Talk:Goji/Archive 2

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Discussion of the "Himalayan Goji Berry" Issue

As our obligation is to be as factual as possible, I want to raise this matter for discussion to get it right for the Article and so help the public who may come to Wikipedia for accurate information.

The current article segment is a new entry (Nov 28) that overwrote a researched, critical article on the unlikely existence of Tibetan goji berries in any significant quantities on the world market. At present, it reads

Tibet and Mongolia The name Tibetan Goji berry is in common use in the health food market for berries from this plant that are have been grown in the Himalaya region. The term was invented by Dr. Bradley Dobos of the The Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute to promote and market the Tibetan and Mongolian variety of the wolfberry in the west. [4]. This source produces only about 280 tons of berries per year.

The four italicized areas are questionable

1. "...Himalaya region". Other than from global marketing sources, what evidence or even deductive reasoning exists to support wolfberries growing in commercial quantities amid the Himalayas whose foothills are above 10,000' altitude? Western Tibet is a region of subsistence agriculture with unfavorable climate, moisture and irrigation, growing season, soil conditions, and cultivation practices.

2. "... term was invented by Dr. Bradley Dobos". So it says on the Tanaduk website, but who actually can believe that when the Mandarin for wolfberry, gouqi, has been pronounced similarly to "goji" over recorded time? See further explanation above under "Badagnani"

3. promote and market the "Tibetan and Mongolian variety". First, a Tibetan varietal of Lycium barbarum may exist but is it reasonable to think its commercial volume is sufficient to be marketed? What resources exist in western Tibet that would enable commercial-size farming, drying, and especially transporting out of Tibet? It was just a few months ago that China established a train route in and out of Tibet. Were berries transported before then via camel or yak? I think there is no objective proof that Tibetan wolfberry products are real -- just marketers' claims and a gullible public accept this.

Second, why mention Mongolia, an autonomous region thousands of km from Tibet? There are numerous regions and provinces in China that produce commercial quantities of wolfberries. Mongolia represents no special qualities as a source from research I have done. Please supply evidence.

4. "... source produces only 280 tons of berries per year." Another unverified quote from the Tanaduk website. As Dr. Dobos and the Tanaduk Institute have no publications in accessible literature, it is difficult to accept this source as valid. Email to Dr. Dobos produces an "undeliverable" message.

I feel we need to critique the Tibetan goji berry story as a myth developed by income-minded marketers of goji juice and dried berry products. It's a charming story that has proved commercially popular by an unquestioning public.

Debate and feedback welcomed! --Paul144 17:45, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, absolutely. Who overwrote the original section? They did that without discussion? That's no good; we should work together. Badagnani 23:13, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
[ originally posted one week earlier (diff) ]: "Contributor Lumos3 has rewritten the section, apparently accepting information from the obscure Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute in Tibet, founded by Dr. Bradley Dobos. There is no published research I could find from this institute or from Dr. Dobos. Native Chinese regard the Tibetan berry as either a myth or with such rarity that only a few hundred tons in total from the whole Tibetan region could be produced annually. In contrast, 40,000 tons are cultivated and harvested from commercial wolfberry farms annually in the one Chinese province of Ningxia (does not include picking of wild fruit). With the adverse geographical factors and poverty of Tibetan agriculture, it is unlikely that any reasonable quality or production of Lycium barbarum L. or its cultivars exists in Tibet. We need to help dispel this unsubstantiated marketing message from association with the increasingly commercialized Chinese wolfberry. The original text should be restored. --Paul144 19:57, 28 November 2006 (UTC)"

Proposal to Reinstate Critical Discussion of Tibetan Goji Berry

No other input on this topic so I'm proposing we go back to the original text that had been resident for many months and addresses misinformation on the internet about the uniqueness and special qualities of the "Tibetan" and "Mongolian" goji berry. I emphasize on the internet because this is the only location where information exists about Tibetan or Mongolian goji berries, i.e., there is no scientific or government information.

As previously evaluated and borne out by absence from credible, objective sources, the Tibetan and/or Mongolian goji berries (in commercial volumes supplying all of the vendors one can see on the web) are myths created by marketers of these products mainly in the USA and UK. Although an encyclopedia like Wikipedia should not normally engage in debate on commercial products, there is a prevalance of attention given the goji berry at present so consumers may come to Wikipedia looking for facts.

Notice this web essay published this past week http://www.foodproductdesign.com/blogs/doug/?m=art&a=6ch5144019.html

We need to address this issue objectively and not be persuaded by sympathies for Tibet or charming stories, undocumented anywhere in objective literature, such as our current article's reference to the Tibetan Tanaduk Institute whose publications and lead scientist can be found nowhere in the world's scientific community.

Concerning the section entitled Tibet and Mongolia was this previous text:

The name Tibetan Goji berry is in common use in the health food market for berries from this plant that are claimed to have been grown in the Himalaya region. Tibet as a significant wolfberry source is almost certainly a myth, however, as it is an unlikely region for commercial supplies of berries of any kind.

The Tibetan Plateau is more than 10,000 ft altitude with poor soil and arid climate conditions unfavorable for fruit crops. Defined by the geography of Tibet, year-round cold temperatures and frost would inhibit bud development and prevent fruit formation. Minimal subsistence agriculture and poor crop transportation facilities exist in Tibet. Although limited fertile regions suitable for crop production do exist in Tibet's river valleys [[1]], there are no objective commercial, scientific, or government reports for commercial production of Lycium species ("goji" berries, wolfberries) from Tibet.


Discussion needs to be added for Mongolia (why these two geographically-disparate regions are linked together presently to discuss wolfberry is another mystery), as the Wikipedia treatise on the Geography of Mongolia assures it is another impoverished desert region unlikely to be growing fresh fruit of any kind, quality or quantity.

Inviting discussion and debate on this topic valuable as a public service, I suggest a 3 day period from now for consideration and input after which I intend to reinstate the critical discussion above. --Paul144 20:03, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Completely agree. Lose the internet hype. Adam Cuerden talk 21:31, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Disagree This argument from theory cannot be said to be proof that Goji beries do not grow in the Himalaya. This source claims they do http://www.tanaduk.com/goji.html . The method of cultivation and locations are described here http://www.tanaduk.com/projects.html Lumos3 10:07, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Lumos, I suggest you put together your arguments about why you think the Tanaduk website is trustworthy, and we'll debate it out here.

It is acknowledged in the Article under Tibetan goji berry that berries may grow in some parts of Tibet, but evidence does not exist for commercial-volume production and scientific studies published under peer-review or independent contract lab assays. Please state your case. --Paul144 18:47, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Why the Tanaduk website is trustworthy I have removed the paragraphs that falsely portray Tibet as a desert in which nothing grows. The Tanaduk website is clearly different from the bulk of commercial exploiters of the Goji berry name.

