Known as the Chinese boxthorn, Chinese wolfberry, or Goji berry, this woody shrub grows in temperate regions of Asia, particularly the cold climates of China, the Himalayas, and Mongolia. The first to use the berry were the Buddhist monks hundreds of years ago. Rumors began that the monks who consumed the berries were enjoying longer, healthier lives. Today there is plenty of science that might support this claim, as well as the belief that the goji offers many other benefits to our skin. Here, we explain how you can incorporate the antioxidant benefits of goji berries into your diet and skin-care routine.
Stories of immortality aside, the goji berry is one of the most powerful antioxidant sources around and packs a punch of carotenoids, polysaccharides amino acids, and nutrients. The fruit was recorded in the first century B.C. in a Chinese herbal encyclopedia where it was suggested as a superior tonic for youth and vitality. Botanically called by their Latin name “Lycium barbarum,” the plant belongs in the same botanical family as tomatoes, eggplant, nightshade vegetables like potatoes, and tobacco. The flowers of the shrub are a beautiful purple or white and bloom in the summer months. The fruit of the goji is actually a bright orange-red and is produced at the end of the flower cycle. The berries spoil easily and are therefore usually dried as they are harvested. You may have seen these dried in the market. They are tart, like a cranberry, and are best when cooked, chopped finely, or soaked before eating.
Health Benefits of Goji Berries
Before adding goji berries into your diet or considering the goji berry for skin care routines, it is important that we take a look at the significant vitamins, minerals, and amino acids present in goji berries. Some of the most important, beneficial components found in goji berries are:
- Carotenoids: Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments that give color to some plants. Goji berries contain a high number of beneficial carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and xanthophyll. The presence of carotenoids in goji berries has been shown to enhance the healthy glow of skin and make it appear more youthful and radiant. It is notable that lycopene also shows up in high quantity in tomatoes, the goji’s biological cousin. The presence of carotenoids also brings vitamin A, which may improve vision and the overall health of the eye and skin.
- Polysaccharides: Polysaccharides function like an antioxidant and help to increase skin hydration and firmness.
- Minerals: Goji Berries are rich in minerals that benefit the human body and increase overall skin health. Goji berries contain 11 of the essential 22 minerals, including selenium, potassium, zinc, and iron. These powerful minerals have been proven to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.
- Amino Acids: Goji berries contain a number of vital amino acids that help to rejuvenate the skin and return it to a youthful, radiant glow. Amino acids contribute to the development of protein in our bodies and are critical to promoting wound repair and encouraging healthy tissue in muscles, bones, skin, and hair. Amino acids in goji berries also help with cleansing toxins from the body, eliminating waste, and detoxing the liver. Amino acids can also help with hydration in the skin.
- Vitamin C: Goji berries are comprised of high levels of Vitamin C, which helps them to protect the skin from environmental toxins and improve skin hydration and appearance.
What Do Goji Berry Benefits Mean for Skin Health?
Most of the things that feed our bodies also feed our skin, and goji berries are no exception. Laboratory studies have shown that the antioxidants in goji may help reduce sugar levels and lower bad cholesterol. Antioxidants in skin products work to help us protect our skin from the environment. The same exciting health benefits of minerals, vitamin C, polysaccharides, and amino acids all keep skin looking and feeling younger. Polysaccharides bring moisture retention qualities to the cells, and minerals feed and nourish the skin, making it shine with health.
Vitamin C, which is present in high amounts in goji berries, supports firming and tightening and protecting the skin. It has been shown to help reduce the appearance of age spots.
Goji berry extract has been shown to regulate tyrosinase activity and melanin production, which are both responsible for skin coloration. The addition of goji berries can help reduce the appearance of skin hyperpigmentation and even skin tones. Ayr Skin Care uses organic goji berry, along with mulberry root extract for this purpose in our Pure Moisture Day Cream.
Goji berry has also been known to decrease the level of skin-damaging molecules and promote the longevity of fibroblasts, cells that produce collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin production is at its most prolific when we are young and slows as we age, which adds to the myth that goji berries are somehow connected with youth.
The Power of Goji in Our Skin Care Products
When you combine all of these wonderful benefits of the goji berry for skin and overall health, you will see why we were so excited when we added goji berries to our formulas at Ayr Skin Care. You will find organic goji berry extract in our Pure Moisture Day Cream, Awaken Eye Serum, and Reveal Exfoliating Facial Wash. We also found that goji berries bring a lovely natural scent to our formulas without the addition of synthetic fragrance, which we love! This is a good example of one of our powerhouse skin care ingredients, with many health benefits for your skin that also naturally delivers on the scent. We have found that the best ingredients are those that have many benefits and can bring great anti-aging qualities to our products.
Health Benefits* of Goji Berry in the Kitchen
Look for dried goji berries the next time you are in a natural food store. You can try to incorporate them into your day by doing the following:
- Look for goji berry in juices
- Look for goji berry tea
- Add goji berries to trail mix for nutrition on the go
- Soak dried goji berries for ten minutes and add them to your oatmeal or a smoothie
Now that you have seen the numerous benefits, you may understand why we have incorporated these wonderful nutrition-packed berries into almost everything in our facial care line!
*Health Disclaimer: Please note that some people should check with their doctor before adding goji berries to their diet. Goji berries in their raw form can interact with some drugs as they have a blood thinning effect. If you take blood thinners such as Warfarin or Coumadin, you may wish to avoid Goji berries in your diet. They may also interact with diabetes drugs and blood pressure drugs. As with any changes to your diet, please consult your physician. Using them in your skin care routine should not interact with these medications, but ask your doctor to be sure.
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