Truth about Gojiberry (Lycium)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Michael Thomsen
Posted on: October 13, 2005

I read one of your listings on the Tibetan Community response to one of the people involved in the so-called tibetan goji.

I am just looking for the truth! Are this tibetan goji berry company and the Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute of Tibetan Medicine bone fide, genuine institutions?

We have had no direct contact with the Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute so I cannot say from my own knowledge whether or not it is a bona fide organization. In the post to which you refer I noted that some members of the Tibetan community in the U.S. have had some concerns about the people behind the promotion of "gojiberry". I have some concerns about the claimed uniqueness of "gojiberry". I believe that it is simply the Chinese wolfberry that is widely used in Chinese medicine.

Does the variety they talk about, Lycium eleagnus barbarum exist? Is there a difference between their goji and the wolfberry from China? (provided that the wolfberry, L. barbarum, has been grown without pesticides etc)?

I have not been able to authenticate the name "Lycium eleagnus". It does not appear in any botanical reference that I have consulted, including the International Plant Name Index (http://www.ipni.org/ipni/query_ipni.html). On the other hand "Lycium barbarum" definitely exists; it is one of the two main species used in Chinese medicine. It is what we sell as "Chinese wolfberry".

As for the name "gojiberry" it is important to note that "goji" is not a Tibetan name. "Goji" appears to be derived from the Chinese name for wolfberry, "go zi". "Zi" means berry in Mandarin. In Mandarin, the "z" sounds similar to "j".

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