  • It describes a local initiative to preserve the medicinal plants of the region.
  • It states names of people and places who have contributed to this work.
  • Most of the people named have academic qualifications
  • They do not claim the Goji berry is in anyway different to the wolfberry except in the location in which it is grown
  • They point out that the term Goji berry is a marketing term invented to enable maketing in the west
  • The Tanaduk Botanical Research & Institute is referenced independently here by the Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations, as active in local agricultural development. Lumos3 17:34, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Hello, you seem knowledgeable about this subject; are you affiliated with the Tanaduk Institute? Is that based in Tibet because the website does not give a mailing address other than one in the United States. Regarding the paragraphs that were blanked (and which I have restored), Tibet was not presented as entirely inhospitable to agriculture: the Himalaya Mountain chain was. The second paragraph that was removed does state that agriculture is possible in some of the valleys of Tibet. A recent South China Morning Post article found that most Tibetans encountered by the journalist, who traveled throughout the country, did not recognize the berries, and all the traditional medicine shops in Lhasa were carrying only Ningxia/Chinese produced wolfberries. Further, the "Lycium tibetica" epithet seems to be fictional, as I do not see this species listed anywhere other than on marketing sites. I also do not see any evidence that the spelling "goji" (which obviously comes from the Chinese "gou qi") was used to refer to the wolfberry earlier than the early 21st century. Badagnani 18:00, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Why the Tanaduk Institute is Not Trustworthy

Lumos, thanks for bringing this debate to the discussion. Your list contains some activities of the Tanaduk that are credible and look productive. Let's hope good horticultural research is going on there and rigorous, accurate discoveries will eventually be published to share with the world.

As with any scientific organization claiming credibility, however, the Tanaduk must be held to a high standard. When inconsistencies, outright fabrications, misleading pseudo-science and conspicuous political motivations are present on the same website as credible information appears, the good is irreversibly contaminated by the bad.

Then, in my opinion, nothing from that source is trustworthy.

My evidence (not all of it)

  • no publications or peer-reviewed research reports listed on the website
  • no competitive grants shown
  • no published scientific history of the founder, Dr. Bradley Dobos
  • illogical insistence that Tibet and Mongolia are linked via the goji berry and somehow geographically related
  • under “Lycium research”, the odd statement about natural abundance of the Tibetan Goji berry and its extremely rich nutrient content. There is no evidence at all of goji berries growing abundantly in Tibet (plentiful reasons why it could not) and Tanaduk has not reported assays of the rich nutrient content – how do they know this other than from available research on Chinese wolfberries?
  • statements like this: "...wolfberry has undergone many environmental, climatic and toxic changes since it was taken from Tibet thousands of years ago and cultivated in China." Does that not seem strangely unscientific and emotional to you? What Tibetan records exist from thousands of years ago to document the goji berry as originally Tibetan? There are many published Chinese references to the wolfberry from some of the earliest botanical publications.
  • "This ancient Lycium is aligned with a compassionate culture that needs help on all fronts. Tibetans have been, and continue to be brutalized by the Chinese to this very day. Tibetans are being imprisoned for saying they believe in Tibet and The Dalai Lama and are being executed by the Chinese government at this very time. Most recently last month, a Lama and his attendant were executed for showing support to Tibet. Chinese are now also claiming the Goji berry." Need we say more? The Tanaduk is a soapbox for elevating sympathies toward Tibetans. I (and likely most people in free countries) sympathize with the Tibetans for their past and current unpleasant political situation. Using the goji berry story as a lever for political emotions, fund raising and historical claims that might create a marketing advantage for the Tibetan Goji Berry Company is not a place for an encyclopedia.
  • Monograph No. 3 under “lycium research”: everything stated on that page as a health benefit is a myth. Where reference is made to more preliminary research results, the studies were conducted on Chinese wolfberries and have been published mostly by Chinese scientists. By my extensive search, there is no reference anywhere in the medical literature to a Tibetan goji berry.
  • "The people of Inner Mongolia who eat this berry live free of arthritis, cancer and diabetes with life expectancies well over one hundred years." In fact, Mongolia has one the poorest health and longevity records on the planet. The average life expectancy is 63 years [[2]]
  • Like me, did you think the Tanaduk Institute is located in Tibet? It doesn't say so specifically anywhere on the website but the following appears at the bottom of the page on Tibetan Medicine -- The Tanaduk center is in the San Juan Islands located off the coast of Washington state.

I could go on for another page or two, but the point is made. The Tanaduk website self-destructs as a credible source. --Paul144 03:21, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to add here a link to an email from Richters, pretty well-known "herb specialists", exposing "Dr." Dobos and his Tanaduk Botanical Research about their Goji-juice. --Stefano 21:47, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Impending death of the Tibetan goji berry story, February 9, 2007

This news released today[3] will require marketers and retailers of wolfberries (goji berry products including juices) throughout the EU to state nutritional facts and provide no misleading claims on their labels, assuring the death of the Tibetan goji berry marketing story. --Paul144 18:48, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

If they're going to be so stringent, why are they, in their preliminary press release, already using a mythical name for the berry (putting its actual name in a parenthetical reference)? If no official from this EU agency will actually travel to the purported growing areas in Xizang or wherever to verify that the berries are actually grown there, the resellers can probably continue to label the country of origin however they like, just as they do now. Badagnani 19:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Typical of previous assessments of the UK FSA -- which reports to the European Medicines Agency, so has sweeping effects on EU food safety and standardization (influencing the world the way the FDA does) -- there won't be any way to skirt around the label requirements. No matter what it's called or where it's from, the magnifying lens will be applied. FYI -- in the UK, the berry has been popularized as "goji" just by public discussion, see [4], search on goji, Regions (approx. per capita results) --Paul144 20:30, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Number of seeds

I just carefully counted the number of seeds in a large specimen of dried Chinese gouqi and again counted 51. The article says 10-30. Can some of you give this a try (it takes about 10 minutes, using the tip of a sharpened pencil to count them out) and see how many seeds your cultivars have? Badagnani 08:43, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Guys you are doing a GREAT JOB! Getting rid of all the marketing myths was not easy. Let's keep it this way.
Badagnani, I have tried to count the seeds on my wolfberry and they are never more than 15-20.
Concerning granny Li Qing Yuen, here is a passage from my "Guinness Book of Records", Ed 1972: "No single subject is more obscured by vanity, deceit, falsehood and deliberate fraud than the extremes of human longevity (...) The height of credulity was reached on 5 May 1933, when a news agency solemny filed a story from China with a Peking dateline that Li Chung Yun, the "oldest man on Earth", born in 1680, had just died aged 256 years" (sic).
Should we mention this at all in the article ? --Stefano 10:30, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting story. Does it mention wolfberry? The wolfberries I have are certified organic from Mountain Rose Herbs and are labeled "Lycii berries." The older batch I had were marked "Lycium barbarum" and the ones I have now are marked "Lycium chinense, aka Chinese wolfberry." I wonder why so many seeds compared to yours? Badagnani 15:34, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
I chose 3 dried berries (generic Chinatown, different packaging so likely different geographic crop origins) by size - small, medium and large - and placed them in a bowl of water for 24 hr. Not only did the berries become larger by soaking up the water but the seeds seemed to be a brighter yellow and larger than in dried fruit. Interesting how the inside of a water-logged wolfberry reminds me of a cut-open tomato -- afterall, they are botanically related and a tomato is really a "berry"!
The small berry had 19 seeds, the medium 43 and the large 38.
When I checked on Wikipedia's tomato page, I found this -- how interesting in relation to the topic and etymology we are interested in studying
The word tomato derives from a word in the Nahuatl language, tomatl. The specific name, lycopersicum, means "wolf-peach" (compare the related species S. lycocarpum, whose scientific name means "wolf-fruit", common name "wolf-apple").
--Paul144 16:18, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Wolfberry contamination

US FDA seizures of wolfberries:

