Traditional cultures around the world have had a respect and natural concern for sun protection. In warmer climates, cultures have covered up their body with clothes that protect from the sun. Additionally, they have a long history of using creams and sunscreens that are sun protective. Sun protective clothing and sunscreens are an extremely important part of a sun care program.
It is amazing that many cultures have had an instinctive idea of certain herbs to take during the hot summer months that not only help fight sun damage but may also have some protective elements as well.
Many herbal medicinal teas are also known to be packed with antioxidants. In China, an important tea that is consumed during the summer months consists of wolfberries (also called gou ji or goji berries and gou ji zi) along with chrysanthemum flowers (ju hua). These herbs both have a cooling effect and an ability to nourish body fluids. It’s a delicious, refreshing, and healthy drink.
Wolfberries, also known as goji berries, are a traditional herbal tea and considered medicinal throughout Asian cultures. Gou ji berries have become a popular supplement in recent years due to their high antioxidant levels and delicious flavor. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries or gou qi zi, are a blood tonic and used for improving vision, sexual health, dizziness, and chronic coughing. What’s more amazing is that recent laboratory research has shown that drinking gou ji berry juice can help prevent skin damage from UV light. In this study, mice who drank gou ji berry juice showed less skin damage from UV light than mice who did not drink the gou ji berry juice.
Chrysanthemum flowers are traditionally used as an herbal medicine for warm type conditions, such as colds, allergies, headaches, and painful eyes. These tasty flowers are also commonly used for many inflammatory skin conditions, particularly if they involve the eyes. Chrysanthemum flowers have high antioxidant levels and are thought to help in preventing photoaging.
This combination of goji berries and chrysanthemum flowers, which may help prevent sun damage, and chrysanthemum flowers that may help photoaging is a great combination to drink in the summer. Plus, it is loaded with antioxidants and makes a tasty iced tea.
How to Make Gou Ji (Goji) Berry and Chrysanthemum Tea
This healthy and delicious herbal tea is very easy to make.
All you need is 6-10 grams of each herb. Add hot water to the herb mixture and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. If you prefer, you can add a little honey for sweetness. You can also brew the tea and cool for a nice refreshing summer iced tea.
For any drugs or medications discussed here, please consult the drug package insert for complete prescribing information and for complete information regarding side effects.
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Cheng J, Zhou ZW, Sheng HP, et al. An evidence-based update on the pharmacological activities and possible molecular targets of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides. Drug Des Devel Ther.2015;9:33-78; PMID: 25552899 Link to research.
Bensky D, Clavey S, Stöger E. Chinese herbal medicine : materia medica. 3rd ed. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press; 2004.
Reeve VE, Allanson M, Arun SJ, et al. Mice drinking goji berry juice (Lycium barbarum) are protected from UV radiation-induced skin damage via antioxidant pathways. Photochem Photobiol Sci.2010;9(4):601-607; PMID: 20354657 Link to research.
Zhang X, Xie YL, Yu XT, et al. Protective Effect of Super-Critical Carbon Dioxide Fluid Extract from Flowers and Buds of Chrysanthemum indicum Linnen Against Ultraviolet-Induced Photo-Aging in Mice. Rejuvenation Res.2015;18(5):437-448; PMID: 25849065 Link to research.