Following up my previous post about uncommon TCM superfoods, wolfberries or gouji berries (枸杞) are another food that has huge health properties associated with it.  Among the benefits of eating wolfberries are:

  • Help to prevent the onset of diabetes
  • Ease constipation
  • Lead to bright, shining eyes
  • Increase quantity and quality of blood and other necessary bodily fluids
  • Make you feel cooler (good in summer)
  • Nourish Yin

This article from That’sFit, syndicated through AOL Health, also extols the virtues of gouji berries, including protecting the liver, boosting the immune system, and being a rich source of Vitamin C, carotenoids, and amino acids.

Earlier this week I met a TCM doctor originally from China’s Jiangsu Province who has lived and practiced TCM in the US for the last 20 years.  In our discussion he remarked that Americans just don’t eat enough gouji berries.  Given their superfood status, he wondered why so few Americans ate them.

Given that one of my goals here is to bring the useful, the beneficial, the healthful, and the curative from the East to the West, this is a very interesting question.  For example, my parents having heard of the benefits of wolfberries bought a Costco-sized bag, but only used about a third of the bag before throwing them out.  So it makes me wonder, why do more Americans not eat gouji berries regularly?

  • Too exotic, too Chinese?
  • Too hard to find in the stores?
  • Too tart, pungent, flavorless, hard, dry?
  • Don’t know how to eat them?
    • Fresh, steamed, boiled, dried-raw, fried, smoothies, tossed into salads, or as tea (my personal favorite is tea)
  • No recipes for using gouji berries?
  • Don’t know or care about the benefits?
    • See above
  • Too expensive?
    • See above link for a range of prices, but I will say they are much cheaper in China

Anyone else have an sense why they aren’t very popular or well-known in the West?  I would love some insight. Or just tell me why you like them or not like them.

Update: Today I was at the store and came across snackable Goji berries, yogurt covered goji berries and chocolate covered Goji berries, just like yogurt covered raisins!  Now that’s not too intimidating and foreign is it?