2004
  • Wolfberries Dried
Sinotrans Ningxia Co.
64 Nanxun West Street
Ningxia, China
Cypermethrin
3/3/04
20A[]H99/
20B[][]99
FEI# 3004319653
FN5-0106435-9
SEA-DO
  • Wolfberries, Dried
Tangshan Haida Foodstuffs Co., Ltd.
Donghuangyu Town, Quanxi County
Tangshan, China
Dicofol
7/28/04
20A[]H99/
20B[][]99
DZ1-3019690-7 FEI# 3004337184
LOS-DO
2005
  • Wolfberry powder
9/20/05
Ningxia Federal Intertrade Co., Ltd.
Building 34, Chuang Xin Garden
High Tech Zone
Yinchuan, Ningxia, China
Cypermethrin
20B[][]99/
54F[][]99
347452 SEA-DO
FEI# 3004802127
2006
  • Wolfberries, dried
Ningxia Commercial Foreign Trade Co., Ltd.
14 Qianjin Street, Yinchuan, Ningxia, China
1/11/2006
Triadimenol, fenvalerate, cypermethrin
20A[]H99/
20B[][]99
358991 SEA-DO FEI# 3002875234
  • Ningxia Commercial Foreign Trade
Yinchuan Ningxia, China (Mainland)
SEA-DO EE6-1226192-9/1/1
20BGH99 DRIED WOLFBERRIES
25-JAN-2006
PESTICIDES
  • Shaan Xi Bio-Herb
Xian , CN
SEA-DO 112-8530792-1/1/1
54FYT99 852570792764 WOLFBERRY POWDER
27-JAN-2006
PESTICIDES
  • PRODUCT
Small dried red berries marketed as King of Medlar/Fructus Lychii/Dried Chinese Berry. Chinese text identifies product as Wolfberry Fruit (Fructus lycii). Packaged in 6 ways: a) 12 oz. City Aroma brand King of the Medlar b) 30 lb bulk King of the Medlar, Tiandu brand c) 10 oz Roxy briand Dried Chinese Berry/Medlar/Fructus lycheii d) 8 oz. Asian Taste Brand Dried Chinese Berries e) 13 oz. Sinbo brand Dried Chinese Berries f) 7 oz Asian Taste brand Dried Chinese Berries g) 5 lb Tiandu brand Dried Medlar Large h) 20 lb bulk King of Medlar, Recall # F-582-5.
CODE
No codes are applied to products.
RECALLING FIRM/MANUFACTURER
Recalling Firm: West Honest International, City of Industry, CA, by press release on May 4, 2005 and May 20 and May 26, 2005, and by letters on June 7, 2005.
Manufacturer: Fujian Fuzhou Tian Shan Foods Co., LTD, Fujian, China.
Firm initiated recall is ongoing.
REASON
Product contains undeclared sulfites.
VOLUME OF PRODUCT IN COMMERCE
1,961 cartons
DISTRIBUTION
CA, NY, and NJ
  • Wolfberry powder
1/12/2006
Shaan Xi Bio-Herb
Rm. 406 Shenzhou
Xian, Shaanxi, China
Cypermethrin, pyridaben
20A[]H99/
20A[]T99/
20A[]Y99/
FEI# 3005475672
20B[][]99
359013 SEA-DO
Shaanxi Bio-Herb Health Technology CO., Ltd.
37 Lianhu Rd., Room 602
Xian, Shaanxi, China
FEI# 3004261316
2007
  • Dried Goji Berries (Wolfberries)
Xi An Techteam Engineering And Industry (Group) C0., Ltd
Triadimenol, Acetamiprid and Fenvalerate
20B[]H99
398593 SEA-DO
3/F Borough A, Block A
No.181 South Tai Bai Road
Xi An, China
FEI #: 3004663338
1/24/07


(cur) (last) 23:15-23:21, 15 December 2006 Badagnani (Talk | contribs | block) (→Wolfberry contamination) (undo)


Derivation of Botanical Name, Lycium barbarum

I have never felt satisfied with how the botanical name was derived for wolfberry, Lycium barbarum. Most explanations (not by me, but others) seem deduced. I had researched this and found references to how Linnaeus assigned names. Lycium barbarum was first used apparently in 1753.

I learned that Linnaeus may have first considered the geographical origin of a plant to propose a new genus name. Because wolfberry was a native Asian plant, my sources speculated that Lycium came from the ancient region of Lydia (Greek, often confused as a Latin name) in western Asia (present day Turkey) and barbarum (Latin) means "foreign" which may have been apt for a region just being discovered by Europeans in the mid-18th century.

When I visited Wikipedia's tomato page, however, I found this reference: The word tomato derives from the Nahuatl language, tomatl. The specific name, lycopersicum, means "wolf-peach" (compare the related species S. lycocarpum, whose scientific name means "wolf-fruit", common name "wolf-apple").

Searching for "lyco" in Greek: lyco-, lyc-, lycos-, (Greek:wolf)[5]. It seems Lycium would safely be connected to the Greek, lyco-, so why would Linnaeus have linked this berry to wolves?

Chinese colleagues have told me the native legend is that wolves of mid-China were seen (hundreds of years ago) using the thick vines of wolfberry for cover, hunting small animals, and as a food source for themselves.

If this derivation is correct, it gives more depth to the common name "wolfberry" which is related via Solanaceae to tomato, the "wolfpeach". Have a look at the closeup picture of wolfberries in the article. Does each not look like a small plum tomato (Roma tomato or San Marzano tomato)? --Paul144 19:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi, I have found a very well-done description of wolfberry here. We might use some of it to modify "our" botanical description of the plant.--Stefano 21:47, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Stefano. Please make a suggestion here at Discussion about what you'd like to see added.

I found a site indicating that the USDA has been cultivating wolfberry at their facility in Pullman, WA for over 40 years, now indicating it as a germplasm resource via seeds[6].

Using that site, I found that the British Natural History Museum has a Linnaean Plant Typification Project [7] where Lycium barbarum is documented as an original species catalogued and named by Linnaeus in 1753.

Interesting that Linnaeus described tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) first in his monograph (on page 185) and that Lycium barbarum came on page 192, so there was already a reference to give the name "wolfberry".

There is insufficient information, however, to educate us further about whether Linnaeus himself called Lycium barbarum "wolfberry" after he had already named tomato Solanum lycopersicum or "wolf-peach". --Paul144 18:52, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I've just been through over 100 old and new sources on Google Books and think it's fairly conclusive that "Lycium" has no relationship with the Greek word for "wolf," the still somewhat inexplicable English name "wolfberry" notwithstanding. It seems to come from the ancient country of Lycia, for which the important ancient extract/juice/medicine lycium (Greek: lykion) is named, though this bitter medicine was likely made from a different plant such as buckthorn or barberry.[8] The etymology of the English vernacular "wolfberry" needs to be examined, but the theory that Linnaeus chose Lycium to refer to wolves is not plausible from the available evidence. Badagnani 10:50, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Goji juice

What is the evidence that commercially available "goji juice" is made from fresh, ripe berries rather than from reconstituted dried ones? If the former, the juice would have to be extracted in China, then shipped in liquid form (very expensive) or concentrated form (less expensive) to North America. Badagnani 20:45, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm aware of no such evidence. Dried berries would be a poor candidate source for making juice as they contain 10% or less water but you may be right about "reconstituting" water content in dried berries by rehydrating them after shipment, then making juice.
Some manufacturers apparently are freezing crushed berries (as a puree) that would contain less water than juice or concentrate but still enough for making juice later after shipping. A 50% juice concentrate is available from some importers whereas others are spray- or heat-drying the juice concentrate into a powder for shipment. It reconstitutes into a juice again simply by mixing it with water. The result is actually fresh-tasting. --Paul144 02:52, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
I presume that a number of the resellers are selling the same juice formula, purchased from the producing factory. We know that at least some manufacturers state on the label that their juice is made directly from ripe, fresh berries. However, it should be determined, and stated in the article, how exactly this juice is made. My guess is that the 90+% of the product comprises juices other fruits and berries, and the wolfberry component is in fact the wolfberry powder or other extract you mention. Badagnani 04:01, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Commercial site

1/28/2007 The direct link to Chet Day, A friendly skeptic looks at goji... is a commercial site. It has a direct link to "our products".

