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Getting Goji

By Cathy Christensen
Posted: May 19, 2008, from the April 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Known by many fanciful names, such as wolfberry, Duke of Argyll’s Tea Tree and Matrimony Vine, the Tibetan goji berry is as
rich in history and fable as it is in antioxidants and vitamin C. A component of traditional Chinese medicine since its recorded beginning almost 2,000 years ago, the berry’s folklore can be linked to Chinese emperor Shen Nung, said to be the father of Chinese agriculture and an herbalist who lived around 2800 B.C. The majority of goji berries come from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of north central China and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China.1

In the kitchen
       The goji berry itself is an oblong red berry so tender that, in most cases, it must be shaken from the vine to avoid spoiling. It almost always is exported as a dried fruit, resembling a dried cranberry or a raisin.1 The goji berry’s taste is a cross between cherry, raspberry and cranberry, and it can be included in muffin recipes, smoothies or as a topping for cereal.2
       Often marketed as a superfruit, the goji berry contains 11 essential dietary minerals, 18 amino acids and six essential vitamins, to name a only a few of its nutritional benefits.1 It also has 500 times more vitamin C by weight than an orange and is one of the richest sources of carotenoids on Earth.3 Spa cuisine is being enhanced with this powerhouse fruit, as well. The menu at Sea Spa at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, California, features Steamed and Chilled Langoustine, which includes blood oranges, radishes, goji berries and ginger vinaigrette, and a delicious salad incorporating goji berries with baby arugula and Israeli couscous can be enjoyed at Kinara Skin Care Clinic, Spa and Café in Los Angeles. Learn how to make the healthy and refreshing Goji Berry-Acai Smoothie for your clients, created by executive chef James Boyce from Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, California.

In the spa
       Although this amazing berry boasts exceptional benefits when consumed, its topical benefits are still being discovered. Credited with acne-fighting abilities, the goji berry’s moisturizing, hydrating and anti-inflammatory components are being explored and utilized in treating sensitive skin, rosacea and redness.
       Murad recently released a product line called Redness Therapy that boasts goji berries as its main ingredient. Skin care treatments are also becoming more abundant. Spadyssey in Providence, Rhode Island, offers its signature Paradise Body Wrap that includes goji berry as a base for a custom wrap featuring natural ingredients, as well as herbal and plant extracts. The Redness Therapy Facial is offered at Frisco, Texas’s Solaré Spa and Café. This service helps calm and cool redness in the complexion with the help of goji berries. At SkinBar in Henderson, Nevada, the Goji Berry Facial features a cocktail of goji berry extract that provides trace minerals to strengthen skin while reducing inflammation and hydrating. The Peppermint Goji Facial at Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf in Boston was offered during the holiday season to leave clients feeling hydrated, fresh and restored. New York’s BanyanCitiSPA features the Aging-Well Goji Berry Body Polish, which uses the berry’s extract along with sweet almond oil to help restore moisture and youth to facial skin.

Enrich your clientele
  Don’t let this amazing natural resource only be the subject of a great story. The goji berry can enrich your spa’s clientele in many ways, whether you take advantage of its restorative and nutrient-rich properties through products, treatments or cuisine. 


Goji Berry-Acai Smoothie
From executive chef  James Boyce at Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, California

Makes 1 serving
1/2 cup goji berries
11/2 ounces acai juice
1 banana
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup ice
Granola
Blend until smooth, and garnish with whole
goji berries and a sprinkle of granola.