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Goji

What is it?

Goji (Lycium chinense; Lycium barbarum) is a shrub. The berries, berry juice, and root bark have been used for many purposes, but with little evidence.

Goji grows in the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia. It contains chemicals that might help lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It might also help stimulate the immune system and protect organs.

Goji is used for many conditions including diabetes, weight loss, improving quality of life, and as a tonic, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any of these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for GOJI are as follows:

How does it work?

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Goji fruit is possibly safe when taken short-term. Up to 15 grams of goji fruit daily has been used safely for up to 4 months. In rare cases, goji fruit can cause allergic reactions.

There isn't enough reliable information available to know if other parts of the goji plant are safe or what the side effects might be.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if goji is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. There is some concern that goji fruit might cause the uterus to contract. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to protein in certain products: Goji might cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to tobacco, peaches, tomatoes, and nuts.

Are there interactions with medications?

Major
Do not take this combination.
Warfarin (Coumadin)
Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Goji might increase how long warfarin is in the body. This might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.
Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Flecainide (Tambocor)
Flecainide is used to reduce irregular heartbeat. Goji might increase the levels of flecainide in the body. This can increase the risk of flecainide toxicity and serious heart issues.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Goji might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Goji might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Goji might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Goji might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Goji root bark might lower blood pressure. Taking goji along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.
Minor
Be watchful with this combination.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Goji might lower blood sugar levels. Taking goji along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure
Goji root bark might lower blood pressure. Taking it with other supplements that have the same effect might cause blood pressure to drop too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include andrographis, casein peptides, L-arginine, niacin, and stinging nettle.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
Goji might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of goji might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Baies de Goji, Baies de Lycium, Barberry Matrimony Vine, Chinese Boxthorn, Chinese Wolfberry, Di Gu Pi, Digupi, Épine du Christ, Fructus Lychii Chinensis, Fructus Lycii, Fructus Lycii Berry, Fruit de Lycium, Goji, Goji Berry, Goji Chinois, Goji de l'Himalaya, Goji Juice, Gougi, Gou Qi Zi, Gouqizi, Jus de Goji, Kuko, Lichi, Licium Barbarum, Litchi, Lyciet, Lyciet Commun, Lyciet de Barbarie, Lyciet de Chine, Lycii Berries, Lycii Chinensis, Lycii Fruit, Lycium barbarum, Lycium chinense, Lycium Fruit, Matrimony Vine, Ning Xia Gou Qi, Wolfberry, Wolf berry.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

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Last reviewed - 07/02/2021