Probing Goji Juice

A few years ago, New Zealand health officials opened a probe against goji juice makers after becoming aware of advertisements that claim the juice is able to cure several diseases, including cancer. Such claims are illegal for food products in New Zealand. The same thing happened in the US not too long ago with Noni juice, another popular health drink.

The governments of a few states ended up banning such advertising with Noni juice, and it appears that many websites and companies that offer goji juice and other health drinks are taking notice by both putting disclaimers on their sites and being careful about what claims they put up and how they are worded.

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that it is indeed possible to cure cancer and a variety of other diseases naturally, and with far higher success than traditional drugs, which are in so many cases simply designed to cover up symptoms, or have marginally better effects than placebos. The thing is, our bodies need a variety of things to function properly, and much of our aging is caused by our bodies not getting these things, whether they be certain vitamins, minerals or other agents that are ill-understood by modern doctors or scientists. The best place to get what our bodies need is clearly from eating a variety of foods, which should include as many different types of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and herbs as possible.

The simple fact is, goji juice and berries are indeed incredibly healthy, but as I have said before, the effects that are noted from them by many people may simply be related to their bodies suddenly getting a sorely needed boost of vitamins, minerals, healthy sugars, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and other things they are not used to getting in their normal diets. This is not to say that you won’t notice an effect if you already eat healthy, but the fact of the matter is that nothing will benefit you more than simply eating a diverse diet, exercising, getting proper sleep, taking time to relax, play, and develop healthy relationships and strive to grow emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

Growing Goji Berry Plants: Tips From Experience

I thought I’d post a little bit about growing goji berries today. I have been attempting to grow several goji plants in my apartment for the past few years, and have planted several of them outdoors, so I have some experience in what works and what doesn’t that I thought I’d share. I’ll also start by saying that if you haven’t considered growing your own goji berry plants yet, you should. It’s a lot cheaper than buying goji juice or berries, and a lot easier than you might think.

Okay, so after researching a little about growing goji plants, I discovered that they like moist, well drained soil, so that means they need a good mulch, although they are drought tolerant once established. But make sure not to overwater. The soil should be moist, not soggy. Also, you must make sure the soil has good drainage so that the roots are never soaking in water, as this will cause them to rot. Goji plants can tolerate nutritionally poor soil, but they’ll grow faster and better in nice, rich organic soil. Don’t use artificial fertilizers, as you won’t get good nutrient content in your berries. Make sure to use vermiculite, compost, or manure. You can use regular potting soil and mix this stuff in. To add better drainage to your soil, mix in a bit of sand and make sure to put rocks in the bottom of your pot if you are growing them in a pot.

Another absolutely crucial thing I should add, is that your plants will need at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. One of my plants was by a window that didn’t get this much light and it died. My other plants were also by a window that didn’t get this much light, but I put fluorescent grow lights above them to make up for this and they are doing great. The best thing you can do for your plants is grow them outside, however. You can only do this if you live in a climate that is zone 5 or higher where you live.

United States:  Growing zone map for the US
Canada: Growing zone maps for Canada
Australia: Growing zone map for Australia.

It’s easy to find one for your local area with any search engine if you are not in one of these locations.

If you don’t live in a warm enough climate, you can at least put your plants outside during the warm season if possible in direct sun. Make sure to gradually introduce them to outdoor conditions and sunlight, however, or they will be burned. This is called hardening, and involves putting them out only for brief periods at first, and gradually increasing the time. If they sag or otherwise don’t look happy, take them out of the sun immediately until they recover. It is especially important to ensure they stay moist when outside in the heat, especially if you live in hot climate.

That’s all I’m going to write about growing goji plants for now, but if you want to learn more, I covered everything else in the Growing Your Own Goji Berries section of my website. Also, keep in mind that it will take 2 or 3 years before your plants begin bearing fruit, but it’s well worth the wait! Until then, if you want berries, just make sure to do your research and find the best companies offering organic berries for the best prices, which you will also find on this website in the Buying Goji Juice and Berries section.

Do Not Rely on Goji Juice – There is Much More to Being Healthy

I’ve been noticing more and more that people are coming to goji juice in hopes that it will solve any and all of their health problems. The marketing companies claim that goji juice will help with anything from arthritis to heartburn, from cancer to decapitation. Unfortunately, the truth is, there is NO miracle cure for any of these ailments. Well, I guess that all depends on what you call a miracle.

