Wolfberry (AKA Goji Berry) Leaves – Yum!

When the temperatures swing from 50 to 80 in a matter of 24 hours, when one day is cold, windy and rainy and the next is absolutely perfectly gorgeous, well it must be spring. And besides baseball, spring means it’s time for delicious, fresh, and local fruits and veggies. One of the best places to find such produce is at your local farmer’s market. We are fortunate in Philadelphia to be very close to some amazing farmland and this ensures that we have access to a wide variety of fresh and locally raised food. There are two prominent organizations in our area that do a ton of work and advocacy around local food and they also sponsor many farmers markets in and around the city – The Food Trust and Farm to City  (click links for lists of markets).

Our local Food Trust sponsored market, the Fairmount Farmers Market (Thursdays from 3:00-7:00 at 22nd & Fairmount Ave), opened a few weeks ago and I was super excited to see a new vendor at our market.  Queens Farm is based in West Chester, PA and they specialize in raising Oriental greens and other veggies. Bok choy, gai lan, yu choy, pea leaves, tat soi – I could live on these and we eat lots of them in our house. When I first saw the Queens Farm table, something caught my eye – they were selling stalks of Wolfberry leaves. Many of you might know Wolfberry by another name, Goji berry.  I had never eaten the leaves of this plant, though we often use the berries in cooking and in Chinese herbal medicine formulas. It’s a pretty innocuous looking plant.

goji_berry

gouqi leaves

 

 

 

 

 

In Chinese herbal medicine, the leaves are said to “clear heat” from the body, and like the berries, they have a strengthening effect on the Liver, Kidneys and Lungs.  In Chinese culture, the leaves are typically used in cooking, especially for making soups. They can be used like one would use spinach, including stir-fried and even raw. They have a slightly bitter, pleasant taste. Remove the leaves from the stalk to cook them. The leaves cook very quickly, especially if you are stir-frying them.

When I got them home Teresa immediately recognized them as something that she grew up eating, as her mom used them frequently in soups. Teresa proceeded to whip up a simple soup using chicken stock, tofu (just cube and drop in to cook for a little), the goji leaves, a small bit of sliced, lean pork and salt and pepper to taste. It was a quick, delicious, light and healthy meal.  Below I have listed a few links to other Goji leaf recipes. If you don’t see them at your farmers market, most Oriental groceries will also carry them. Enjoy!

Recipes and More Info:

The “Chinese Soup Lady” has some great, basic info on Wolfberry Leaves.

This post has a stir-fry recipe (I would ignore the advice to remove the veins from the leaves, it’s not that bitter and that is way too much work!) and also a video about how to easily grow the Goji plants if you are so inclined.

A very typical Goji leaf soup recipe with chicken or pork, egg and some dried scallops.

Another soup recipe, this time with fish filet.

Welcome to Our Blog!

Welcome to WellPoint Oriental Medicine’s new blog. Our goal is to share our knowledge and experience about healthy living with you. The principles of Oriental Medicine, grounded in literally thousands of years of experience, provide an amazing blueprint for living a healthy life that is still relevant and appropriate even in today’s modern, high-tech world.

With our first post, we wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about ourselves. WellPoint was formed by wife and husband team Teresa Tat and Adam Schreiber in 2004 after they completed their acupuncture training at The New England School of Acupuncture (NESA).  Shortly after graduating from school with Masters degrees in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Teresa and Adam moved to Philadelphia to start their own clinic. For Adam this was a homecoming, as he was born and raised in Philly. For Teresa, this was a new chapter as she had spent most of her life in the Boston area, after living in Vietnam for the first 8 years of her life.

One of the great things about our acupuncture school, NESA, was that it provided us with the opportunity to study a wide range of Oriental Medicine modalities, all of which form the solid foundation of our Oriental Medicine knowledge. Over the course of our 3 year program, both of us chose to pursue not only the standard Chinese acupuncture training, but we also studied Japanese Acupuncture Styles. The Japanese acupuncture program at NESA is one of kind in this country and it provided us with a unique set of skills that are completely separate and distinct from the typical Chinese acupuncture skills. We also both studied Chinese herbal medicine, which along with acupuncture, is one of the two main branches of Oriental Medicine {there are 5 branches in total: acupuncture, herbal medicine, therapeutic massage, therapeutic exercises such as taiji and qigong, and dietary/lifestyle counseling}.

The massive depth of information that has accumulated throughout the continuing evolution of Oriental Medicine provides practitioners the opportunity for a lifetime of learning and growing. Since graduating from acupuncture school, both Teresa and Adam have continued their study of Oriental Medicine. Teresa has studied with master acupuncturist Kiiko Matsumoto, who is world-renowned for her clinically effective treatments. Teresa is currently enrolled in a two year Graduate Herbal Mentorship Program at the White Pine Institute with Sharon Weizenbaum, whose knowledge of Chinese language and fantastic teaching skills make her one of our profession’s shining stars. Teresa is also a clinical supervisor for the Won Institute Chinese Herbal Medicine program.

For the past 4 years, Adam has been studying extensively with Matt Callison of Sports Medicine Acupuncture. The Sports Medicine Acupuncture Certification is a one-of-a-kind program that provides the most comprehensive training in sports medicine and orthopedic acupuncture available anywhere. Adam has also been editing Matt’s Sports Medicine Acupuncture textbook, which should be available by the end of this year. Additionally, Adam has been working on two acupuncture clinical trials at the University of Pennsylvania. Both of these trials focus on using acupuncture to help manage the symptoms of breast cancer.

And last but definitely not least, Alexa is our receptionist extraordinaire. She will greet you with a smile and make sure everything is handled quickly and efficiently. She is the glue that holds it all together – we couldn’t do it without her!

wellpointstaff

Alexa, Adam & Teresa