Wolfberry: The World’s Most Nutritious Food?

For a berry with such an intimidating name, the wolfberry certainly has a lot going for it. Wolfberry comes from the Mandarin name Gou qi zi (“goo-chee-zee”), a red berry from the Solanaceae nightshade family that includes tomato, eggplant, chili pepper, and potato.

In popular English, gou qi zi (literally ‘wolf’+ ‘energy’+ ‘berry’) has become “goji.” For at least 2000 years, the wolfberry has grown wild in China and been used in common recipes and traditional Chinese medicine. Eighteenth century Chinese farmers nicknamed gou qi zi “wolfberry” when they saw wolves feasting among the berry-laden vines during late summer at prime harvest time. Smart mammals!

The Chinese revere the wolfberry as a national treasure regarded as among the most nutrient-dense of the nation’s plants. This premise has stimulated scientific investigation about its potential health benefits and systematic cultivation, commercialization, and now increasing export to first-world countries mainly in Europe and the…

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