Photo By * Beezy *Gou Qi Zi (Wolfberry)
Gou Qi Zi, also known as Chinese wolfberry, goji berry, or lycium fruit, is easily available in Portland at Asian food stores, New Seasons, and even Trader Joe's has a goji berry trail mix. While there seems to be some controversy over the "best" kind of Gou Qi Zi, in my opinion (as with any herb), organic is the way to go until we are able to grow them locally. Which isn't too far away - check out what groups such as High Falls Garden are doing (more on the subject of local, organic, and sustainable Chinese herbs in a later post)!
According to the Materia Medica Gou Qi Zi is a sweet fruit that is often used in herbal formulas to nourish and warm the body, and also assist the yin in the Kidney and Lungs. This means that it's a great mild herb to help with fatigue, low sex drive, eye problems as well as a general all around nourishing herb. It's often referred to as the "longevity herb," and is thought to help those who consume it on a regular basis live a longer life.
A combination of this tasty herb with chrysanthemum flowers is a great way to clear excess heat out of the body and help your vision. So whenever those promised hot days start making their way here, put a small handful of gou qi zi and a few dried chrysanthemum flowers (Ju Hua) into a glass and let it steep in hot water for a few minutes. You can even add some ice cubes to make a refreshing iced tea. Eat the berries when you're done- they're surprisingly sweet!