Lately, I’ve been reading more and more about the “miracle berry of Asia”: the goji berry. Claims abound that goji berries preserve youth, strengthen immunity, improve vision, contribute to glowing skin, fight stress, stimulate fat burning, increase fertility, and fight stress from within.

Wow, that’s a lot!

It all got me wondering: were these alleged benefits legit, or was this more about good marketing on the part of the food supplement industry? Curious to know more, I set out to track down some reliable studies on the goji berry.


First off, a bit of background: goji berries come from the common buckthorn, a shrub that grows up to four meters high that is found primarily in Asia, but also in Europe and North Africa. The berries are harvested from August to October, then dried or eaten raw. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the goji berry has long been used as a remedy for high blood pressure, diabetes, and even for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

During the course of my research, I came across a 2010 article (in German). There, Emilio Martínez de Victoria, health scientist at the University of Granada, explains that goji berries have no known health benefits for those who eat an otherwise unhealthy diet – that is, scientific evidence that goji berries are “miracle berries” does not yet exist. Rather, the studies conducted thus far have been carried out almost exclusively in the test tube and on animals in China. Goji berries aren’t harmful, says Martínez de Victoria, but are more of an overpriced fad with a placebo effect.

This isn’t all terrible, though – a placebo effect is still something, and goji berries are still healthy (and tasty). At the same time, I want to encourage all of you to think deeper about marketing claims on superfoods and “miracles.” Personally, I’ll continue to eat goji berries – not because I’m expecting magical properties, but because I enjoy them.

What do you think? Do you eat goji berries?

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *