L. barbarum and L chinense leaves have been widely used as functional tea, medicinal vegetables, and herbal drugs in Tibet, China, Southeast Asia, and North America.
They have been demonstrated to possess several biological activities in enhancing immunity, clearing away, relieving rheumatic pains, alleviating mineral deficiency, combating heat distress, dispelling wind, helping saliva secretion, and improving eyesight. Trace elements in L. barbarum leaves play an important role in the metabolism as cofactors for enzymes.
Unfortunaltely there were very few studies done on the leaves of the goji plant until recently., but even by looking at what researchers discovered so far, we can see clearly that the leaves present a huge potential in the treatment of various diseases ranging from cancer, brain dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease to reumatic arthritis, increasing the strength and integrity of the blood vessel walls, lowering risk of blood vessel problems, protection from UV radiation.
We are proud to announce that a team of 9 romanian researchers lead by Andrei Mocan PHD in Basel, Switzerland, did an in-depth study of the antioxidant, antibacterial properties and polyphenolic content of the goji berry leaves with very promising results:
This study was performed to evaluate the in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and the polyphenolic content of Lycium barbarum L. and L. chinense Mill. leaves. The different leaf extracts contain important amounts of flavonoids and showed relevant antioxidant activity. The results suggest that these species are valuable sources of flavonoids with relevant antioxidant and antimicrobial activities.
Ten of phenolic acids and 11 of flavonoids could be determined in the leaves. Neohesperidin and catechin were the major flavonoids in the leaves.
In this study Mocan et al. (2014) demonstrated that leaves of Lycium chinense Mill. and Lycium barbarum gathered in Romania contained chlorogenic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, isoquercitrin, rutin, quercitrin, quercetin and kaempferol. Their results suggested that goji leaves were valuable sources of flavonoids with relevant antioxidant activities for assays of TEAC, scavenging DPPH radicals, hemoglobin ascorbate peroxidase activity inhibition, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation catalyzed by cytochrome c. Zou (2002) found apigenin, quercetin, acacetin, luteolin, rutin and kaempferol in leaves of Lycium chinense Mill. gathered in China.
Phenolic compositions and antioxidant attributes of leaves and stems from three inbred varieties of Lycium chinense Miller harvested at various times
This is another study analizing the phenolic compositions and antioxidant properties of the goji leaves
Dr. Mocan and his colleagues’ latest 2 years research at the University of Hamburg, Germany, supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), was done on different Goji leaf extracts, which showed very significant antioxidant, enzyme inhibitory, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-mutagenic activities, due to their polyphenolic compounds and flavonoid content.
In this study, that was also published in the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry · September 2016 edition, leaf extracts from two selected cultivars in comparison with wild-growing plants have been evaluated, one of the cultivars being our very own strain named L. barbarum Erma, with the plant material sampled from our main plantation, the other strain being Lifeberry Big. We are proud to say that our leaves performed very well in every aspect of the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the study regarding the beneficial pharmaceutical compounds found in the leaves.
What are these mysterious polyphenols or phenolic compunds?
The short answer:
Polyphenols are natural compounds broadly distributed in plants and play important roles against cancer, brain dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease (Lin and Harnly 2010; Vallverdú-Queralt et al. 2011; Teixeira et al. 2016)
The long answer:
Phenolic compunds are strong antioxidants and might prevent oxidative damage to biomolecules such as DNA, lipids and proteins which play a role in chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Plant phenols may interfere with all stages of the cancer process, potentially
resulting in a reduction of cancer risk.
Phenolic compounds like the ones found in our Goji Leaf Tea and Goji Leaf Tincture, exhibit various bioactivities such as antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and protective effects against cell and cutaneous aging. Their anti-oxidant properties as well as their beneficial effects against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases are nowadays highly emphasized.
The antibacterial activity of chlorogenic acid, the main phenolic compound in the leaves, has already been demonstrated in various studies. According to Lou et al.89, chlorogenic acid induced lethal effect on both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by provoking irreversible permeability changes in the cell membrane, causing the cells to lose the ability to maintain membrane potential.
