2016/03/25

Gouqi (wolfberry)

 

This is a deciduous woody perennial plant, growing 1 meters to 3 meters tall.

Wolfberry leaves form on the shoots either in an alternating arrangement or in bundles of up to three, each either spear-shaped or oval. Leaf dimensions are 7 centimeters long by 3.5 centimeters wide with blunted or round tips.

One to three flowers occur on stems 1cm to 2cm in length. The calyx consists of bell-shaped or tubular sepals forming short, triangular lobes.

The corolla is lavender or light purple, 9mm to 14mm long with five or six lobes shorter than the tube. The stamens are structured with anthers that open lengthwise, shorter in length than the filaments.

Flowering usually occurs from June to the end of September and berry maturation happens from August to October, depending on latitude, altitude and climate.

These species produce a bright orange-red, ellipsoid berry 1cm to 2cm long. The number of seeds in each berry varies widely based on cultivar and fruit size, containing anywhere between 10 to 60 tiny yellow seeds that are compressed with a curved embryo. The berries ripen from July to October.

Growth characteristics

An adaptable plant, gouqi is resistant to cold, dryness and alkaline soil. Seedlings from seeds won't blossom and reproduce fruit in the first year while cuttings can bear fruit as soon as the first autumn. The peak of fruit bearing starts in the 5th to 6th years, and declines in 40 to 50 years.

Function

A "neutral" herb that can help nourish yin, reinforce blood, benefit the liver and kidneys, improve eye-sight and nourish the lungs. It can be used for dietary treatment for deficient yin energy in the kidneys as well as dizziness, earache and sore bones due to deficient blood and energy.

It can also help anti-aging. And it is especially recommended for diabetes patients as it can help relieve related symptoms such as fatigue and urinary problems when used together with shan zhuyu (evodia) and huangqi (milk veteh).

Both the leaves and fruits can be eaten for the above functions, yet fruits usually function better than the leaves. It is suggested to cook with the leaves in the first half of the year while using the fruit in the last six months.

How to use

Chewing. Wash the berries and bake for a few seconds in a microwave oven. Chew about 15g in the morning and at night.

Congee. Add washed wolfberries while cooking congee.

Tea. Pour boiling water on the washed fruit and keep it for 2 to 5 minutes before drinking. The berries can also be eaten.

Wine. Soak the fruit in yellow wine or white spirit for about seven days before drinking.

Soup. Add the fruit in when cooking soup.

Warning: Do not eat more than 30g of wolfberries a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment