Goji Berry Compound Could Treat 2 Deadly Tropical Diseases

Goji Berry Compound Could Treat 2 Deadly Tropical Diseases
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New research suggests that a compound found in goji berries could treat 2 life-threatening tropical diseases – schistosomiasis and fascioliasis. The compound, 7-keto-sempervirol, attacks the coating of the parasites that cause these diseases, according to a Welsh study. [1]

Some 600 million people are affected by schistosomiasis each year, and the infection kills about 300,000. Meanwhile, fascioliasis sickens 17 million people annually, and drug-resistant strains are popping up around the globe. Even worse, it is not uncommon for someone to suffer from both infections at the same time.

It appears that 7-keto-sempervirol kills both the larval and adult stages of the flatworm parasite responsible for spreading schistosomiasis and fascioliasis.

Lead author Professor Andrew Westwell, from Cardiff University, said:

“Discovering a potential new treatment for 2 such prevalent diseases is an exciting find and we hope that this research will lead to major health benefits for some of the world’s poorest people who are at risk of contracting schistosomiasis and fascioliasis.” [2]

Schistosomiasis and Fascioliasis

Natural Society
Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is a disease caused by parasitic worms.

The parasitic worm that causes schistosomiasis lives in fresh water in tropical regions of Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia. Symptoms of the infection don’t always appear immediately, but over time it can lead to bladder, kidney, and liver damage.

People typically develop fever, rashes, diarrhea, and abdominal pain within a few weeks of infection.

Over time, schistosomiasis can cause permanent organ damage, including seizures if the brain is affected, coughing up blood if the lungs are affected, and anemia if the digestive system is damaged.

Natural Society
Fascioliasis is a parasitic infection typically caused by Fasciola hepatica, also known as “the common liver fluke” or “the sheep liver fluke.”

On the other hand, fascioliasis is caused by a flatworm which burrows into humans and livestock, usually after drinking contaminated water or eating food that has been washed in it. It causes fever, abdominal pain, and an enlarged liver, which is where the infection resides.

The drug triclabendazole can treat fascioliasis, but the parasite has shown resistance to the medication on almost every continent.

Other Benefits of Goji Berries

Goji berries are considered a “superfood.” Studies show the tiny red berries to have anti-cancer properties, and to possibly reverse some of the damage caused by a chemical found in many plastics known as Bisphenol-A (BPA), which can lead to reproductive health issues, cancer development, weight gain, and more.


[1] Daily Mail

[2] Science Daily