Organisms that synthesize phenolic compounds do so in response to ecological pressures such as pathogen and insect attack, UV radiation and wounding. As they are present in food consumed in human diets and in plants used in traditional medicine of several cultures, their role in human health and disease is a subject of research and have caught the attention of scientists and those in search of good health.
In particular, many phenolic compounds are attracting the attention of food and medical scientists because of their antioxidative, antiinflammatory, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic properties and their capacity to modulate some key cellular enzyme functions.
The two main phenolic compunds found in the leaves were chlorogenic-acid and rutin.
According to the above mentioned study “In particular, cultivar Erma contained the highest amount of chlorogenic acid and showed a strong tyrosinase-inhibitory effect.”, cultivar Erma beeing our own strain and plant material. We can proudly say that the samples from our strain had exceptionally high levels of chlorogenic-acid at 24887 μg/g (which was 1.5x more) and 9939 μg/g of rutin, which was 6.5x more than the other 2 strains, a fact emphasized in the study.
Antioxidant effects - what does it mean?
It means that these phenolic compunds react with and capture dangerously reactive compounds called free radicals before the radicals can react with other biomolecules and cause serious damage.
More than 100 human diseases have been reported to be related with free radicals. Phenolics including flavonoids from plant foods proved to have effects on radical scavenging, antioxidation, and anticancer.
In recent years, the possible toxicity of synthetic antioxidants has been reported. Thus, the potential of plant products to serve as natural antioxidants for protecting against various diseases induced by free radicals has been explored, making our Goji Leaf Tea and Goji Leaf Tincture a perfect candidate for a source of all natural antioxidants.
What are flavonoids and how can they help my health?
Flavonoids and tocopherols are two broad classes of phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties.
Flavonoids are best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as the support of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Because they also help support detoxification of potentially tissue-damaging molecules, their intake has often, although not always, been associated with decreased risk of certain types of cancers, including lung and breast cancer.
In this antioxidant context, it is also worth pointing out the potentially unique relationship between flavonoids and vitamin C. Recent studies have shown the ability of flavonoids to alter transport of vitamin C, as well as to alter function of an enzyme called ascorbate oxidase, which converts vitamin C into a non-vitamin form (monodehydroascorbate).
Analysis of flavonoids from leaves of cultivated Lycium barbarum L.
In this study (and all the other ones) the predominant flavonoid in the Goji Leaves was identified as rutin.
The increased MIRA value of rutin under UV irradiation indicated that rutin has the capacity of anti-UV, and that cultivated L. barbarum leaves might be good sources for anti-radiation food or anti-UV cosmetics
Determination of Polyphenols in Lycium barbarum Leaves by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography – Tandem Mass Spectrometry
In this study other polyphenols including rutin, quercitrin, quercetin, isoquercitrin, neochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, cryptochlorogenic acid, isochlorogenic acid B, isochlorogenic acid A, and isochlorogenic acid C and p-coumaric acid, luteolin, kaempferol and caffeic acid, were found in the leaves of Goji berries, all compounds of great interrest in treating a wide variety of diseases.
Much of the research on flavonoids as anti-inflammatories has involved their ability to block the production of messaging molecules that promote inflammation.
Goji (Lycium barbarum and L. chinense): Phytochemistry, pharmacology and safety in the perspective of traditional uses and recent popularity
This study reveals the presence of a huge number of beneficial compounds in the leaves that display anti-inflammatory properties, like Terpenoids, glycosides, lyciumosides, 2 steroids, β-sitosterol, Flavonoids, β-caroten, phenolic compounds, the ubiquitous metal chelator nicotianamine. These anti-inflammatory properties may help people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and several different auto-immune diseases.
Cardiovascular System Benefits
Not surprisingly, since many problems in the cardiovascular system involve problems with oxidative stress and inflammation, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits from food flavonoids provide direct support for this body system. In the bloodstream, flavonoids have been shown to help protect LDL cholesterol molecules from oxygen-related damage. This LDL protection, in turn, helps to lower risk of atherosclerosis. Flavonoids including rutin and hesperidin have also been shown to increase the strength and integrity of the blood vessel walls, lowering risk of blood vessel problems.
