We make no claims regarding the medicinal, preventive or curative properties of wolfberries (lycium barbarum). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. The wolfberry fruit has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for more than 2000 years. Modern scientists have been researching the potential of wolfberries (lycium barbarum) over the past 20 years. Scroll down to see these research articles posted on the National Institutes of Health (NIH.GOV) website.


Goji (Lycium Barbarum): Phytochemistry, Pharmacology and Safety in the Perspective of Traditional Uses and Recent Popularity

2009 Oct 20 Abstract

Since the beginning of this century, Goji berries and juice are being sold as health food products in western countries and praised in advertisements and in the media for well-being and as an anti-aging remedy. The popularity of Goji products has rapidly grown over the last years thanks to efficient marketing strategies. Goji is a relatively new name given to Lycium barbarum and L. chinense, two close species with a long tradition of use as medicinal and food plants in East Asia, in particular in China. While only L. barbarum is officinal, the fruit (fructus Lycii) and the root bark (cortex Lycii radicis) of both species are used in the folk medicine. We review here the constituents, pharmacology, safety, and uses of L. barbarum and L. chinense with consideration to the different parts of the plant. Investigations of the fruit have focused on proteoglycans, known as " Lycium barbarum polysaccharides", which showed antioxidative properties and some interesting pharmacological activities in the context of age related diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes. As to the root bark, several compounds have demonstrated a hepatoprotective action as well as inhibitory effects on the rennin/angiotensin system which may support the traditional use for the treatment of hypertension. While there are no signs of toxicity of this plant, two cases of possible interaction with warfarin point to a potential risk of drug interaction. In view of the available pharmacological data and the long tradition of use in the traditional Chinese medicine, L. barbarum and L. chinense certainly deserve further investigation. However, clinical evidences and rigorous procedures for quality control are indispensable before any recommendation of use can be made for Goji products.


Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides: Extraction, Purification, Structural Characterisation and Evidence About Hypoglycaemic and Hypolipidaemic Effects. A Review

2018 Jul 15 Abstract

In the last decades, glycoconjugates from Lycium barbarum L. fruit (Goji berry) have received a great attention for their potential health-promoting effects. The present review includes a survey of extraction and purification methods of these bioactive molecules (L. barbarum polysaccharides, LBPs), along with a dissertation on the structural characterisation of the carbohydrate component. Furthermore, an overview of in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies concerning the hypoglycaemic and hypolipidaemic effects of isolated LBP fractions, is reported. The evidence suggests that these purified components of the Goji berry may be potentially useful as adjuvants in the treatment of diabetes and its correlated illnesses.


Characterization and Hypoglycemic Effect of a Polysaccharide Extracted From the Fruit of Lycium Barbarum L

2013 Oct 15 Abstract

Diabetes mellitus is a group of complicated metabolic disorders characterized by high blood glucose level and inappropriate insulin secreting capacity due to decreased glucose metabolism and pancreatic β cell mass or dysfunction of β cells. Thus, improving glucose metabolism and preserving β cell mass and function might be useful for the treatment of diabetes. In this study, a novel acidic polysaccharide LBP-s-1 extracted from Lycium barbarum L. was obtained by purification using macroporous resin and ion-exchanged column. Monosaccharide composition analysis indicated that LBP-s-1 was comprised of rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, mannose, glucose, galactose, galacturonic acid in the molar ratio of 1.00:8.34:1.25:1.26:1.91:7.05:15.28. The preliminary structure features of LBP-s-1 were investigated by FT-IR, (1)H NMR and (13)C NMR. In vitro and in vivo hypoglycemic experiments showed that LBP-s-1 had significant hypoglycemic effects and insulin-sensitizing activity through increasing glucose metabolism and insulin secretion and promoting pancreatic β cell proliferation. Preliminary mechanisms were also elucidated.


Biochemical Analysis and Hypoglycemic Activity of a Polysaccharide Isolated From the Fruit of Lycium Barbarum L

2015 Mar 26 Abstract

Purification, characterization and hypoglycemic activities of polysaccharide from Lycium barbarum L. were investigated in this study. A water soluble polysaccharide (LBP) was obtained with ultrafiltration membranes separation, which was further purified by chromatography of DEAE cellulose column and Sephadex G-150 to get LBP3a and LBP3b. The high performance permeation chromatography (HPGPC) analysis showed that the average molecular weight (Mw) of LBP3b was 4.92kDa. Monosaccharide composition analysis revealed that the LBP3b was comprised of mannose, rhamnose, glucose, galactose and xylose with a molar ratio of 5.52:5.11:28.06:1.00:1.70. The preliminary structure features of LBP3b were investigated by UV, FT-IR, NMR and SEM. In vitro cell experiments showed that LBP3b had significantly inhibited the absorption of glucose in a dose-dependent manner. The study showed that LBP3b had potential use as an anti-diabetic agent.


