Goji berries... we hear about them often in our healthy foodie world. Just like other colorful berries they contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, phytochemicals, trace minerals, and are a high-ORAC antioxidant rich food. Being the super awesome person that you are, you want the best when you make your healthy choices... right? Since I always feel that you need to know where your food comes from, especially when it is from China, and especially if it does not say organic, I did some research on the company whose goji berries taste the best in all the land. That would be the Dragon Herbs company, and Ron Teeguarden, the person behind 'Heaven Mountain Goji Berries.' (I will compare them to other goji products later in this post).
states Ron Teeguarden, a master herbalist known world wide for his peerless herbal tonics. On the quality control page of his website Ron acknowledges that he likes "organic" products and practices as well, and he does not sell items with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, food coloring, or GMO's, as that would not be best 'Di Tao' practice. We have to understand that most herbs come from the remote places in the world that do not have the same organic system as the United States. Dragon Herbs standards are the highest in the world, and they only are interested in best practices possible wherever they cultivate or find wild herbs. As a note of organic interest, Ron was one of the seminal founders of one of the first organic food companies, 'Eden Foods' in 1969. He also co-authored a natural foods cookbook in 1971, and worked on organic farms. His products are considered supreme by the owners and executives of other herbal companies, who buy their personal herbs for themselves and their family from Dragon Herbs.
Ron created the video shown below so we can see the pollution free, pristine, very remote region of the world where the Heaven Mountain range rests. Dragon Herbs goji are grown on farms at the base of the mountain, where the water comes from melted snow and glacial runoff. It is not coming from an industrial polluted river, or even near any cities. Personally I love seeing the frolicking mountain goats (maybe because I am a Capricorn), rushing water, and the tents of the Mongolian people along the road in the video. Since Ron has spent many years living and working with herbalists in China, always searching for the best of herbs, I feel I can trust this product even without the organic certification on the bag.
What I found even more admirable when researching Ron Teeguarden, is that he is a man with a passionate commitment to herbs, and the path of radiant health. When he is sharing his love and wonder at the power of nature's herbs, there is a true sense of his Spirit connection within his chosen work. A higher purpose with a reverence for the Earth... whoa, I am loving this man! Plus I dig anyone who listens to Alan Watts! Being a good soul in service to the world, Ron Teeguarden shares his own book '30 Tips' for life here for free, which you can also download as a PDF if you wish. If you prefer it in book form you can purchase for $14.95 here. The information is excellent, heartfelt, and the graphics are beautiful. Peaceful, calm, and intelligent, Ron is someone I would love to spend time with chatting about darn near anything. In the meantime... there are informative YouTube videos of Ron speaking about herbs to view, and his website pages to read. Together along with his wife and partner Yanlin Teeguarden, they run their successful herb business. She is responsible for running the entire overseas operation, including the look of their stores, and products. You can learn more about Ron and his wife on this page, and this page, as it turns out they are the perfect pair to be running a world wide herb company!
Now you go on ahead, and enjoy a rare exotic trip to Heaven Mountain in Xinjiang, China, in the video below! Afterwards you will feel so good about 'Dragon Herbs Heaven Mountain Goji Berries.' Bless those sweet ladies who are in the field hand picking your perfect ripe berries whenever you open your own bag!
"Snack grade delicious and herb grade serious" is the saying on the 'Heaven Mountain Goji Berries' package. These goji are dried in the sun the old fashioned way as you may have seen in the film above. After trying many dried brands of goji berries, I think you would agree that you would much rather eat the sweet, juicy, moist, plump, bursting with flavor Goji, that is 'Ron Teeguarden Dragon Herbs Heaven Mountain Goji' than something dry and hard. Let's look at the difference between 'Heaven Mountain' and the other goji berries found in the food market.
Below are the soft raisin like 'Heaven Mountain' goji berries. So moist that they stick together in clumps. Hey clumpy is good in this situation! The package is compressed since the air must be sucked out during processing. Just separate them, that is okay, it's part of Ron's fresher system. I read someplace that he spent a year perfecting the packaging. You might also notice that the color is more intense than other brands too. The result? More flavor and potency in these exceptionally tasty goji berries.