It should be removed.

Goji juice 00:33, 29 January 2007 (UTC) M Gordon

Sales site

Isn't this a commercial site? http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wolfberry&curid=1147329&diff=104193203&oldid=104081986 Badagnani 23:04, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Info Removed

Removed material posted by 203.23.238.46. It was the only such post from this user...

We would ask that Earl Mindell's proof be backed up.

The following is taken from the Tibet Authentic website [9].

"There are many Wolf berries and supposed Goji berries entering the market. Some brands even claim incorrectly to originate from Tibet. Only Tibet Authentic is the exclusive global business partner of the Tibetan Medical College (part owned by the Government of Tibet).
"Only Tibet Authentic goji berries are certified by the Tibetan Government to have originated in Tibet. Only Tibet Authentic goji berries can be traced conclusively to have originated in Tibet.
"The Tibetan Government and Tibetan Medical College will only certify Tibet Authentic Goji Berries as originating in Tibet and will not certify any other Goji or wolf berry on the market as Tibetan. Tibet Authentic company directors and management are regularly in Tibet to personally inspect the harvesting and packing of Tibet Authentic authentic Tibetan Goji berries.
"We challenge any competitor selling wolf berries or goji berries to provide evidence that their supposed Tibetan Goji berries originate from Tibet and that they have personally been to Tibet.
"Do not accept imitations. Tibet Authentic is committed to prevent the misleading assertions that products originate from Tibet when they do not. Tibet Authentic is now contacting Government enforcement agencies across the world to assist in the prevention of misleading advertising concerning Tibet.
"Tibet Authentic is working closely with the Tibetan Medical college and the Tibetan Government to prevent this practice from occurring across the world. Tibet Authentic Genuine Tibetan Goji Berries are pollution and chemical free and are unprecedented in benefits and taste. Tibet Authentic Goji Berries are wildly grown and 100% certified grown, harvested, picked and sun dried in the pristine and pure Himalayan mountains of Tibet."

I hope that clears up the fact that there are companies out there that are able to distribute Goji berries worldwide in large amounts. Certainly not the extent of the crops produced in China, but at least are free from industrial farming techniques and do not contain trace elements of toxic chemicals and heavy metals that industrially farmed Goji berries have been shown to contain. Tibet Authentic have been approached to specify the location of their berry crops so we can confirm their origin.

This information may or may not be correct, but it certainly doesn't read as encyclopedic in its current form. Please edit accordingly. SERSeanCrane 14:06, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

There is evidence by an independent reporter, Simon Parry of the South China Morning Post, that the story about Himalayan or Tibetan origin of goji berries marketed by Tibet Authentic is a fraud [10]. The berries sold by this company appear to come from Ningxia (north-central China, thousands of km from Tibet) or other undefined wolfberry-growing regions of China, and are packed in and shipped from Chengdu, Sichuan, China. --Paul144 19:04, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
It seems you have done the editing for me.
Like many others we are very offended that the entry for the Tobetan Goji Berries has not been updated.
I for one would like the text edited under the Tibet section to state that there is, at least, contention over the Goji berry industry in Tibet, not that "there's no chance in hell that Goji berries exist in Tibet" attitude.
Please change this text accordingly until we have some serious clarification. There obviously isn't enought proof either way yet; although it is stearing towards China as they seem to be best able to provide large crops.
Cheers
Ben Miles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 57.70.22.34 (talkcontribs) 00:20, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
It is agreed (and, in fact, stated in the article) that Lycium species do grow wild (and are cultivated to a very limited extent) in some regions of Tibet (speaking specifically of the current Xizang province of China, not Qinghai, which is not in the Himalaya Region). What is disputed is that the companies stating that the wolfberries they sell have been grown in the Himalaya Mountains or the Tibetan Plateau, by the dozens of tons, are selling berries that indeed were grown in this region. Mindell, for example, calls his FreeLife berries "Himalayan," yet his website states that the berries are not from the Himalaya Mountain Chain nor Tibet, but instead from Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Ningxia, which are all provinces of China located hundreds of miles from those mountains.[11] If the Australian Jacobson claims that all of his berries are grown in Himalayan regions of the Xizang province, it will be helpful to know the name of the county/town in this province where they are grown. The above comment seems to ignore the recent South China Morning Post article that found regular Tibetans all over the country to be unaware of commercial production of this berry within their region, and in fact many elderly Tibetans had never seen the berry before. This implies that this particular berry is not, and has not been, an important part of traditional Tibetan medicine, contrary to the numerous websites that claim it as an integral part of Tibetan culture. Of the several websites distributing traditional Tibetan herbal medicinal blends, none contains this berry, but instead uses other indigenous herbs. These facts need to be addressed in a serious manner. Further, the name "goji" is incorrect; I do not believe this is the actual term for the berries in the Tibetan language, as I have seen no proof of such. Let's have some actual facts behind these claims. Badagnani 00:18, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. I stand corrected. It does look like a marketing ploy doesn't it?
I actually just phoned Tibet Authentic, as I'm based in Melbourne, Asutralia, and they didn't seem very concerned about Wikipedia (pfft, one of the most searched resource sites on planet, why should we care? pfft!) and didn't really want to discuss the issue with me, even though I actually enjoy their product.
The fact that they tout the Tibet Authentic seal, but don't have any formal certifitation by the BFA, or other health and farming governing body says to me that they are from the Ningxia province. I hope there aren't any damn pesticides in them as that's one of the main things I try to avoid by eating certified organic foods! <rolls eyes>
Cheers guys. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 57.70.22.34 (talkcontribs) 00:30, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Good work. It is predictable, however, that you'd get few or no specifics from that company. Regarding pesticides and other synthetic chemicals on the berries, it does seem, from the U.S. government's seizures of wolfberries from China, that pesticides are indeed conventionally used in the growing of these berries in order to ensure an attractive (and non-eaten by birds) crop. Photos here appear to show growing of wolfberries, presumably in the summer months, in an area of Tibet and Jacobson apparently has made deals with various Tibetans, but it is still not clear that any percentage of his berries (let alone all of them) are grown in Xizang (Tibet). Birds do also eat wolfberries in Tibet, as the Parry article states, so likely pesticides would be used in growing them there as well, sorry to say. Badagnani 00:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
My mother-in-law owns a health food store on Phillip Island in Victoria, AUS, and has several brands of Goji berries in her store; Tibet "Authentic" included. The other brand is from a company called Power Super Foods. Their Goji berries are certified organic so I think I would much rather buy this brand from now on. If you guys have heard anything, good or bad, about this company and their Goji product, please let me know.
I think the berries are excellent and have got a real buzz from the tea before now - but I just hope that wasn't from my body reacting to potential pesticides rather than from the beneficial effects. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 57.70.22.34 (talkcontribs) 01:21, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Use/preparation

