Lycium Fruit (Fructus Lycii; Gou Qi Zi)

TCM Herbal Story


Lycium Fruit (Fructus Lycii; Gou Qi Zi)


According to urban legends, there once was a scholar who searched for days on ends for a deity to cure his sickly constitution. Just as his fruitless efforts started to amount to frustration, an unexpected event occurred. Apparently, a young woman was scolding and beating an elderly woman. Hurriedly he ran to the elderly woman’s rescue, reprimanding the young woman’s actions.


“Who do you think I am?” the young-looking woman snickered, “She is my son’s wife.” In disbelief, the scholar turned and questioned the frail looking maiden and she replied, “What she said is the truth. She is my mother-in-law. She’s already 92 years old, and I am his seventh son’s wife. I am turning 50 this year.”


The scholar looked left and right, close and far, but could not see how the young-looking woman could be the elder, and the old-looking one to be the wife. Puzzled, he asked for an explanation.


“I eat wolfberry fruit in all four seasons of the year,” said the grandmother, “seed saplings in the spring, flowers in the summer, fruits during autumn, and roots during the winter months. The older I live, the healthier I become. My hair has blackened, my face now shines with liveliness, and hence the reasons why I look like a woman in her 30’s and 40’s. Most of my son’s wives listen to my advice and eat wolfberry fruit frequently. They too, live a life without sicknesses and illnesses. The exception is this lazy glutton. Not only does she refuse to eat wolfberry fruit, but also vegetables. Eating poultry meats all day long has caused her body to be ill and sick.”


After hearing the truth behind the old grandmother’s longevity, the sickly scholar headed home and purchased wolfberry fruit so that he could eat them every day. As days passed, his illnesses disappeared, and he lived a long life till his 80’s.


The goji plant is a treasure. Its stems and leaves can be eaten as vegetables, and its fruit and bark can be made into traditional Chinese medicine.


Lycium Fruit (Gou Qi Zi) is the dried ripe fruit of Lycium barbarum L. of the Solanaceae family. Its properties are sweet and neutral. It enters through the liver, lung, and kidney.




Actions & Indications:

  • Nourishes and tonifies the liver and kidneys
  • Replenishes vital essence
  • Improves eyesight
  • Enriches the yin and moistens the lungs

Caution & Contradiction:

  • Loose stools
  • Spleen deficiency with dampness
  • Externally contracted excess heat patterns


The original article is from Brion Research Institute, translated by Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.


For Chinese/original version, please click:

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