I believe that many people see such dramatic results with goji juice simply because they weren’t getting what they needed in their diets to begin with. So then, they start drinking this juice that is high in various vitamins, has a full protein, essential fatty acids, high levels of antioxidants, etc., and they notice a big difference. HOWEVER, although you may notice such a difference, it is a mistake to think that you are getting everything you need simply because you have begun drinking this juice. It is far more healthier to get your antioxidants and vitamins from a variety of sources, as each vegetable and fruit has different types and different parts of vitamins and antioxidants.

Nothing can substitute eating a variety of raw, organic fruits and vegetables (cooking destroys many nutrients and enzymes, and foods that are not organic contain much higher levels of toxins and far fewer vitamins and minerals). There are many so-called super foods out there that far exceed the benefits of synthetic vitamins, supplements and drugs. If you really want to take care of yourself, start looking into natural Chinese, Tibetan and Indian healing plants that have been used for thousands of years to prevent illness before it starts. I’ll talk more about other super foods in a future blog. Our system of simply covering up the symptoms is ludicrous when the truth is, we don’t need to become sick to begin with if we simply eat right and exercise.

Now, I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t eat goji berries or drink the juice (I recommend the berries ? more natural and they contain essential fatty acids whereas the juice does not, as I’ve mentioned many times on this site). What I’m saying is that you don’t have to rely on these hyped up products when you can get everything you need in your local farmer’s market or grocery store, if you only look. Eating foods like goji berries that are extremely high in vitamins compared to most other fruits and vegetables is always a good idea to supplement your existing diet, but if you eat right on a continual basis, these super foods will work all the better to bring your body into balance. If you really want to get better, no matter what your illness, you need to start paying very close attention to what you put into your body.

Antioxidants in Goji Berries

You may be aware that antioxidants are a powerful ally in the fight against cancer and aging. Once you learn how many antioxidants are in goji berries, you may begin to get an idea of why I promote them so vigorously, although there is much more to them than antioxidants (I do not sell them by the way, and I am beginning to grow my own plants). To get an idea of how many more antioxidants are in goji berries and goji juice compared to the typical fruit we eat in North America, we can compare these levels right now. ORAC is the standard test, used by the US Department of Agriculture, to measure the antioxidant levels of foods.

Now, most people do not get nearly enough antioxidants in a given day to prevent or significantly reduce the risks of cancer. A person needs to get about 5000 ORAC units a day for maximum benefits. Most people don’t get even close to this because most people simply don’t eat the rights foods. For example, if you wanted to get your daily ORAC dose in grapes, you would need to eat 677 grams of grapes – no small amount. Alternatively, you could simply eat 20 grams of goji berries, which is about a small handful. By comparing the ORAC levels of various fruits and vegetables in this chart, which shows the antioxidant levels in the most antioxidant-rich foods we eat, you may begin to get an idea of how powerful goji berries and their juice are.

The Goji Berry Species Debate

Goji berries are, in fact, part of a larger family of berries known as Lycium. It depends on who you talk to as to whether or not one species is as good as another in terms of health benefits. In reality, there is no proof either way until a more thorough analysis of each species is done, including their nutritional content, level of polysaccharides and so on.

The three most common species of Lycium are Lycium barbarum, Lycium chinenses and Lycium europeaum. Even though many botanists apparently tend to group these species under the name Lycium barbarum, they are quite distinct plants. And there are many more species as well, found throughout Europe, Asia and even in the Americas. Common names for goji berries, depending on where you are in the world, are: Gou qi zi, Goji, wolfberry, lycium fruit, bastard jasmine, box thorn, tea tree and matrimony vine.

It has been suggested by some companies that L. barbarum has more polysaccharides than L. chinenses, but studies on L. chinenses do not back this up, and polysaccharides isolated from the L. chinenses have shown promising results in studies on their effect on cancer. Essentially, there is no proof that other varieties of goji berries are any less beneficial than the L. barbarum, although it is the species most commonly sold, in the form of “Himalayan Goji Juice”, as well as in dried berry form.

The main difference between the two popular varieties, is that the L. chinenses variety is a shorter bush and the berries are described by some sources as having a more tart taste.

