Tanaduk Botanical Research
Institute of Tibetan Medicine

Tanaduk Initiates New Studies With Tibetan Berries
Monograph 92

Research Study

The Tanaduk Research Institute studies show that the Tibetan Plateau and Mongolia with its bordering mountains, represents unbroken connections from tropical to extremely cold, prehumid to extremely arid conditions. The flora accordingly is extremely rich and varied in places, largely very insufficiently known, but highly important to the understanding of the variation and radiation of Northern hemisphere mountain floras as well. In terms of biodiversity, SE Tibet and Yunnan and NW Tibet, Xinjiang has narrow intervening belts, that is unique on earth. We have been researching in these area's since 1973 and have brought much support to the local farmers and the conditions supportive to Goji farming.

Over twenty Types of Tibetan/Himalayan Berries

Tanaduk researchers have studied over twenty varieties of Tibetan berries that display similar taxa characteristics and phytogenetic relationships to the Tibetan Goji. The Tibetan Goji berry, also called phangma (Tibetan) is one Lycium variety that is in abundance, grown free of pesticides or any chemicals and is not endangered. It offers phyto energetic properties that are so high that there is no comparison available to any Western or Eastern berry.

Among the berries we are researching and that contain similar phytogentic characteristics are the pink fruited Soulieana of the Berberidaceae family- these include, aggregata, chitria, aristata, gagnepainii, sikkimensis, sibirica, canadensis, asiatica, thundbergii and chinensis types. Among the Lycium types are berlandieri, barbarum (the wolfberry type from China), halimifolium, vulgare, cooperi, macrodon, carolinianum, andersonii (another wolfberry type) and afrum.

The fruits range in color from light pink to deep purple and offer a variety of flavors from a tart lemon to a sweet prune taste. You can see that there are many more varieties of these special berries then the overly domesticated Chinese Lycium barbarum - wolfberry.

Medicinal Uses

The fruit raw or cooked is uniquely delicious, offering a range of flavor from a delicate lemon flavor to a semi sweet raspberry-plum flavor and some describe the taste as a combination of cherry and cranberry flavors. Children in the Himalayan Mongolan area have been particularly fond of these berries. Now children around the world are enjoying the health benefits of these precious berries.

They are a reliable cropper and the fruit is borne in abundance along its stems. The berries, seeds and rhizomes have a marked antibacterial, aperient, carminative, cancer, febrifuge and ophthalmic effects. The fruits and roots are used in treating ulcers, urethral discharges, ophthalmia, jaundice, fevers and cancers.

The Berries are being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. The fruit is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids, essential fatty acids, and other bioactive compounds.

Propagation Details

Clonal growth is the prevailing mode of producing descendants in rnany plant communities, especially in harsh environments. The Chinese wolfberry for instance has undergone many environmental, soil and basically toxic changes since the plant was taken from Tibet thousands of years ago and aggressively cultivated in China. Combining that with the widespread use of DDT and many other chemical pesticides in China for over sixty years has made the Chinese Lycium barbarum (wolfberry) questionable as a food source.

The relationship between individual modes of vegetative multiplication, generative reproduction and the environment at the species level is now being researched be Tanaduk because much is partly hidden by the phyto genetic relationships between individual species. For purposes of cultivation and harvesting of berries for a large market, wild crafting and semi cultivation practices keep the original environments stable in which these plants will naturally proliferate.

Using comparative analyses, including the recently developed approaches of phytogenetic correction, the adaptiveness of generative reproduction and individual modes of vegetative multiplication will be stable and assessed in Tanaduk cultivation habitats of the alpine area of Rupshu in NW Himalayas (E. Ladakh, India) as well as Kalimpong and Northwest, United States.

The original Lycium (goji) comes from Tibetan and Mongolian regions and remains the purest Lycium with the richest nutrient energy. The Tibetan Goji Farmers Co-op is the organized entity that has the responsibility of getting those berries to market. The Tibetan Goji Berry Company is the licensed entity to oversee sales worldwide.


This is an easily grown plant, succeedíng in most soils (light-sandy, medium- loamy and heavy - clay), flowering and fruiting better in well drained soil of moderate quality and requires a dappled shade to sunny position. The plants have an extensive roots system and can be used to stabilize banks.

The seeds are best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame greenhouse, Germination is usually good and fairly quick, normally it should germinate in late Winter or early Spring. Seed from over ripe fruit will take longer to germinate, while stored seeds may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seeds are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventílated.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the Autumn. But generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the Winter and plant them out in late spring to early summer of the followíng year. Pinch out the shoot tips of the young plants in order to encourage bushy growth.


Harvest cuttings of half ripe wood, July-August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel, October ~ November in a frame.


The berries are collected in the late summer to early autumn when the fruit is mature. It is spread thin on bamboo mats and dried in semi-shady sunlight. The farmers must be very careful not to touch the fruit with their hands during the drying process because this will cause the fruit to turn very dark, almost black, which is unacceptable.

See monograph #93.

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