The article now has this text regarding wolfberries' use/preparation: "Wolfberries are usually used directly, and do not need to be rehydrated prior to use." This sentence, however, is poorly worded; in Chinese (and Korean, Japanese) culture, the dried berries are usually steeped in hot water, often with other herbs, to produce herbal teas, or boiled with meat and other herbs to produce a medicinal soup. The Chinese I've spoken to maintain that in Chinese culture they are not ever eaten "as is" from hand to mouth without cooking first, as some Western marketers recommend. I recommend changing the text to reflect this. Badagnani 19:41, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

It's both a traditional and now conventional matter about how the berries are consumed, as western cultures are perhaps more fond of moistened dehydrated fruit like raisins and prunes. It's possible that berries and all herbs such as leaves for tea were cooked before consumption in Old Asian practices.
Personally, I prefer the dried berries as they are, even if needing some additional moisture which can be supplied simply by exposing the berries to the open-air kitchen environment for a few hours, placing a small piece of moistened paper towel in the bag, or adding moist fruit like raisins or craisins to the sealed bag. The berries tend to plump up easily and are more enjoyable to chew as a snack this way. --Paul144 21:20, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
If you go to the Chinese grocery store, you'll see a wide variety of preserved fruits (most popular are preserved mei and li, both types of plums). Those are usually marinated with salt, sugar, and often also licorice and red chili, and eaten as a snack. The question is, do locals where wolfberries grow snack on them as fresh berries? The Chinese do have some fruits that they eat fresh, without peeling, such as yangmei. Badagnani 21:21, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Have you learned why Chinese do not eat dried wolfberries raw? Is it a matter of taste, tradition, precaution, or what? --Paul144 22:23, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
That's the question. I'm not sure even most of them know. They just say, "Oh, we never do that." As far as medicinal products, they do say, however, that proper "cooking" brings out the active components of medicines, which they do apparently consider wolfberry primarily to be --(a medicine rather than a snack). The above discussion of fat bringing out the fat-soluble zeaxanthin compounds would seem to go along well with the tradition of cooking the berries in meat-based soups. Some fruits, like longan are cooked for medicinal purposes from dried fruits, although the fresh fruits can be found canned and fresh when in season, in southern regions. I'll keep asking around. Badagnani 23:28, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Controversy of Wolfberry (Goji) Polysaccharides

I'd like to start a debate on this topic as it often comes into focus about wolfberries in 3 significant ways that should be covered in the article:

1.dried berries are sometimes described as having a significant percentage of polysaccharides, around 30% of dry weight, a relatively large component with potential food value;

2.about 25% of all scientific publications on wolfberries have focused on polysaccharide properties, the largest category of research;

3.marketers of goji juice products claim polysaccharides have specific, receptor-mediated effects on cells, even indicating they have special defensive roles in the plant, characteristic spectral peaks that reveal definition of one berry's geographic origin from another, cellular receptors in mammals, and “master” control properties over other bioactive chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters. This is visibly the most important marketed message for the uniqueness of wolfberries supposedly used to make Himalyan Goji Juice[12].

During the recently-aired investigative interview by CBC TV News with Earl Mindell -- a fascinating controversy in itself -- Mindell mentioned what he believes are special properties of goji berry polysaccharides[13].

What are polysaccharides? They're long-chain units of sugar molecules called starch or fiber that are used by plants in two ways – either for structural scaffolds (e.g., cellulose – the main structural component of plants -- is a polysaccharide) or for stored energy supplied by splitting off smaller sugar molecules for energy use as the plant grows. Photosynthesis uses sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to synthesize a plant's starch components such as glucose which chains into polysaccharides for fuel storage and structure.

When humans consume polysaccharide-rich foods, the nutritional benefit occurs as dietary fiber metabolized when the polysaccharides are fermented by the billions of bacteria in the large intestine – the Wikipedia article on dietary fiber describes these physiological actions and benefits of metabolizing fiber sources via fermentation occurring in the colon.

From other plants that have been well-researched for their polysaccharide content, physiological properties and potential health benefits are Ganoderma lucidum, -- mushrooms also called Reishi or Lingzhi, perhaps one of the most thoroughly-studied and effective herbs in Asian traditional medicine.

What is the science on wolfberry polysaccharides and what more can be said in the article?

1.Contract assays by different laboratories report consistently high polysaccharide content of 20-31% within the berries themselves

2.the scientific properties of wolfberry polysaccharides have been described only in laboratory research – 25 papers since 1998 addressing some of the same properties as for Lingzhi mushrooms which include immune-stimulation and activity against tumors in vitro, although none of these effects has been confirmed in humans by modern western science.

3.The concept that polysaccharides are “master molecules” is obscure to identify in origin – it is not even apparent why anyone would propose such a mechanism of action. The products of polysaccharide metabolism by bacterial fermentation -- short-chain fatty acids -- provide potential health benefits[[14]][15][16]

Among most important of these are short-chain fatty acids such as butyric and acetic acids. Without any scientific evidence that polysaccharides have active physiological roles involving their own receptors as proposed by Earl Mindell and Goji Juice marketers, it may be concluded that this is another area of misrepresentation commonly used by these people to mystify and glorify the goji story without use of published science.

Simply stated, polysaccharides are a source of dietary fiber which, upon fermentation in the colon, yields products with health properties. There is no literature to indicate that polysaccharides are in control of other molecules or cellular functions as claimed by Earl Mindell. Available science indicates polysaccharides are passive, not active, molecules both to plants and to humans who consume them within plant foods, gaining nutritional benefits as from other sources of dietary fiber. --Paul144 21:09, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Good. Back to biochemistry, I always wanted to understand more about the magic "polysaccharides" allegedly present in Lycium Barbarum. Thanks to Paul for inviting us to read more...and I tell you immediately that - with my deepest surprise - Mindell seems to be correct! My point of view - a bit long but I got excited - is the following:

I had a look to the last 4 paper in pubmed related to wolfberry, all of which are actualy dealing with its "polysaccharides". This one goes even further and analyses their structure.

The bottomline of those pubblications is that such "polysaccharides" seem to be bioactive (mainly showing some kind of antioxidant activity) in themselves. Importantly, they have nothing to do with "conventional" polysaccharides (the glucose polymers like cellulose or starch that Paul mentioned above). They have instead a complex structure - to cite again the latest article - "composed of 6 kinds of monosaccharides (Ara, Rha, Xyl, Man, Gal and Glc), galacturonic acid and 18 kinds of amino acids. CONCLUSION: LBP [lycium barbarum polysaccharide] is a kind of complex polysaccharides consisting of acidic heteropolysaccharides and polypeptide or protein, and LBP has Glycan-O-Ser glycopeptide structures".

Here is another article on Lycium barbarum glycopeptides

To me - a modest peptide chemist - this meant BOOM! "They are glycopeptides". It all make sense now. For unknown reasons, glycopeptides present in wolfberry have always been - wrongly - called "polysaccharides" and directly sold this way by Mindell & Co to "the goji customers".