Lycium Barbarum L. Polysaccharide (LBP) Reduces Glucose Uptake via Down-Regulation of SGLT-1 in Caco2 Cell

2017 Feb 22 Abstract

Lycium barbarum L. polysaccharide (LBP) is prepared from Lycium barbarum L. (L. barbarum), which is a traditional Chinese medicine. LPB has been shown to have hypoglycemic effects. In order to gain some mechanistic insights on the hypoglycemic effects of LBP, we investigated the uptake of LBP and its effect on glucose absorption in the human intestinal epithelial cell line Caco2 cell. The uptake of LBP through Caco2 cell monolayer was time-dependent and was inhibited by phloridzin, a competitive inhibitor of SGLT-1. LPB decreased the absorption of glucose in Caco2 cell, and down-regulated the expression of SGLT-1. These results suggest that LBP might be transported across the human intestinal epithelium through SGLT-1 and it inhibits glucose uptake via down-regulating SGLT-1.


Lycium barbarum Polysaccharides Improve Testicular Spermatogenic Function in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats

2020 Apr 17 Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the protective effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) on testicular spermatogenic function in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Compared to the control group, blood glucose levels were significantly increased and the insulin resistance was markedly aggravated in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Further, the weight of testis and epididymis and the sperm number and motility were decreased in diabetic rats. Pathological changes were also observed in the spermatogenic tubules, along with a decreased number of spermatogenic cells, downregulated proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression, and increased cell apoptosis in the testes. Compared to the saline-treated diabetic rat group, metformin and LBP treatment significantly decreased the level of blood glucose and improved insulin resistance and testicular function. After treatment with metformin and LBP, the pathological changes in the spermatogenic tubules improved significantly, with an increase in the number of spermatogenic cells, upregulation of PCNA, and suppression of apoptosis in the testes. The expressions of sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF-1α) in diabetic testes were also upregulated by metformin or LBP treatment. In summary, LBP exerted protective effects by increasing cell proliferation, inhibiting cell apoptosis, and regulating SIRT1/HIF-1α expression in the testes of diabetic rats.



An evidence-based update on the pharmacological activities and possible molecular targets of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides

2014 Dec 17 Abstract

Lycium barbarum berries, also named wolfberry, Fructus lycii, and Goji berries, have been used in the People's Republic of China and other Asian countries for more than 2,000 years as a traditional medicinal herb and food supplement. L. barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs) are the primary active components of L. barbarum berries and have been reported to possess a wide array of pharmacological activities. Herein, we update our knowledge on the main pharmacological activities and possible molecular targets of LBPs.


  • Several clinical studies in healthy subjects show that consumption of wolfberry juice improves general wellbeing and immune functions.
  • LBPs are reported to have antioxidative and antiaging properties in different models. LBPs show antitumor activities against various types of cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth in nude mice through induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.
  • LBPs may potentiate the efficacy of lymphokine activated killer/interleukin-2 combination therapy in cancer patients.
  • LBPs exhibit significant hypoglycemic effects and insulin-sensitizing activity by increasing glucose metabolism and insulin secretion and promoting pancreatic β-cell proliferation.
  • They protect retinal ganglion cells in experimental models of glaucoma.
  • LBPs protect the liver from injuries due to exposure to toxic chemicals or other insults.
  • They also show potent immunoenhancing activities in vitro and in vivo.
  • Furthermore, LBPs protect against neuronal injury and loss induced by β-amyloid peptide, glutamate excitotoxicity, ischemic/reperfusion, and other neurotoxic insults.
  • LBPs ameliorate the symptoms of mice with Alzheimer's disease and enhance neurogenesis in the hippocampus and subventricular zone, improving learning and memory abilities.
  • They reduce irradiation- or chemotherapy-induced organ toxicities.
  • LBPs are beneficial to male reproduction by increasing the quality, quantity, and motility of sperm, improving sexual performance, and protecting the testis against toxic insults.
  • Moreover, LBPs exhibit hypolipidemic, cardioprotective, antiviral, and antiinflammatory activities.


There is increasing evidence from preclinical and clinical studies supporting the therapeutic and health-promoting effects of LBPs, but further mechanistic and clinical studies are warranted to establish the dose-response relationships and safety profiles of LBPs.



