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Research Demystifies The Lycium Berry

by Dr. Jigme Dorje

In 1974 The Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute began studying over20 varieties of Lycium berries that display similar taxa characteristics and phytogenetic relationships to the ancient Tibetan Lycium berry used by the nomadic people of the regions and is one Lycium variety that is in abundance and not endangered. It offers phytoenergetic properties so rich that there is no comparison available to any Western or Chinese berry.

These delicious Goji fruits were very widely used by the Lama doctors and the nomadic peoples of Mongolia and Tibet and regular consumption of the berries is traditionally believed to support a long, vigorous and happy life. Tanaduk Institute's research monographs offer detailed information about the Tibetan Goji berry.

Because of the natural abundance of the Tibetan Goji berry and its extremely rich nutrient content, many years ago the Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute of Tibetan Medicine along with directors of His Holiness The Dalai Lama's Institute of Tibetan Medicine decided that this berry should be used as a vehicle to bring support to the Tibetan farmers, to teach wildcrafting methods and to raise awareness and funds to save endangered plants used in Tibetan medicine.

In the mid-seventies Tanaduk Institute created The Tibetan Medicinal Plant Conservation Program. Tanaduk's researchers and officers set out to initiate botanical studies of endangered plants and also to negotiate contracts with wildcrafted and now even semi-wildcrafted Goji crops.

In 1975 The Goji Farmers Coop was created to give structure and support systems to the farmers. After several years of negotiations and tracking down Goji growing areas, wildcrafters and farmers, Tanaduk Institute secured contracts and initiated fair trade wages for the farmers through The Goji Farmers Coop. A world wide outlet was created and a perpetual contract and warm relationship were made with these Goji wildcrafters and farmers.

This was a cooperative effort, initiated by very dedicated Tibetan Lamas, doctors, botanists and researchers working in concert with Tanaduk Institute. This collaboration was designed to ensure the safety of many other treasured and endangered botanicals and continues to inspire the study of Tibetan medicine and endangered plant conservation and cultivation.

The Chinese version of Lycium - known as wolfberry -has undergone many environmental, climatic and toxic changes since it was taken from Tibet thousands of years ago and cultivated in China. The Chinese botanical farms both private and commercial, commonly use DDT and many other toxic chemicals (over thirty-five commonly found on Chinese wolfberry) and have been for over sixty years. This should make Chinese Lycium considered unusable as a medicine or as a food source. The cultivators of Lycium barbarum - wolfberry -openly admit to using 'controlled' pesticides in Ningxia (the number one Lycium barbarum growing region of China).At the same time Chinese ministers are creating Certified Organic documents for these food products.

Because of the Lycium barbarum plants' relocation a few thousand years ago to China, plus unstable toxic cultivation practices, there is a hugedifference between Chinese Lycium barbarum and the ancient Tibetan Goji berry - which has a history of use going back seventeen centuries in Tibet and is definitely the original.

There seems to be some misleading statements being made about Lycium berries, mostly by new manufacturing companies. Now we are hearing wolfberries being referred to as Goji berries. This is incorrect. The Goji name is colloquial to Tibet and Mongolian dialects, not Chinese, and refers only to the Tibetan Lycium,not the Chinese Lycium barbarum.

Some herb marketeers are even saying they have a pure 'oriental heirloom strain of original wolfberry from Ningxia China'. It is true there are better quality wolfberries coming out of Ningxia as well as the inferior blood Lycium. However, heirloom or not, all berries from Ningxia and China in general are carrying pesticide loads and other contaminates.

China never had a Lycium indigenous to that country. Part of the research shows China has only the barbarum and Tibet has41 Lycium types. Tanaduk Institute, other research institutes and private manufacturing companies have been testing the Chinese wolfberry for over fifteen years and have found them to be loaded with pesticide contaminates. Physical inspection in 2001 of over74 commercial farms producing botanicals in China, (this includes Lycium barbarum cultivation farms), showed common use of and tested positive for pesticide use.

The original Tibetan Lycium (Goji) berry became popular because of its use in Tibetan medicine and and among the nomadic people of these regions. Tibet is the highest most remote place on Earth and the Goji remains the purest Lycium with the richest nutrient energy.

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.

Making a buying choice depends on seeing the bigger picture and getting informed. Supporting the Tibetan culture, Tibetan farmers, medicinal plant conservation and Tibetan medical research is the responsible choice!

The Tibetan Goji berry is pure, organic and harvested according to wildcrafting methods. This actually far exceeds organic standards set in the U.S. and is grown in ancient soils in remote Himalayan valleys untouched by any pollutants, contaminates or pesticides.

The Goji berries antioxidant qualities and phytonutrient energy is unequaled. After eating a few berries it becomes clear that you feel a natural uplifting energy that causes you to smile.

It is the Tibetan Lycium Goji berry that holds this ancient lineage of health and vitality. I feel it is very important to support this worthy and hard earned effort by using the Tibetan Goji berry. It will bring support to many Tibetan, Mongolian and Western people and make many people happy who use them.

Dr. Jigme Dorje Research Director Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute Dorje@Tanaduk.com
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