Introduction of Gou Qi Zi:Barbary Wolfberry Fruit or Fructus Lycii.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Barbary Wolfberry Fruit, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its herbal classic book defined botanical source one plant species, ①.Lycium barbarum L., and another commonly used plant species, ②.Lycium chinense Mill., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Barbary Wolfberry Fruit, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Fructus Lycii(Barbary Wolfberry Fruit).

dried reddish fruit berries of Fructus Lycii are piled together Pin Yin Name: Góu Qǐ Zǐ.
 English Name: Barbary Wolfberry Fruit.
 Latin Name: Fructus Lycii.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, tastes sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Fructus Lycii is the dried ripe fruit of Lycium barbarum L., used to replenish liver and kidney Yin for the treatment of aching back and legs, impotence and nocturnal emission, vertigo and decreased eyesight. The herb is commonly known as Fructus Lycii, Barbary Wolfberry Fruit, Góu Qǐ Zǐ.

 Botanical source: Herbal classic book and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Wolfberry Fruit (Fructus Lycii, Gou Qi Zi) as the dry ripen fruit of the plant species (1). Lycium chinense Mill., or (2). Lycium barbarum L. They are plants of the Lycium genus, the Solanaceae family (nightshade, potato family) of the Tubiflorae order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Lycium chinense Mill.

 fruiting branch of Lycium chinense Mill with green leaves,small purple flowers and red berries Botanical description: The plant, Lycium chinense Mill is commonly known as Góu Qǐ, or Zhōng Huá Góu Qǐ, is a plant of the Solanaceae family (nightshade, potato family) and Lycium genus. A deciduous shrub, the plant is relatively shorter and smaller and grows up to about 1 meter high. It is a vining plant (trailing plant), stem and branch are thinner, out bark is gray, has short thorns, grows in the leaf axil, about 0.5–2 cm long. Leaf blades are slightly smaller, oval (egg-shaped), ovate-rhombus, oblong oval, or ovate-lanceolate, 2~6 cm long, 0.5~2.5 cm wide, the apex is pointed or blunt, the base is narrowly cuneate, entire, both surfaces are glabrous. 

 flowering tree of Lycium chinense Mill with green leaves and pendulous light purple flowers Flowers are purple, the margin has dense marginal seta (tricholoma); the calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), 3~5-lobed; the corolla tube and lobes are equal lengths, the lower part of the corolla tube is narrowing, then enlarged upward to funnel form (funnel shape), corolla tube and lobe are wide; 5 stamens, inserted inside the corolla, slightly shorter than the corolla, anthers are T-shaped and inserted, filaments usually stretch out. 

 The berries are oval (egg-shaped) or oblong, 10–15 mm long, 4–8 mm in diameter, and the seeds are yellow. Its flowering period is from June to September, and the fruiting period is from July to October.

 Ecological Environment: The plant grows on hillsides or mountain slopes, ridges of fields, or hilly areas. It is distributed in most areas of China.

 fruting branch of Lycium chinense Mill with green leaves and red berried grow in sunny field The Wolfberry belongs to the genus Lycium, are multi-branched shrub, with about 80 species growing in the world. Most species of Lycium are distributed on the American continent, and most species grow in South America. About 10 species grow on the Asia-European continent, most species grow mainly in Central Asia. There are 7 species and 3 varieties that grow in China, most of which are distributed in the northwest and northern areas, and spread from the centers of the Hexi Corridor, Qaidam Basin, and the Yellow River Coast area. Among them, the Ningxia wolfberry is the most famous.

 Growth characteristics: Lycium chinense likes cold climates and has a strong cold tolerance. When the temperature is stable and above 7 °C (Celsius, or 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the seeds can germinate, and the seedlings can resist the low temperature of -3 °C (Celsius, or 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Its germination starts when the temperature is above 6 °C (Celsius, or 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in the spring. Lycium chinense can pass winter safely at -25 °C (Celsius, or -13 degrees Fahrenheit) without freezing injury. Lycium chinense has a developed root system and strong drought resistance; it can even grow in the arid desert. High yields can be obtained by ensuring a good water supply, and enough water is necessary for the flowering and fruiting periods. The low-lying land with long-term water logging is unfavorable to the growth of Lycium chinense, and even causes root rot. In an environment with sufficient light, the branches of Lycium chinense grow healthily, have many flowers and fruits, large fruit berries, a high yield, and are of good quality. Lycium chinense mostly grows in alkaline soil and sandy loam, it is most suitable for cultivation in fertile loam with deep soil layers.

 Characters of herbs: The fruit berry is oval (egg-shaped) or cylindrical, with slightly pointed ends, 1~1.5 cm long, and 3~5 mm in diameter. The surface is ruby-red (bright red) or dull red (dark red), with irregular wrinkles, and dull. The texture of the berry is soft and slightly moist, and it has many seeds inside. The shape of the seeds is similar to the seeds of Lycium barbarum. The herb is odorless and tastes sweet. The herb of a better grade has big grains, thick pulp, few seeds, a red color, and a soft texture. The herb of an inferior grade has small grains, thin pulp, and many seeds, gray, gray-red, and old.

