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Lycium

What other names is Goji known by?

Baie de Goji, Barberry Matrimony Vine, Chinese Boxthorn, Chinese Wolfberry, Di Gu Pi, Digupi, Duke of Argyll's Teaplant, Duke of Argyll's Teatree, Fructus Lycii Chinensis, Fructus Lycii, Fruit de Lycium, Goji Berry, Goji de l'Himalaya, Goji Juice, Gou Qi Zi, Gouqizi, Himalayan Goji, Jus de Goji, Kuko, Licium Barbarum, Lyciet Commun, Lyciet de Barbarie, Lyciet de Chine, Lycii Berries, Lycii Chinensis, Lycii Fructus, Lycii Fruit, Lycium barbarum, Lycium chinense, Lycium Fruit, Matrimony Vine, Ning Xia Gou Qi, Tibetan Goji, Wolfberry.

What is Goji?

Goji is a native Chinese deciduous shrub with bright red berries. The dried berries and root bark are used to make medicine.

Goji is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.

Goji is used for diabetes, high blood pressure, poor circulation, fever, malaria, and cancer. It's also used for erectile dysfunction (ED), dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus); and to reduce fever, sweating, irritability, thirst, nosebleeds, cough, and wheezing.

Some people use goji as an eye tonic for blurred vision, for macular degeneration, and for other eye disorders. Goji is also used to strengthen muscles and bone, and as a blood, liver, and kidney tonic.

In foods, the berries are eaten raw or used in cooking.

The use of goji was first described in the first century AD in Chinese literature. Traditionally, goji has been used to promote longevity. Legend claims that one herbalist who used goji in combination with other tonic herbs lived 252 years.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Dry eyes. Early research suggests that using Hialid eye drops and drinking a specific product (Runmushu Oral Liquid) containing rehmannia root, figwort, lilyturf root, dendrobium stem, goji fruit, chrysanthemum, and sticktight for one month may improve symptoms of dry eyes better than Hialid eye drops alone in older women.
  • Quality of life. Some early research shows that drinking goji juice (GoChi, Freelife International LLC) for 14-30 days improves energy levels, athletic performance, sleep quality, sharpness of the mind, calmness, feelings of health and contentment, mood, and bowel regularity. However, other evidence suggests that drinking the same goji juice does not improve short-term memory or eyesight in healthy adults.
  • Weight loss. Early research suggests that drinking goji juice (GoChi, Freelife International LLC) for 2 weeks in addition to following a diet and exercise program may decrease waist size in healthy, overweight adults. However, it does not appear to improve weight or body fat.
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Fever.
  • Malaria.
  • Cancer.
  • Blood circulation problems.
  • Sexual problems (impotence).
  • Dizziness.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of goji for these uses.

How does Goji work?

Lycium contains chemicals that might help lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

Are there safety concerns?

Goji is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken appropriately by mouth, short-term. It can cause some side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking goji by mouth during pregnancy is LIKELY UNSAFE. It contains a chemical, betaine, which could cause miscarriage. Don't use goji if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Allergy to protein in certain products: Goji might cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to tobacco, peaches, tomatoes, and nuts.

Low blood pressure: Goji might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, taking goji might make it drop too much.

High blood pressure: Goji might lower blood pressure. It might cause blood pressure to drop too much if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.

Diabetes: Goji root bark might lower blood sugar. It might cause blood sugar to drop too much if you are taking medications for diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Goji might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking goji along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking goji, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), diazepam (Valium), zileuton (Zyflo), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Goji bark might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking goji bark along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Goji seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking goji along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.



Warfarin (Coumadin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Goji might increase how long warfarin (Coumadin) is in the body, and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Goji.

The appropriate dose of goji depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for goji. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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