Paul, I can confirm that (glyco)peptides do have: "specific, receptor-mediated effects on cells, even indicating they have special defensive roles in the plant [...] cellular receptors in mammals, and “master” control properties over other bioactive chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters". Well, I admit I have never heard of any antioxidant glycopeptide, as those reportedly present in wolfberry, but I cannot exclude that they exist (and I'm too lazy to look in pubmed again).

To give you another example, glycopeptides are ultimately responsible for our blood groups (the A,B,AB and O nomenclature simply refers to groups of individuals having different glycopeptide chains at the blood cells surface). Just google for "glycopeptide" to enjoy a sudden dive into complex carbohydrates, peptides, antibiotics and immune sistem). Immune sistem ? Goji ? Does this ring a bell ?

We can now discuss that the way they are sold for their "characteristic spectral peaks" is pretty ridiculous...but that's another story. --Stefano 21:28, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Stefano, thanks for adding to the analysis and your new section on glycopolysaccharides for the article. This is distant from my expertise, so I defer to you. I did call a senior scientist who works with fiber and was cautioned again about making comparisons about how polysaccharides that show "bioactivity" in vitro are almost certainly different after digestion and fermentation in vivo (which is not scientifically possible to measure at the level of the living colon).
I read the abstract of the new publication on wolfberry polysaccharides you referenced above, and ask the same question: despite isolation of a polysaccharide-protein complex from a fruit sample in the laboratory, what is the fate of that complex during a meal of wolfberries after exposure to acids and enzymes of the stomach and small intestine, i.e, after digestion? My bet is that the protein is cleaved away from the polysaccharide shortly after entry of the fruit (or juice) to the stomach acid environment. Then, the polysaccharide molecule -- being a resistant starch -- proceeds on its way through the digestive tract, unaltered, until it is fermented as a prebiotic dietary fiber by colonic bacteria. --Paul144 17:31, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Fully agree with you Paul. It all depends on how resistant their chemical bonds are to our digestive enzymes both in the stomach and in the intestine. We can happily digest starch to glucose by ourselves, while we lack the enzymes to break cellulose or fructans, which are therefore considered "fibres" as they go unaltered all the way down to feed our intestinal host bacteria. As you correctly pointed out, what we learn from the articles I cited is merely that the components of "polysaccharides or whatever it is that has an antioxidant properties" in wolberry are some aminoacids and a bunch of carbohydrates. Not enough information to say anything conclusive. I tend to agree with you that most probably the O-glycan bond would be broken already in the mouth even before arriving to the stomach...and probably all the rest will fall apart in the stomach or possibly be fermented to SCFA as you suggested.

I propose we mention anyway in the article that wolfberries do contain these "polysaccharides" or "glycopeptides" or whatever they are, as demonstrated by several research groups, and also because they are increasingly mentioned in the commercial sites. What we need to do is to clearly indicate to those who come here to know more about "their goji" that the fact that "polysaccharides with characteristic spectral peaks" are present in wolfberry before they eat them does not mean much, until these are isolated, structurally characterised, and their putative (antioxidant, anticancer...antimindell) activity demonstrated. --Stefano 22:56, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Why not create a WP article about glycopeptide, to explain what these compounds are? Badagnani 22:59, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

WOW signor Badagnani...I am afraid that this is going to be rather boring and to take a looong time... :o)

WOW signor Badagnani...I am afraid that this is going to be rather boring and to take a looong time... :o)--Stefano 23:05, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

  • WOW signor Badagnani...I am afraid that this is going to be rather boring and to take a looong time... I am not even able to correctly write this single sentence...:o)--Stefano 23:06, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, of course the article can start out short, then get longer over time. And as a chemist working in this field, who better than you to elucidate our readers about this subject?  :) Badagnani 23:08, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Ciao signor Badagnani...I am afraid that this is going to be rather boring and to take a looong time... I am not even able to correctly write this single sentence I had to write it 5 times before it became readible. Time to go to sleep for me! :o)--Stefano 23:08, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Pseudo-science and fabrication for a marketing advantage: misinformation about goji polysaccharides as "master molecules" with unique spectral signatures

A disservice to consumers occurs when a credentialed spokesperson makes glorified statements about health values of a natural product when no scientific fact exists to support those claims. Such has occurred in the case of Earl Mindell as the authority figure speaking on behalf of a goji juice manufacturer. In his book called Goji: The Himalayan Health Secret (ed. 1, 2003), Mindell enters two general areas where trained, credible scientists do not go:

1) from ancient myths, legends and research too preliminary to allow any conclusions about health benefits, Mindell exaggerates the effects regular consumption of goji juice may have on its users, claiming more than two dozen health benefits (book chapter 2). Among these are longer life, lowered blood cholesterol, weight loss and cancer prevention – that is, major effects on major diseases. No peer-reviewed, published science exists to support these effects.

2) from Chinese abstracts and no research of his own, Mindell extrapolates preliminary science by others into an illogical theory, but publishes this in promotional literature that marketers of the juice use religiously to impress gullible consumers.

He does so by saying that eating wolfberries or drinking the juice yields four goji polysaccharides – these are long-chain sugar units digested into smaller carbohydrates or fermented as fiber (above discussion) that take on special control properties after ingestion. Interpreting Mindell's book, one would assume the new molecule becomes bioactive by forming protein-carbohydrate complexes called proteoglycans that have specific receptor-mediated actions. There is no published science at all to demonstrate this for goji berry polysaccharides.

Mindell further proposes these goji berry polysaccharide glycoconjugates are “in balance” in the goji juice to control and direct communications between cells, another fabrication without scientific evidence.

Lastly, Mindell makes a simple invalid inference that if a high spectral signal is found in certain goji berries, then this signal must be associated with the four master polysaccharides he proposes[17].

There is no published science to support a relationship between spectral signal and specific polysaccharides. Publications on Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, FTIR, indicate it can be used to “fingerprint” goji or other plant species from different cultivation regions, but this does not rely on polysaccharides specifically, nor is it widely accepted scientifically or in common practice within the berry industry.

There are only three preliminary publications (two by the same Beijing research group; from original Chinese, so only English abstracts are available) describing use of this method on wolfberries and none since 2004, indicating a relatively dormant research topic[18] [19] [20] .

People consulting Wikipedia come here possibly supplanted with misinformation about goji] berries as provided by Mindell's writing and public presentations. It is our obligation to expose fraud where it exists, discuss science here as thoroughly as possible, then insert the best facts into the Article. --Paul144 20:30, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Following Paul advice I read the goji book chapter 8 (http://www.gojibook.com/pdf/SC08.pdf) and almost suffocated laughing.