(2).Lycium barbarum L.

 fruiting tree of lycium barbarum L with red berries grow in arid field Botanical description: Lycium barbarum L also known as Lycium halimifolium Mill, is commonly known as Ningxia Gou Qi or Ningxia Wolfberry, a plant of the Solanaceae family (nightshade, potato family) and Lycium genus. It is a shrub or grows into a large shrub or small tree after cultivation, and the plant grows up to 1 to 3 meters tall. The main stems are several, thick, and thickset; the branchlet has vertical ribs, with short thorns without leaves and long thorns with leaf and flower; fruiting branches are slender, usually, their tips are pendulous; the cortex, or out bark, is ravous (pale gray yellow), glabrous. Leaves are alternate, or several leaves cluster and grow on short branches; the petioles are short; the leaf blades are lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, 2~8 cm long, 0.5~3 cm wide, the apex is pointed, the base is cuneate or narrowly cuneate and decurrent to the petiole, entire, the upper surface is dark green, the undersurface is pea green (pale green), glabrous.

 small flowers and leaves of Lycium barbarum L grow on green stems Flowers are axillary, usually, 1 flower is solitary, or 2 to 6 flowers are in a cluster and grow on short branches; pedicels (flower stalks) are thin; the calyx is campanulate (bell-shaped), 4~5 mm long, the apex is 2~3 parted, lobes are broad-ovate or ovate-triangular; the corolla is funnel form (funnel-shaped), the corolla tube is about 8 mm long, the apex is 5-lobed, lobes are oval (egg-shaped), about 5 mm long, pink or pale violet-red (lavender blush), has dark purple veins, a whorl of pilose grows in the tube where stamens are inserted; 5 stamens; 1 pistil, ovary is oblong, 2-loculed, style is linear, stigma is capitate. 

 The berries are ovoid, elliptic, or broadly ovate, 8–20 mm long, 5–10 mm in diameter, red or orange-red, and the pericarp is pulpose. Many seeds, subrounded reniform and flattened, are yellowish brown. Its flowering period is from May to October, and the fruiting period is from June to October.

 Ecological Environment: Lycium barbarum grows on ditch banks, hillsides or mountain slopes, the ridge of irrigation fields, along sluice-way, and so on. It grows in the wild or is cultivated. The plant is distributed in the northern, and northwest areas of China, and is also cultivated in other areas.

 small green leaves and pendulous red berries of Lycium barbarum L Growth characteristics: Lycium barbarum has a strong adaptability. The annual average temperature in its main producing areas is 9.2 °C (Celsius, or 48.56 degrees Fahrenheit), the average temperature in January is -7.1 °C (Celsius, or 19.22 degrees Fahrenheit), and the average temperature in July is 23.2 °C (Celsius, or 73.76 degrees Fahrenheit). It is cold-resistant, and there is no freezing injury when it passes winter at -25.6 °C (Celsius, or -14.08 degrees Fahrenheit). The plant likes light. Its soil requirements are not strict, it is tolerant of salt and alkali soil, fertilizer, drought, avoids water logging. It is appropriate to cultivate the plant in fertile, neutral, or slightly acidic light loam with good drainage, and the salt content of saline-alkali soil should not exceed 0.2%. It is not appropriate to choose strongly alkaline, clay loam, paddy fields, or swamp areas for cultivation.

 dried reddish berries of Lycium barbarum are piled together Characters of herbs: The fruit berry is ovate-oblong, oval (egg-shaped), elliptic, or fusiform (spindle-like), slightly flat, 0.6~2 cm long, and 3~8 mm in diameter. The surface is ruby-red (bright red) or dark red (dull red), slightly glossy, has irregular wrinkles, is slightly pointed at the top end, has a small protruding stylar scar, and there are white carpopodium marks (fruit stalk) at the base. The pericarp is pliable and tough, and shriveled; the pulp is thick, soft and smooth, and sticky (glutinous), has many seeds inside, 20~50 seeds, flat reniform, 1.5~2 mm long, and about 1~1.7 mm in diameter, the seed surface is light yellow or brown. The herb has a slight odor, and it tastes sweet and slightly sour. The herb of a better grade has big grains, a red color, and thick pulp, the texture of the berry is soft and smooth, with few seeds and a sweet taste.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.anti-fatty liver; ②.choline like effect; ③.regulating and enhancing immune function; ④.hypoglycemic effect; ⑤.lowering blood pressure effect; ⑥.improving hypoxia resistance; ⑦.anti-fatigue effect to delay aging; ⑧.anti-tumor effect to inhibit cancer cells; ⑨.weight gain effect; ⑩.protective effect on CCI4-induced liver damage.

 Medicinal efficacy: Nourishing the liver and kidney, nourishing the kidney, moistening the lung, invigorating the liver, boost essence and improve eyesight. It is indicated for consumptive disease and lose of essence, consumptive disease and cough, aching and pain of waist and knees, aching and soft of waist and knees, deficency of liver and kidney, Yin deficiency of liver and kidney, asynodia (impotence), spermatorrhea (nocturnal emission), dizziness and tinnitus (vertigo, ringing in ears), dizziness and dazzled, endogenous heat and wasting thirst (internal heat and consumptive thirst), wasting thirst, wasting thirst and drink whole cup of water, blood deficiency and sallow complexion (deficiency of blood, looks dull and yellowing), dim eyesight and many tears, dim eyesight and blurred vision (dim eyesight, cloudy vision), etc. 

 Administration of Fructus Lycii (Góu Qǐ Zǐ): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Fructus Lycii (Góu Qǐ Zǐ)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 6~12 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 2~4 qian (about 6~12 grams), prepare an ointment, infusing in wine, or prepare to pill, powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 5~15 grams, or prepare an ointment, infusing in wine, or prepare to pill, powder.




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  • 1.Introduction of Gou Qi Zi:Barbary Wolfberry Fruit or Fructus Lycii.

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