Goji Berries or Gou Qi Zi are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Goji Berries are reported to treat many visual problems, including blurred vision, red, or dry eyes. In fact, a common way to get the benefits of these berries is to combine them with chrysanthemum flowers and brew as a tea.
Key TCM concepts behind goji berries (Gou Qi Zi)’s properties
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goji berries are plants that belong to the ‘Tonic herbs for Yin Deficiency’ category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency when one lacks one of the ‘Four Treasures’ (Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang). Yin tonics have a heavy, moist nature. They either nourish the Kidneys and Liver or moisten the Lungs and Stomach. Extreme Yin Deficiency often translates into a ‘burn-out,” unfortunately, more and more common among people today.
It is worth mentioning that another great remedy against Yin Deficiency is a lot of rest and sleep; no herb will ever be able to replace this!
Furthermore, goji berries are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that they typically don’t affect the balance in your body. The balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many “Hot” (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many “Cold” (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin excess. The Neutral nature of goji berries means that you don’t have to worry about that!
Goji berries also taste Sweet. The so-called ‘Five Phases’ theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like goji berries tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such goji berries are thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, the Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver on the other hand is often referred to as the body’s “general” because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.
Strengthens Kidney and Liver Yin
A possible consequence of depleted Kidney/Liver yin includes dizziness, blurry vision, infertility, soreness and weak lower back or knees, premature grey hair, diabetes, night sweats, bad eyes (dryness, or tearing easily in wind, blurriness of eyes).
Strengthens Lung Yin
Symptoms such as dry cough, coughs with blood, and fevers in the afternoon. Lung yin is also easily damaged in smokers.
There are quite a few studies with this herb in modern times. Some classic ones show very positive results in the treatment of male infertility and chronic atrophic gastritis. With Chinese Medicine diagnosis and examination, if we see Lung, Liver, and/or Kidney Yin deficiencies, we know that Gou Qi Zi can be useful.
Another thing to note is Goji berries are easier to digest than other tonic herbs. However, we do not advise taking this herb with a cold, flu, or anything in the class of ‘external conditions.’ Additionally, if pregnant talk with your doctor before ingesting these berries, as goji berries may stimulate uterine contractions.