Growing Your Own Goji Berries

The goji berry is no doubt an important health discovery, and it is just a shame that so many things came along and cried “wolf” before it was discovered. It is especially useful in the areas that can actually grow goji plants. In fact, if you are in an area that can grow goji plants, why not grow them yourself? Just check out this website on growing goji berries.

If you live in an area where you cannot grow the plants outside, you can still grow them inside in pots, and this is detailed on the aforementioned website as well. If, however, you can’t grow them in pots due to lack of sunlight or whatever, and you can’t grow them outside due to being in too cold or too hot of a climate, there are other super berries you might consider growing.

If you are in too cold of a climate, consider growing sea berries or sea buckthorn berries. They can sustain rather harsh winters, and can grow all over North America, even in more northern parts of Canada. If you are in too hot of a climate, learn how to grow acai berries, another super berry that is native to the Amazon rainforest.

Growing berries is NOT hard work and is well worth your time, especially considering the fact that food will be getting more and more expensive in the coming years due to the rising costs of oil (food is grown with fertilizers made of oil, with farm equipment run with gas made from oil, and then transported in trucks and planes running on fuels made of oil).

So, why not learn to grow your own food before it’s too late? The more nutritious the food, the less you will need, so goji berries and other super foods are a natural choice.

The Anti-Cancer Properties of Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral found in foods such as Brazil nuts, walnuts and, you guessed it, goji berries. The mineral acts as an antioxidant, helping to neutralize free radials that damage cells and cause cancer.

Research has now shown that low levels of selenium in the blood may also mean an increased risk of prostate cancer for men. In a 2001 study, for example, researchers tested selenium levels in blood samples of 52 men with prostate cancer. The men had provided blood samples before and after they were diagnosed with prostate cancer. This group of men was compared with 96 other men who were healthy, and who had had their selenium blood levels tested periodically.

It was found that the risk of prostate cancer was significantly higher in the men who had the lowest selenium levels in their blood. Low selenium was in fact determined to lead to a four to five times increase in the risk of getting prostate cancer.

This study is only one of the many studies that prove selenium has anti-cancer properties in general. And the good thing about getting a dose of selenium in goji berries is that it has been found that the mineral has a synergistic effect when used with vitamin E, which goji berries also contain.

I am beginning to get more and more amazed at just how useful these goji berries are. If not for the fact that there are so many species of berries in the world, it would be hard to believe that nature actually created such a magnificently useful berry with such an amazing arsenal of healing and natural anti-aging properties.

Germanium: Another Important Compound in Goji Juice

One of the compounds found in goji berries that is highly active in the fight against cancer and other ailments in the human body is germanium. This naturally occurring element has been found to have unique properties. Its atoms are somewhat odd, in that out of its 32 electrons, any one of the four in the outer shell tend to leap out of its orbit when approached by atoms of other substances.

Cancer cells, of course, are quite different from the healthy cells in a human body. The electrical potential at the cell wall is unusually high compared to a healthy cell. This is one of the reasons why cancer cells multiply so fast. When germanium is ingested, as in the case of eating goji berries or drinking goji juice, or injected, the compound deprives cancer cells of its electrons. This, apparently, reduces the cancer’s electrical potential. This is known as a dehydrogenation reaction and it seems that it has the potential to slow or stop the activities of cancer cells.

Germanium has also been found to help stave off the effects of radiation treatment. Some sources go as far as to say that radiation sickness can actually be prevented when germanium is taken in sufficient amounts (too much germanium, like most things, is not good for someone, however). Gamma rays (used in radiation treatment) emit electrons that destroy cancer cells, but unfortunately, they also destroy red and white blood cells. This sometimes even leads to patients dying. Recent studies have found that the atoms of germanium fasten securely to red blood cells and protect them from oncoming electrons, causing them to bypass the cell via repulsion.

It must be cautioned that germanium is not a cure-all compound, and that intake of too much germanium has been found to have very negative results. Inorganic germanium has been shown in studies to be poisonous in large doses, and there is evidence that organic germanium, taken in supplement form (it would be near impossible to overdose by eating any food) can also cause severe problems. So, although germanium can be very beneficial if consumed in moderation in foods such as goji berries, my research indicates that most doctors would agree that it is not necessary to take actual supplements, unless advised by a doctor in conjunction with cancer therapy or some such thing.

