Ingredient Name: Wolfberry leaves (also known as goji berry leaves, barbary matrimony vine leaves, bocksdorn leaves, Duke of Argyll’s tea tree leaves, red medlar leaves or matrimony vine leaves)

Traditional Chinese Name: 枸杞 (gǒu gǒu)

Yes, this picture is of the wolfberry plant!  It was grown in my mother’s backyard vegetable garden and for the sole purpose of soup production.  I used to drink this soup all the time as a child and it still brings back fond memories of my great soup past.  However, I never (and still don’t) enjoy eating the leaves, but they do make for a healthy and rich soup.  The taste is very distinct and it’s either you love it or hate it.  The Chinese say that the taste is very “golden”.

What is this?
  • Young shoots grow to be about 2-3 m in height with heart shaped light to dark green leaves
  • They grow in bundles with a very strong and firm bark or stem
  • A relatively easy plant to grow and are suitable for growth in most regions (they often grow wildly in fields)
  • They are slightly cold in nature and the leaves are slightly bitter to taste
  • Leaves are often used in Chinese herbal teas and soups (or as a leaf vegetable in dishes)

How do I prepare it?

  • Remove from stem and rinse in warm water

Where can I buy this?

  • Most Asian supermarkets will carry this produce fresh

What is the cost?

  • Wolfberry leaves are very affordable with a few dollars (CAD)  per large bunch

Any benefits?

  • Has an effective to remove heatiness
  • It aids in reducing thirst and has a calming effect on the body (thereby eliminating anxiety)
  • Extremely high carotene content
  • Excellent source of Vitamin E

Any precautions?

  • Some species of wolfberries and leaves are known to contain a toxic ingredient called Atropine (naturally occurring)
  • Not many concrete studies are available on the benefits of wolfberries and their leaves
  • Said to be slightly cooling, so precaution to be taken with women who are pregnant in their first trimester (as cooling ingredients cause contractions)

Additional Information

  • Fresh wolfberry leaves can keep for up to 3 days in the fridge