The goji berry, or wolfberry, is a red fruit that grows on a plant native to southeast Europe and Asia. Similarly to the acai berry fad, the goji berry has seen a dramatic uptick in popularity in recent years due to its being marketed as a "superfruit" with incredible nutritional and antioxidant properties.
While the goji berry may indeed provide some benefit, there are a number of potential side effects associated with its consumption:
• The goji berry may interact with or intensify the effects of certain medications, including the anticoagulant Warfarin, as well as some diabetes and blood pressure medications.
• Some people who have pollen allergies may have an allergic reaction to the goji berry.
• If taken in large quantities, goji berries may cause nausea, dizziness, confusion, and blurred vision – possibly due to a toxin called atropine, which is present in low doses in the fruit.
• Because of its tendency to increase alertness, taking goji berry before bedtime may result in insomnia.
• Those who are pregnant should avoid taking goji berry in large quantities, as the fruit contains high levels of selenium, a mineral that may cause birth defects, and betaine, which may result in miscarriage.
To be sure, the possible side effects of taking goji berry are generally quite mild, and/or only occur when the fruit is eaten in large quantity or taken with certain medications. Regardless, it is recommended that anyone wishing to begin a goji berry regimen first speak with their healthcare provider.