Edible Bites

Does the Goji Berry Hold the Secret to Long Life?

By Jon Gast | January 13, 2017
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It’s possible that if more people knew the story of Prof. Li Ching Yuen there would be an even greater growth in Evergreen Nursery’s goji berry business.

By now most people are familiar with this berry, many nearly addicted to it when it’s combined with a dark chocolate coating.

“It’s a super fruit high in antioxidants,” said Ron Amos, owner of the Sturgeon Bay nursery that has seen the demand consistently increase. For Evergreen, a wholesale provider, that demand comes primarily from the mail order sector.

At the time of this interview, Evergreen was preparing 14,000 plants for shipment. The plants are shipped frozen and you might be surprised to find out that many are ordered through the catalogs a plant or two at a time to grow inside or out to be used in many ways. Eaten raw, as juice, in smoothies and teas, the berry may also show up in trail mix, cereal and muffins. It’s that versatility that has added to its popularity.

While Amos points to the antioxidant benefits of the berry, today we know that its properties would fill a couple of supplement aisles in a health store. The berries contain a whole alphabet bin of vitamins and then toss in anti-inflammatory agents, essential fatty acids and 15 times more nutritional iron than spinach and you’ve got an ageless Popeye.

But people have had their eye on the positive affects of the goji berry for some time.

People living in a remote area of the Himalayas were producing an abnormal number of individuals who were living 100 years or more.

People living in a remote area of the Himalayas were producing an abnormal number of individuals who were living 100 years or more.

Apparently, these people were drinking from wells over which goji berry vines grew and when ripe the berries would drop into the water. Not only were these people living longer but were showing delayed signs of aging.

The goji berry is also credited for contributing to the extraordinary life of Li Ching Yuen, a Chinese professor who is believed by many to be the oldest person to have ever lived. All agree Yuen died in 1933, but his birth is disputed. Yuen maintained he was born in 1736 while Chinese records list the birth year as 1677. That means he either lived to the age of 256 or 197. That’s a lot of birthday candles.

In an article that appeared in Time magazine shortly after his death, Li’s secrets to long life were listed as tranquil mind; to sit like a tortoise; walk sprightly like a pigeon; and sleep like a dog.

Apparently, Li also liked goji berries, consuming them on a daily basis.

It seems that after turning 100, he opened up a farm market of sorts. He soldlingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shou wu and gotu kola along with other Chinese herbs, and lived off a diet of these herbs and rice wine.

More and more people are now adding goji berries to their diet and Evergreen’s Amos said the demand has been growing rapidly.

“It’s gone from 1,000 plants to 25,000,” said Amos, fully expecting the growth to continue. “Goji berries can easily be grown in your garden or as a shrub in the landscape. Plants are fast-growing with slender silver-blue leaves. They will thrive in alkaline soils and require little care. Plants will produce flowers and fruit the second year after planting. Fruits are tomato red in color and hang from the branches and when dried, resemble a raisin.”

A super raisin.

Article from Edible Door at http://edibledoor.ediblecommunities.com/recipes/does-goji-berry-hold-secret-long-life
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