce blood-sugar and blood-pressure levels in the body. Additionally, goji berries are rich in various essential vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious food source.
The various functions and effects of goji berry capsules in the body are largely based on test-tube studies, not clinical trials in humans. Also, some of the purported health benefits of goji berry supplements aren’t clear even within traditional Chinese medicine. Therefore, the scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of goji berry capsules in providing any kind of health benefits is insufficient.
Aside from the limited medical research in humans and only weak evidence in laboratory studies on goji berry’s health benefits, the supplements could pose dangers for certain people. Eating goji berries appears to be safe, because the fruits are widely-consumed foods. But no comprehensive safety studies have been performed on goji berry supplements. Goji capsules and teas appear to have a blood-thinning effect, which could increase the effects of anticoagulant medications like Coumadin, aspirin and Plavix, potentially causing uncontrolled bleeding. Because goji supplements may lower your blood pressure, you could have an unsafe drop in your blood pressure if you’re taking medications for hypertension or if you have low blood pressure. Also, goji’s potential blood sugar-lowering effects may cause hypoglycemia in people who are taking insulin or other medications for diabetes. Additionally, don’t take goji berry supplements while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, because goji berries contain betaine, a chemical linked to stimulating miscarriage. The safety of goji capsules for children and people with liver or kidney disease is also unknown.