URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/1025.html

Goji

What is it?

Goji is a plant that grows in the Mediterranean region and parts of Asia. The berries and root bark are used to make medicine.

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.

In foods, the berries are eaten raw or used in cooking.

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:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Diabetes. Early research shows that taking carbohydrates from goji fruit twice daily for 3 months reduces blood sugar after eating in people with diabetes. It might work best in people who are not taking medicine for diabetes.
  • Dry eyes. Early research shows that using eye drops and drinking a beverage containing goji fruit and other ingredients for one month can improve symptoms of dry eyes better than using eye drops alone. It's not known if the benefit is due to goji fruit, other ingredients, or the combination.
  • Quality of life. Some early research shows that drinking goji juice for up to 30 days improves various quality of life measures. Energy, quality of sleep, mental function, bowel regularity, mood, and feelings of contentment seem to improve. Short-term memory and eyesight do not.
  • Weight loss. Early research shows that drinking goji juice for 2 weeks while dieting and exercising decreases waist size in overweight adults better than dieting and exercising alone. But drinking the juice doesn't further improve weight or body fat.
  • Blood circulation problems.
  • Cancer.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fever.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Malaria.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Sexual problems (impotence).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of goji for these uses.

How does it work?

Goji contains chemicals that might help lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Goji might also help stimulate the immune system and protect organs from oxidative damage.

Are there safety concerns?

Goji is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken appropriately by mouth, short-term. It has been used safely for up to 3 months. In very rare cases, goji fruit can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight, liver damage, and allergic reactions.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using goji during pregnancy and breast-feeding. There is some concern that goji fruit might cause the uterus to contract. But this has not been reported in humans. Until more is known, 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.

Diabetes: Goji might lower blood sugar. It might cause blood sugar to drop too much if you are taking medications for diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully.

Low blood pressure: Goji might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, taking goji might make it drop too much.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Goji might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking goji along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking goji, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), diazepam (Valium), zileuton (Zyflo), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), fluvastatin (Lescol), glipizide (Glucotrol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), irbesartan (Avapro), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), piroxicam (Feldene), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Tolinase), torsemide (Demadex), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Goji might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking goji along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Goji root bark seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking goji root bark along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low. Goji fruit does not seem to affect blood pressure.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
Warfarin (Coumadin)
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Goji might increase how long warfarin (Coumadin) 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 (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure
Goji root bark might lower blood pressure. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure might lower blood pressure too much. Some of these products include danshen, ginger, Panax ginseng, turmeric, valerian, and others.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar
Goji might lower blood sugar. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that lower blood sugar might lower blood sugar too much. Some of these products include bitter melon, ginger, goat's rue, fenugreek, kudzu, willow bark, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of goji depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for goji. 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 your pharmacist or physician or other 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 - 10/19/2017