Wolfberry; Nature’s Bounty of Nutrition & Health
By Paul M Gross, PHD
Xiaoping Zhang, MD
This books discusses in thorough detail the anatomy and nutrient components of Goji berries. As you have perused through our website, you may have discovered by now that Goji berries and Wolfberries are the exact same thing. One is a direct Chinese pronunciation (Goji) and the other is a translation (wolf berry).
“Presenting a thorough profile of nutrients in the Chinese Wolfberry (Lycium Barbarum L.) and factors accounting for them, this book is the first comprehensive reference for what might be the single most nutritious and antioxidant-rich food on Earth.
Is Wolfberry Nature’s most Nutritious Food?
What is it about the highest order of a species or landmark – the largest mammal (blue whale), highest mountain (Everest), or greatest golfer (Tiger Woods – that seizes our attention and stirs our wonder?
We begin to think about qualities that set it apart from its competitors and so begin to define the origin, nature, values, and potential of the greatest.
So it is with Wolfberries, a fruit largely unknown in many first world countries, but whose history in its native China is so profound that it is revered as a national treasure and perhaps the most nutritious food on Earth.
Presently in the United States and other prosperous western countries, the growing crisis of obesity and related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, chronic inflammation) is looming. In active lifestyles combined with diets high in portions and low in nutrients cross age groups and social status.
Recognizing this trend, expert nutritionists are focusing the public’s attention more on whole foods as solutions for comprehensive nutrient intake – that is, foods with multiple nutrients in a convenient single serving.
Having one food source provide many of the day’s essential nutrients and calories would be an obvious advantage for simplifying good dietary practices – as long as it was combined with other selections from the Food Pyramid.
So we might naturally ask: what is Nature’s most nutrient-dense food that can offer this advantage?
We can define high nutrient density as nutrient richness, or to say simply, the most nutrients in one serving. By then, identifying individual nutrients, we gain insights to a food’s overall nutritive benefits and the potential synergy nutrients have together.
Accordingly, this book was written to give nutritional background on wolfberry and present an objective view on the question introducing this chapter – is it the World’s most nutrient-packed food?
Wolfberries might have one of the longest recorded traditions as a health food. They have been eaten as a favored snack and ingredient in various recipes with health benefits over 5000 years of recorded Chinese history.
It is the said the name wolfberry comes from ancient Chinese legends of the animal on top of the wild food chain across the plains and forests of old China – the omnivorous wolf – often seen engorging on ripe berries and leaves among the dense vines.
In more modern times, wolfberry fit as a name when it became known in China as the “alfa” food of nutritional herbs, i.e., like the alfa leader of the wolf pack, a higher nutrient density may not exist among plants.
The book was written to bring together available scientific evidence for wolfberry as a nutrient-dense food, as best as current information allows for a plant mostly unknown outside China where 99% of the world’s commercial supply grows.
If eventually confirmed this way, wolfberry may gain acceptance as a healthy addition to diets in western countries now opening their markets to Chinese exports. Or it may eventually become a cultivated crop in amounts sufficient to supply one country’s own demands for a nutrient-rich, delicious fruit that can contribute to healthier nutrition and lifestyles.
To help establish background, we present in the book a total of 81 research publications specifically pertaining to the wolfberry for it’s nutrients. We discuss nutritional classes to which wolfberry’s special nutrients belong, how they compare with other nutrient-rich foods, and hat diseases wolfberry nutrients may actually benefit.
Another goal is to provide varied background about the wolfberry plant. We give accounts of the legendary history, traditional Chinese medicine, botanical taxonomy, cultivation, harvesting and growing regions, soil factors and environmental conditions, effects of processing the fruit, and the medical abstracts proposing wolfberry with a broad assortment of health benefits.
Our goal is the make wolfberry better understood outside SE Asia where it has lived in legend for thousands of years, revered as a king of medicinal plant’s rich and healthful nutrients.