Here is the (simply shameless) relevant part of “the book”: ***Now armed with the FT-IR spectral signature technique, goji scientists began to collect samples of Lycium species from every well known growing region throughout Asia: Ningxia, Xinjiang, Gansu, Tianjin Shi, Qinghai, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan andTibet. As they fed the berries into the spectrometer, an interesting pattern began to emerge. There seemed to be a great similarity between the spectral signatures of goji berries from each of these regions. That was to be expected, as all goji varieties have a close family resemblance. They are all of the Lyciumgenus. There were several peaks, however, that varied greatly in height for different samples of berries. Spectral signature graphs of berries from Xinjiang and Ningxia tended to exhibit the highest peaks, with the rest of the samples showing peaks that were lower to varying degrees. To the researchers, the discovery of these peaks indicated that there might be some unknown active compounds present in the goji berry, and that they were found in the famous berries of Ningxia and Xinjiang at higher levels than in the less renowned berries. […] It had become obvious that the best goji berries were those with the highest peaks on their spectral signature graphs. Now it was time to find out what phytochemicals were responsible for those peaks. From information gleaned from the spectral signatures, scientists were able to determine the chemical nature of the unnamed active compounds in the goji berry. They did not know their exact structure, but they knew that they would be looking for bioactive polysaccharides, and that made them very excited. Until recent years, scientists had lumped all polysaccharides together with other carbohydrates such as starches and sugars. They had considered them to be of value only as a source of energy. But that had all changed when it was discovered that certain types of polysaccharides could cause profound and beneficial changes in the human body. What are Bioactive Polysaccharides? Bioactive polysaccharides, also called proteoglycans, are a family of complex carbohydrates that are bound to proteins. They are produced by some plants as an extremely effective defense mechanism against attack by viruses, bacteria, fungi, soil-borne parasites, cell mutations, toxic pollutants and environmental free radicals. ***

A couple of comments: - IR is a very rough technique used since ever (the “FT” part is just a mathematical elaboration of the spectra obtained) to get a very first idea on the structure of molecules you are faced with on the basis of the chemical bond they contain. Nowadays it is mainly applied for very specific studies on specific bonds. Of course it may be used to “fingerprint” Goji “polysaccharides” (you get an infrared spectra resulting from hundreds of overlapping absorptions of different bonds of a mixture of different substances at different concentrations and compare this mess with another mess coming from somewhere else and notice that they are different. WOW! “A spectral signature!” I am going to order the chinese articles about FTIR to have a look at these spectra). There are so many more useful analytical techniques (NMR, Mass spectroscopy) which are now used routinely to get adequate information and are carried out after an at least partial purification of the substances you are examining (rather than “feeding the berries to the spectrophotometer”). Part of these procedures were actually used in the article I cited before to characterize wolfberry glycopeptides. So, there is some hope.

- Proteoglycans are a very specific group of glycoproteins having a number of characteristic carbohydrate chains, which by the way DO NOT seem to be present in goji according to the only available article where their structure was elucidated (“LBP was composed of 6 kinds of monosaccharides (Ara, Rha, Xyl, Man, Gal and Glc and galacturonic acid”). Here is an article which perhaps makes it clearer the structure of these glycoconjugates.

Until further reliable structural studies are done, probably “glycoconjugate” is a vague enough term to be used in the article to define wolfberry “polysaccharides”.

Guys, I had no idea people could go so far with misinformation. I do feel sorry for those reading this “book” and actually believing it. My question for you as wiki experts is: is it an article in wikipedia the right place to expose Dr Mindell as a charlatan ? --Stefano 22:46, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Removal of paragraph from Article section discussing marketing claims in Canada and the US

The section below in italics was posted on 20 Feb by unregistered user 68.41.176.63. It was inserted beneath the first paragraph in the section discussing Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States, addressing statements made by Earl Mindell in the CBC TV News interview[21].

It must be noted that in the broadcast, the interviewer attempted to assert the Himalayan Goji Berry properties to the Himalayan Goji Juice. The actual Goji Berry properties and the Himalayan Goji Juice are different for a specific reason in isolating the four unique polysaccharides attributed to the Himalayan Goji Berry in juice form. Certain attributes of the berry have been intentionally removed such as proteins. The Himalayan Goji Juice produced by the U.S. Company states on its label that a 1 liter bottle contains reconstituted Himalayan goji juice from whole Lycium barbarum fruit, grape juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, apple juice concentrate, pear pruee and natural flavor, with sodium benzoate and potassium sorbated added to maintain freshness. The other additive ingredients are used for flavor and preservation.

This is marketing information not appropriate for the Article. As stated above in this part of the Discussion, the science concerning goji polysaccharides is only at the laboratory stage, giving no confirmable evidence or significance to what Mindell states are "unique" properties (a fraud claimed by him and used by marketers of Tibetan goji berries and Himalayan goji juice as unique health properties).
The only confirmed way the polysaccharides are unique is that their molecular weights (therefore, their molecular sizes, diameters and linkage structures) are different[22][23][24]. The diversity of physical structure of polysaccharides is evident in the Wikipedia article on them, defining a structural and energy source of plant foods that would be broken down into smaller units within the acid and enzyme environment of the stomach, dismissing any in vivo physiological "uniqueness" observed in the laboratory petrie dish or test tube.
Furthermore, there are not just 4 but 8 total polysaccharides identified to date by Chinese extraction and physicochemical studies, each having a distinct molecular weight (and therefore different physical characteristics). --Paul144 15:21, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Nicotine content?

Does wolfberry contain nicotine? Eggplant and other solanum vegetables, which are related to wolfberry, do; see, for example, http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/drugs.html -- a study on breastfeeding and the use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and marijuana -- which says, "avoid vegetables containing considerable amounts of nicotine - eggplant, green and pureed tomatoes and cauliflower. Ten grams of eggplant provides the same amount of nicotine obtained in three hours in a room with minimal tobacco smoke (Laurence 1985)." (For the context of this sentence, realize that 10g is very small -- a typical eggplant portion is more like 100g.) This link is very interesting, and I recommend it. Eggplant apparently contains copious amounts of nicotine; tobacco is by far not the only plant to do so. Badagnani 21:51, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

There is no mention of nicotine in wolfberries according to medical literature searchable via PubMed (US National Library of Medicine). An interesting study of other Solanaceae species -- including tomato, potato, chili pepper and tobacco (all Solanaceae cousins of wolfberry) -- showed each had nicotine content with decreasing levels progressively during ripening. The amounts, however, were very small on the order of 0.000004 grams per kg of fresh weight[25] Because wolfberries would be eaten only when ripe -- and the dried fruits we eat are from ripened berries -- it could be assumed nicotine content would be immeasurably low when ripened berries are good for eating. --Paul144 02:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks--but the study you found doesn't include eggplant? Badagnani 02:29, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

More vernacular names

"Squawberry" and "Desert Thorn" seem to be more vernacular names for Lycium species, in this case Lycium andersonii. Badagnani 08:19, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

In the Introduction, the article states that one of wolfberry's names is "medlar" which I believe is inaccurate. Medlar is described on Wikipedia as genus Mespilus from plant family, Rosaceae, a disparate species from Lycium barbarum. The berries from the two plants bear little resemblance.
From GRIN, the USDA germplasm resource[26], one can search for synonyms of a given plant. Medlar does not retrieve any relationship to Lycium barbarum.
This questioning came up after I discovered use of the term medlar from a China Daily post last week about the 2007 wolfberry harvest in Ningxia[27] -- a report that stimulates the question, "why would Chinese sources be using medlar as a synonym for wolfberry?--Paul144 13:00, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The references below from GRIN indicate the name "medlar" derived probably as a mistake of translation between Chinese-English. Does anyone know the original source for using Medlar as a common name for Lycium barbarum? Medlar is not listed as a common name for Lycium in the USDA-GRIN database, but is listed as a common name for the species below.
GRIN for Lycium barbarum L.[28]
Use GRIN search[29] to enter the query: common name = medlar
  1. Crataegus azarolus L. (Mediterranean-medlar)
  2. Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. (Japanese-medlar)
  3. Mespilus germanica L. (medlar)
  4. Mimusops elengi L. (medlar)
  5. Vangueria infausta Burch. (medlar)
--Paul144 18:35, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Wolfberry poem

We need to get a source for the purported poem about wolfberries by Liu Yuxi. None of the websites that cite the poem state in which book it may be found. Badagnani 06:11, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

See below for poem and analysis. Badagnani 07:50, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Liu Yuxi's poem

The text of Liu Yuxi's Tang Dynasty-era poem, in 7-syllable phrases--which apparently references wolfberries--is as follows. It seems that the actual name wolfberry isn't in the poem itself but in the introduction or title. The poem mentions "deep/blood red berries" (), however.