That being said, I also feel it is important to note that there is no danger of overdosing on anything by consuming goji berries, or any other edible berry. Of course, you don’t want to eat too much of anything – the middle path is always the best path to take – but they are just a berry, albeit one with unusually high levels of nutrients and beneficial compounds.

Living Up to the Functional Food Hype: Goji Juice, Acai Berry, Sea Buckthorn

One of the first things that attracted me to goji juice, and goji berries specifically, was their amazingly high level of antioxidants. Antioxidants are defined as “compounds that protect against cell damage inflicted by molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are a major cause of disease and aging.”

The standard test for measuring the level of antioxidants in a food is called the ORAC test – standard ever since the US Department of Agriculture adopted it as its measure of antioxidants. ORAC tests generally measure foods in terms of units per 100 grams.

Now, there have been a lot of “super foods” that have been claimed to have high levels of antioxidants, as well as whatever other magical benefits these foods have been claimed to have. Noni juice comes to mind. The main company selling noni juice apparently reached sales of over $2 billion last year. Unfortunately, it seems that products like this have desensitized people to claims of outstanding health benefits of certain foods. The first wave of these “functional food” products, which involved noni juice, was fueled by quite a lot by hype.

There wasn’t yet a lot of scientific research backing a lot of the things that were on the market. To give you an idea of the antioxidant power of noni, for example, its ORAC rating is 1,506. High, but not unheard of high. Black raspberries have a rating of 7,700, prunes have a rating of 5,770, pomegranates have a rating of 3,307, and raisins have a rating of 2,830. These are the highest ORAC ratings for the foods we commonly consume in North America and Europe. Goji berries have an ORAC rating of 25,300 (another test showed a rating of 30,500, so it seems to depend on the species/cultivar/growing conditions). Goji juice itself may have a higher ORAC rating than even the berries if it is concentrated.

So, after the market for health foods really took off, people in Asia and other parts of the world saw the opportunity to promote some foods that actually ARE of tremendous nutritional value compared to the fruits we traditionally eat in the West. Then came the goji berry, and the acai berry, and now, the sea buckthorn berry (sea berry) is beginning to grow in popularity. These fruits are actually backed by extensive scientific research. Some of the compounds in goji berries, for instance, drew a lot of attention from the scientific community because they are known anti-cancer agents. Acai berry also garnered some serious scientific scrutiny, as did sea buckthorn. The later has been quite popular in parts of Europe and Asia for sometime, and unlike the goji berry and the acai berry, which require somewhat warmer climates (especially the acai), it can be grown anywhere in North America.

But anyway, my point is this: if you have been generally put off by the hype of the functional food industry that has failed to deliver on its outrageous claims in the past, you might want to check into some of these new foods with more seriousness. Just research the polysaccharides found in goji berries a little. Go to the PubMed medical database and type in lycium barbarum and you’ll be surprised at what you see.

Goji Juice: Sorting the Truth From the Myth

Recently, I have taken an interest in a small red berry that is native to Asia and has been used in traditional Asian medicine for thousands of years. Now, I’m not one to just develop an interest in any old thing. The reason for my interest in this berry stems from the fact that recent scientific studies have shown some truly remarkable results in terms of its anti-aging and anti-cancer properties.

The berry, known as the goji berry or the wolfberry, contains not only ridiculously high levels of antioxidants (more than any foods we eat in the West, including those thought to be high in antioxidants), but it also contains unique polysaccharides. These are complex forms of carbohydrates, and the ones found in goji berries have been shown in studies to have amazing anti-cancer and natural anti-aging properties. These facts, combined with the fact that the berries are incredibly nutritionally dense and packed full of other anti-aging agents, has drawn a lot of attention to the goji berry in science and in the media (it has been featured on Oprah) and a market has begun to flourish for the berries. However, after extensive research online, I have noticed that much of the information on the Internet is complete hype and that many companies are making some pretty outrageous claims. It is thus hard to sort out the truth from the lies, and so, I have created this blog, along with a website at, to sort the real information (credible scientific studies) from pure myth and hype.

I am convinced that the goji berry is a truly remarkable natural anti-aging supplement, and just plain good for you. I have bought a 4-month supply of the berries in fact, and am enjoying the extra energy boost this has provided for me and my partner. And so, I hope to bring more awareness of this amazing fruit to the world, for as it becomes more popular, its price will go down and more people will be able to enjoy its benefits.