Side Effects of the Goji Berry

While Goji berries are now considered one of the leading super foods they do not come entirely risk free.

Side effects

It is not recommended that Goji berries be taken at night, as they may increase alertness, making it difficult to sleep. It is also important to note that Goji Berries, like some other natural products, may have anti-coagulant properties.

Although there are no serious side effects associated with the use of the Goji berry itself, there is some concern about potential drug interactions.

Possible drug interactions with Goji

The Mayo Clinic mentions on their website that Goji juice may interact with some medications, but does not list the specific drugs. It is recommend that a doctor be consulted before taking Goji on a regular basis, particularly if taking prescription drugs, herbs or dietary supplements.

Goji interaction with blood pressure drugs

Goji root bark could interact with drugs used to treat high blood pressure, potentially increasing the risk of dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension). Symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. It is not clear if Goji berries or juice also have similar effects on blood pressure.

Goji interaction with diabetes drugs

Theoretically, Goji root bark may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if taken with diabetes medications. It is not clear if the berries, or juice, also have this potential. More frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels is advisable if Goji supplements are being taken.

Goji interaction with Warfarin

Two published case reports described patients, being treated with the anticoagulant drug Warfarin, who experienced increased bleeding after drinking Goji tea. Warfarin is prescribed as a blood thinner to prevent clots. Studies showed that the tea inhibited the breakdown of Warfarin in the body, suggesting a possible interaction between Warfarin and undefined phytochemicals in the Goji plant [1,2].

Health Canada has issued a warning for people being treated with Warfarin to avoid certain herbal, vitamin and mineral products, including Lycium barbarum (Goji berries). Too much Warfarin could cause excessive bleeding. Evidence of Warfarin interaction has also been linked to avocados, cranberry juice, fish oil supplements and ginseng.

See also: The Incredible Goji Berry

References

1. Lam AY, Elmer GW, Mohutsky MA. Possible interaction between warfarin and Lycium barbarum L. Ann Pharmacother. 2001, Oct; 35(10):1199-201.

2. Leung H, Hung A, Hui AC, Chan TY. Warfarin overdose due to the possible effects of Lycium barbarum L. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008, May; 46(5):1860-1862.

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