Finally, numerous flavonoids—including quercetin and rutin—have been shown to help prevent excessive clumping together of platelet cells that could otherwise lead to unwanted clogging of the blood vessels. This property of flavonoids is called an "anti-aggregatory" property, and it's yet another way in which these phytonutrients help support the cardiovascular system.
Support of the Nervous System
Protection of nerve cells from oxygen-based damage, and help during the slow and demanding process of nerve regeneration (outside of the brain and spinal cord), are both demonstrated benefits of flavonoid intake for the nervous system. There is some preliminary evidence that the onset of certain chronic neurodegenerative diseases—including age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease—may be delayed when long-term intake of flavonoids has been strong.
Because flavonoids may help to improve blood flow in the brain, there is also preliminary evidence to suggest the possibility of better brain functioning in some areas, including areas involving cognitive function.
Flavonoids are also associated with inflammation and weight loss. “Flavonoid content can relieve inflammation and decrease the levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone, leptin,”
Due to their well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids would be expected to lower risk of certain cancers since chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation can place cells at greater risk of becoming cancerous. Furthermore, because flavonoids are known to modify the body's detoxification pathways, it might be expected that flavonoids would help lower exposure to unwanted toxins that could pose increased cancer risk. In studies on animals and on isolated cell types, the above expectations seem to be fully met, with flavonoid intake improving detoxification, oxidative stress, unwanted inflammation, and initiation of cells into pre-cancerous states. To date, the strongest evidence appears to involve breast cancer and lung cancer where decreased risk is a more consistent finding.
Flavonoid intake and breast cancer risk: a case--control study in Greece.
This large study in 2003 in the British Journal of Cancer found that women with higher levels of flavone intake were at a lower risk for developing breast cancer
Intake of specific carotenoids and flavonoids and the risk of gastric cancer in Spain.
This study in Cancer Causes & Control found a correlation between kaempferol intakes and reduced gastric cancer risk.
Better cell regulation
Another potential health benefit is better regulation of cell cycles. Most cells in our body go through stages of activity where they rest, divide, or go into a self-dismantling and self-recycling process called apoptosis. In the health of all our body systems, it is important for these cell cycle stages to stay in balance. Ample intake of food flavonoids appears to promote these cell cycle balances, most likely through regulation of signaling that takes place between cells and their surroundings.
Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) in the leaves?
That's right, even the leaves of the goji plant contain LBP (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides) !!! In this study, they characterized the structure patterns and evaluated the antioxidativity of the polysaccharide LBLP5-A isolated from L. barbarum leaves
Isolation, structural characterization, and antioxidativity of polysaccharide LBLP5-A from Lycium barbarum leaves
Recently, polysaccharide has attracted attention owing to its diverse and noteworthy biological activities. Purified arabinogalactan of many plants has been proved to hold immunomodulatory, hypoglycemic, and other biological activities. So far, much work has been done (see next page on the effect of the berries) on the characterization of structure and activity of polysaccharide obtained from L. barbarum fruits. The five water-soluble polysaccharides from L. barbarum fruits have been structurally elucidated. Researchers also demonstrated that these polysaccharides exhibited several health-promoting activities in enhancing neuroprotection, antifatigue/endurance, metabolism, glucose control in diabetics, antioxidativity, immunomodulation, antitumor activity, cytoprotection, and inhibiting the proliferation of HeLa cells. Furthermore, they have also been demonstrated to exhibit various biological effects on immunostimulatory and hypotensive processes.
However, not much attention has been focused on the development of methods to extract polysaccharide from L . barbarum leaves, this one beeing the first study that researched the presence of LBP (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides) in the leaves. This study showed that LBLP5-A exhibited good scavenging ability against free radicals such as DPPH, superoxide, and hydroxyl radicals invitro.
For a better health, for your health!