卷360_8 「楚州开元寺北院枸杞临井繁茂可观群贤赋诗因以继和」刘禹锡

from http://www.lingshidao.com/gushi/liuyuxi.htm (seems to be Liu's complete poems, in simplified characters). Badagnani 04:29, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Two interesting things in this poem: the character is the same as the first syllable in Lingzhou, an ancient city in Ningxia, and the line seems to imply that the plant's roots look like a dog. It's the hardest part of the poem to figure out. Badagnani 05:01, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The 灵[靈] probably has nothing to do with Lingzhou, it just means that the tree is blessed or "spirit"ed in some way. As for 根老新成瑞犬形, yes it is hard to translate, so my best guess is, "the root is old / matured / ripe, and has newly become the shape of an auspicious dog." -- ran (talk) 01:36, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Species

Lycium halimifolium Miller should be discussed in the article--what is it? Some websites say it's essentially the same as L. barbarum. Also, what are the specific differences between L. chinense and L. barbarum? I'm not sure the article is clear about that either. Badagnani 19:18, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Lycium root bark

Lycium root bark (dìgǔpí; 地骨皮) should be given serious treatment, as the article is not just about berries. (Wouldn't it be funny if this part of the plant were to have been the one that caught on in the West?) Badagnani 19:20, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Related Chinese species

Should these species be added? One particularly interesting one is the "black-fruited wolfberry," which is said to grow in Tibet and other dry, cold places with saline soils. Badagnani 22:37, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

==Another Chinese website==This chinese website has information about the specific times of the year of the harvest, and also explains why it's called "wolfberry" (because the root, when dug up, is in the shape of a dog). Is that verifiable? Badagnani 05:46, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Need translation

Need translation of this text about the "Immortals Village" supposedly recognized by an ancient king, in Penglai County, where every household has a wolfberry plant: Badagnani 05:57, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

蓬莱县 = Penglai County. Is this in Shandong? Badagnani 06:00, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe Penglai City -- home to the Eight Immortals? Badagnani 06:01, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Yep, old Penglai County = current Penglai City. -- ran (talk) 01:33, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Historical information

Historical information here, to evaluate for inclusion. Badagnani 08:17, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Wolfberry in the most ancient Chinese records

The thesis of this Chinese article is that the evidence shows that wolfberries were described in Shang times, and even well before, used primarily to produce fermented alcoholic beverages (i.e. wines). Needs to be evaluated (keeping in mind that it could be considered speculative propaganda from a wolfberry producing region). Badagnani 08:29, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Shi Jing mentions

The use of the character in the Shi Jing may refer to the wolfberry, or maybe to something else: the willow tree, or the "medlar" fruit (possibly Crataegus, the Chinese Hawthorn). 杞 appears in poems 76, 162, 169, 172, 174, 204, and 205. The modern name 枸杞 is never used in the Shi Jing, so it isn't clear exactly what plant is being referred to in each case. Badagnani 21:35, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Check out the references by cutting and pasting 杞 into a CONTROL-F search through this website, which contains the full text of the Shi Jing. Badagnani 21:38, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

News Site

There are some interesting articles relating to Goji at this site: http://www.freelifegojinews.com/ SERSeanCrane 05:23, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Section in the Article to Address Fraud

From above, News Site -- this is information that should be given a separate section in the Article.

People using Google to search for "wolfberry" or "goji" will find Wikipedia near the top of retrieved searches, and will come to the Article for facts.

I suggest we build an explanation of fraud that is in the goji juice and dried berry industries (e.g., Authentic Tibetan Goji Berries), together, arguably, 90%+ of all wolfberry products sold today in the world outside of China.

Here's a possible title and list of topics -- let's flesh this out here first to get it right -- input invited by anyone

Title: Fraud Exposed in Marketing of Himalayan Goji Juice and Tibetan Goji Berries

Topics pertaining to both:

  • geographic origin
  • misleading nutrient composition and antioxidant strength
  • misleading and/or false health claims
  • specifically fabricated science, a) anti-cancer effects, b) polysaccharides as "master molecules", c) spectral signature of goji berries
  • requirements the FDA would make to qualify use as a "drug" (examples of mangosteen (Xango) and noni juice products -- see [30][31])

--Paul144 18:00, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

This seems well reasoned but might merit its own separate article (which could be linked under a heading similar to, though not necessarily as strongly worded as the one you propose above). Don't forget also the claim that the berries are grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals whatsoever. Badagnani 18:07, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
It would be nice, however, if we could work together on some of the issues addressed above before starting into new ones. For example, the other Chinese Lycium species should be evaluated, discussion of the root in TCM, interrogation of the early Chinese sources, etc. Badagnani 18:09, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Tibetan goji berry

This section diverges from the topic and uses unencyclopedic language. I have trimmed it down and added a citation to support the assertions. Lumos3 10:06, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Claims of marketers that their berries are grown in Tibet (i.e. Xizang) are not supported by facts and recent articles have shown that such berries are not grown in commercial volumes there, and are in fact largely unknown to the population there. Badagnani 10:10, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
That’s what the section now says. Lengthy (and unsourced) descriptions of the barrenness of the Tibetan plateau and backwardness of its agriculture are unnecessary and are pushing a POV argument. They are also probably huge generalisations and a disservice to the Tibetan people. Lumos3 10:18, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Similarly for the discussion above concerning the Tanaduk Institute, the burden of proof for whether goji berries grow in Tibet in quantities sufficient to supply an export market lies with those making the claim. Lumos, provide your evidence with objective references. --Paul144 15:23, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The South China Morning post article states that wild berries grow in the region. This is now cited in the article as Note 4 . - "Fruitless Search for the Tibetan Goji Berry" by Simon Parry, from South China Morning Post, December 2, 2006 (PDF file). My point is that trying to argue here that it is impossible to grow Wolfberries anywhere in the vast region of Tibet is not what Wikipedia is for. Stick to citing sources. There is no evidence of an export trade. That statement will do unless evidence does emerge. Also please don't cite wikipedia itself as support for an assertion, this is bad practise. Lumos3 18:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
No reasonable person would argue that no berry plants grow in Tibet. We understand from other sources cited in the Article's News Stories[32] that small plantations are growing near Lhasa and there are rare finds of isolated goji berry vines growing wild in Tibet, as reported in Simon Parry's article. The emphasis is on commercial production of berries from Tibet, i.e., thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of tons annually, as many in the public are led to believe by the countless vendors of Tibetan Goji Berries or Himalayan Goji Juice[33].
I disagree with you about using Wikipedia as a reference. What are we doing this for if not to build the best fact base available? If one uses Wikipedia thoroughly, including cross-checks on other internal links and references provided, the information quality is the highest one can find for many topics. If you have more complete references, please use them. --Paul144 20:31, 23 February 2007 (UTC)