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About the name 'Goji'
and it's Latin epithet chinensis

The specific epithet chinensis implies "referring to China." As in the case of Capsicum, all known species are South or Central American in origin.  Thus even though the species carries the epithet chinensis, it does not necessarily imply that it is native to China.  There is some reference to China in the original naming of the plant (perhaps an import bureaucratic protocol of registry). This is akin to Rhododendron Tibetica and the many other botanicals from those regions. It seems clear that Lycium growing in those traditional Tibetan botanical collection areas for centuries should also have the epithet Tibetica.

A bit of recent history begins in 1973. The founder of Tanaduk Institute, Bradley Dobos, went on one of many botanical collection forays with his first medical teacher, Dr. Amala Lobsang Dolma. They traversed into the mountains and through many traditional medicine collection areas. They not only found this smaller, sweet Lycium berry in abundance, but also found many wonderful flowers and root types used in traditional Tibetan formulas. The realm of Tanaduk is a jeweled botanical paradise where Tibetans believe the Buddha manifested as the Medicine Buddha and gave teachings.

After several weeks of collecting many varieties of botanicals and hearing so many regional names for them - for example:  qouki, qou ki ji, quak qou, kew ji, kew ki, Dobos started calling it 'Goji' as a way to stop stumbling over the many sounds and to make it simpler when talking and writing about this special Tibetan berry. Dr. Dolma also agreed that it was an easier sound to work with. In doing extensive research, the name 'Goji' was found to be a botanical term that never existed in China, Tibet or anywhere else before Tanaduk Institute started writing and using that name in 1973.

The name 'Goji' was first commercially used for these berries on tea blend labels and formulas starting in 1976 at the herbal apothecary and clinic 'Tenzing Momo' located in the world famous tourist destination, Seattle's Pike Place Market in the USA. People from many countries purchased these teas and the 'Goji' name started getting around. However it wasn't until the commercial packaging and selling of the berries that it started getting world recognition. People could not stop talking about the health benefits they were receiving from using these very special berries.

Plant Science Department
Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute

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