In Search for Potential Antidiabetic Compounds From Natural Sources: Docking, Synthesis and Biological Screening of Small Molecules From Lycium spp. (Goji)

2019 Dec 27 Abstract

Current clinical antidiabetic drugs, like rosiglitazone 1, have been implicated in some serious side effects like edema, weight gain, and heart failure, making it necessary to find alternative agents. Partial agonists of peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ) were determined to possess improved insulin sensitivity without undeseirable side-effects when compared to full agonists of PPARγ, like rosiglitazone 1. The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) plants, Goji (Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense) are widely used for treating symptoms related to various diseases including diabetes and hypertension. Twenty-seven reported compounds from Goji were docked into both partial- and full-agonist binding sites of PPARγ. Amongst the docked compounds, phenylethylamide-based phytochemicals (5-9) (termed as tyramine-derivatives, TDs) were found to possess good docking scores and binding poses with favorable interactions. Synthesis of 24 TDs, including three naturally occuring amides (689) were synthesized and tested for PPARγ gene induction with cell-based assay. Three compounds showed similar or higher fold induction than the positive control, rosiglitazone. Among these three active TDs, trans-N-feruloyloctopamine (9) and tyramine derivatives-enriched extract (TEE) (21%) of the root bark of L. chinense were further studied in vivo using db/db mice. However, both TEE as well as 9 did not show significant antidiabetic properties in db/db mice. In vivo results suggest that the proposed antidiabetic property of Lycium species may not be due to tyramine derivatives alone. Further studies of tyramine derivatives or enriched extract(s) for other bioactivities like hypocholesterolemic activities, and studies of novel isolated compounds from Goji will enable a more complete understanding of their bioactivities.



Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Extracts and Its Taurine Component Inhibit PPAR-γ-dependent Gene Transcription in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells: Possible Implications for Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

2011 Nov 1 Abstract

The peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) is involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a preventable microvascular diabetic complication that damages human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Taurine is abundant in the fruit of Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry), and is reportedly beneficial for diabetic retinopathy. However, the mechanism of its action is unknown. Hence, we have investigated the mechanism of action of an extract from L. barbarum on a model of diabetic retinopathy, the retinal ARPE-19 cell line, and identified the receptor function of taurine, an active component of L. barbarum (Goji Berry) extract, which is potentially responsible for the protective effect on diabetic retinopathy. We demonstrate for the first time that L. barbarum extract and its taurine component dose-dependently enhance PPAR-γ luciferase activity in HEK293 cell line transfected with PPAR-γ reporter gene. This activity was significantly decreased by a selective PPAR-γ antagonist GW9662. Moreover, L. barbarum extract and taurine dose-dependently enhanced the expression of PPAR-γ mRNA and protein. In an inflammation model where ARPE-19 cells were exposed to high glucose L. barbarum extract and taurine down-regulated the mRNA of pro-inflammatory mediators encoding MMP-9, fibronectin and the protein expression of COX-2 and iNOS proteins. The predicted binding mode of taurine in the PPAR-γ ligand binding site mimics key electrostatic interactions seen with known PPAR-γ agonists. We conclude that PPAR-γ activation by L. barbarum extract is associated with its taurine content and may explain at least in part its use in diabetic retinopathy progression.


Reversal of the Caspase-Dependent Apoptotic Cytotoxicity Pathway by Taurine From Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells: Potential Benefit in Diabetic Retinopathy

2012 Apr 11 Abstract

Diabetic retinopathy is a preventable microvascular diabetic complication and a leading cause of vision loss. Retinal pigment epithelial cell apoptosis is an early event in diabetic retinopathy. Taurine is reportedly beneficial for diabetic retinopathy and is abundant in the fruit of Lycium barbarum (LB). We have investigated the effect of pure taurine and an extract of LB rich in taurine on a model of diabetic retinopathy, the retinal ARPE-19 cell line exposed to high glucose. We demonstrate for the first time that LB extract and the active ligand, taurine, dose dependently enhance cell viability following high glucose treatment in the ARPE-19 retinal epithelial cell line. This cytoprotective effect was associated with the attenuation of high glucose-induced apoptosis, which was shown by characteristic morphological staining and the dose-dependent decrease in the number of apoptotic cells, determined by flow cytometry. Moreover, we have shown that LB extract and taurine dose dependently downregulate caspase-3 protein expression and the enzymatic activity of caspase-3. We conclude that taurine, a major component of LB, and the LB extract, have a cytoprotective effect against glucose exposure in a human retinal epithelial cell line and may provide useful approaches to delaying diabetic retinopathy progression.


High Glucose-Induced Barrier Impairment of Human Retinal Pigment Epithelium Is Ameliorated by Treatment With Goji Berry Extracts Through Modulation of cAMP Levels

2013 Dec 15 Abstract

Human retinal pigment epithelium cells were used to investigate the mechanisms underlying blood-retinal barrier disruption under conditions of chronic hyperglycemia. The treatment with 25 mM glucose caused a rapid drop in the transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER), which was reversed by the addition of either a methanolic extract from Goji (Lycium barbarum L.) berries or its main component, taurine. Intracellular cAMP levels increased concurrently with the high glucose-induced TEER decrease, and were correlated to an increased activity of the cytosolic isoform of the enzyme adenylyl cyclase. The treatment with plant extract or taurine restored control levels. Data are discussed in view of a possible prevention approach for diabetic retinopathy.



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