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What Are the Dangers of Goji Berries?

Goji berries are from a certain variety of shrubs in China also known as the wolfberry. Bright orange-red, this berry has been eaten for generations—especially in the regions of Tibet and China—in the hopes of living longer. Gogi berries have been used to treat common health problems such as fever, high blood pressure or diabetes, but there are also dangers of the goji berry which aren't usually discussed, such as interfering with other medications, high amounts of selenium and allergic reactions.

Interfering With Medication

For those using blood pressure, blood thinning and diabetes medications, goji berries can be dangerous from the herb-drug interactions. This is because the berry has an anti-coagulant property, which has a high level of interference with medications such as warfarin (Coumadin). When taken together with medications such as this, it can lead to bleeding. Goji can interact with high blood pressure medications, creating an abnormal drop in blood pressure or hypotension. For those taking diabetes medications, goji can lower the level of blood sugar and produce feelings of dizziness, even fainting.

Selenium Content

Goji berries contain high amounts of selenium, which can be dangerous to those who eat goji berries, or drink goji juice. If you're pregnant or considering getting pregnant, avoid the goji berry. The high content of selenium can cause birth defects.

Allergic Reactions

For those with allergy problems, including proven pollen allergies, goji berries should be avoided, as they can make your allergies more severe, causing minor side effects such as dizziness and nausea. Consult your doctor or allergist before consuming goji berries to make sure you won't be affected by them.

Grow Goji Berries Indoors

Remove new Goji berry bushes from their nursery containers and plant in a deep container one or two sizes larger filled with a well-draining potting mix. Take your time with this process, never moving the plant into a container that is more than one or two sizes larger. Place the container in a bright room where the plant will receive full sun. The plant will survive in light shade but may produce a smaller crop. Fertilize the plant with a liquid fertilizer once every 14 days during the summer and fall growing season. Water the Goji plant twice a week until it is established, watering once a week after that. Prune container-grown Goji bushes as needed in the summer to control size. Hand-picking and excessive handling causes Goji berries to turn black.

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