My first goji berries experience came from this package shown in the photo below. Even though it states that it is raw and organic, the goji were very hard, dry, and difficult to chew. I really did not enjoy them at all. I then wondered, "What's so great about this goji berry thing?"
I am not going to talk about that brand specifically, since all the brands I have tried except 'Heaven Mountain,' are very hard leather-like goji berries. Just look at them below... like little rocks. If you throw some hard goji brands in hot tea, or liquid, you could plump them up again.
So now that you can visually see the difference, imagine the difference in taste and texture when rolling around in your mouth. See the Heaven Mountain goji berries below.... soft and moist. If the dried out goji brands are all you can get where you live, I guess it's better than no goji. From my experience it is more fun to be able to put your hand right in the pouch, and immediately get some yummy goji berries! No soaking needed. Heck yes, I highly recommend Ron Teeguarden's Heaven Mountain Goji Berries. They are simply the best you can buy, grown in the same place, at the very source that is famous for this berry!
Goji has been cultivated for over a thousand years in the Heaven Mountain area of China. That is the meaning of the 'Di Tao' stamp on the bag. You need to read Ron's blog post about the importance of the 'Earth Tao' source for plants and herbs. This will explain in depth his commitment to purity, clean technology, and the genuine authentic best source for all of his Dragon Herbs products. There is a large section in his post just on the 'Di Tao of the Goji Berries' if you scroll down the page. You will learn exactly why 'Heaven Mountain' goji is sweet, and not bitter like other goji brands. Goji bushes in this region are replaced every 6-7 years for potency. Old wild tree goji are not to be consumed. Ron also talks about "organic," practices in China, other companies practices, and their claims.
Also known as Lycium Berries, Wolfberries, Lycium barbarum, or Gou Qi Zi, these little beauties are well worth the high price. The 8 oz. pouch comes with the sell by date stamped right on the front, and has been formulated to keep those berries soft and tasty. Oh and let me tell you that these babies won't last more than a couple of weeks in your house, since they are so good! I eat only 1-2 teaspoons a day when we have a bag in the pantry. Be sure to chew your food well and squeeze every drop of goodness out of these little wonders! They make a great snack and are a healthy addition to any trail mix. Heaven Mountain Goji also make a nice colorful sprinkle on cereals, chia puddings, salads, and breakfast quinoa since they have the texture of soft raisins. Use them in baking just as you would raisins too, such as muffins, and cookies. In the winter throw some goji berries into hot tea for a nice little fruity surprise. Actually it is said that by placing gogi berries in warm tea or blending them into a smoothie makes the lycopene more readily available to your body.
Some say Goji berries may interact with drugs such as warfarin (a blood thinner), diabetes drugs, or blood pressure drugs. Although as a former diabetic person who was previously on blood pressure meds, I never experienced any problem with goji berries during that time. Some people who are sensitive to nightshades and eat too many goji may experience stomach cramps or diarrhea. Moderation and variety in your whole foods is always the way to go, do not over use any one food. That would be silly.
I stumbled upon 'Heaven Mountain Goji Berries' when we were visiting a natural foods store in a different town, and I am so grateful that I did! For quite some time I was unable to find 'Heaven Mountain' for sale in our area, so I purchased them online at Amazon. Now our local co-op sells them right along side of that other brand. I am such a happy glamper! Goji is also known as the happy fruit... so I guess that could be true! As Ron Teeguarden says about Goji berries, "An ounce a day keeps you smiling away!"
I just saw a video here about the effect that goji may have on sleep due to its melatonin levels. So perhaps I should have a teaspoon of goji and a shot of tart cherry juice at night to help me get to sleep! Ah menopause... I am going to research the Dragon Herbs website for any info they may have on hot flashes. After six years of every 30 minutes, I am so over the hot flashes interrupting my life! Geesh!
I have included the link below to buy 'Dragon Herbs Heaven Mountain Goji Berries' online if you find you are in a Goji desert! When transitioning to healthier choices in our food lifestyle, you gotta love snack foods like 'Heaven Mountain Goji Berries!'
Be happy, be healthy, be peace.