Gojiberry in Tibetan Medicine II
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: David Badagnani
Posted on: March 01, 2007

Many thanks for your exhaustive and helpful answer to my inquiry. In the meantime, I have heard back from Mr. Trausti, of the Tibetan Language Student website (he lives in Vancouver), who contacted some of his former colleagues at the Astro Medical College in Dharamsala (he formerly worked there, creating computer systems to distinguish these many plant names, which, as you mention, can be complicated, with a single name referring to more than one species).

I am attaching the page from the Tibetan medical book that features this plant. Apparently it is called in Tibetan dre-tsher-ma (), with dre meaning "ghost" and tsher-ma meaning "thorn"; and the name of the fruit is dre-tsher-mai-dre-bu (), with dre-bu meaning "fruit."

He didn’t mention the "phang-ma" but I will ask about this. Perhaps it more properly refers to a species other than "Lycium."

It’s interesting that it’s also unclear exactly which berry the ancient Greek concoction "Lycium" (Lykion), which Pliny mentions as being good for the eyes, was made from -- boxthorn, buckthorn, or barberry.

I have placed some of this information in the Wikipedia article about Wolfberry, here, in case you are interested in taking a look:


I agree that the claims of the marketers (in particular the misrepresentation of the name, species, and geographic origin) are disingenuous, and that is why the fact that we now know the Tibetan name -- and it doesn’t sound anything like "goji" -- is a very good thing, as it dispels at least one element of the misinformation.

Many thanks, again, for your assistance in pursuing the truth about these esoteric subjects.

Thank you for posting the Wikipedia entry on wolfberry. You have done an impressive job with it, and I shall be referring people to it as we continue to field questions about gojiberry and wolfberry. And thanks for the piece of the puzzle about dre-tsher-mai-dre-bu.

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