A meta-analysis of clinical improvements of general well-being by a standardized Lycium barbarum

J Med Food. 2012 Nov;15(11):1006-14. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0013. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


Four randomized, blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials were pooled to study the general effects of oral consumption of Lycium barbarum at 120 mL/day, as a standardized juice, GoChi(®) (FreeLife International, Phoenix, AZ, USA). A questionnaire consisting of symptoms graded 0-5 was given to the participants. For each question, the score changes in the questionnaire between pre- and postintervention were summarized by the standardized mean difference and associated SE to perform the meta-analysis. The change was also characterized into a binary outcome, improved or not, to derive odds ratio (OR) and associated SE derived by a binary outcome using the Mantel-Haenszel method. The meta-analysis and heterogeneity were evaluated with the R program using the rmeta package. Statistical significance was set at 5%. In total, 161 participants (18-72 years old) were included in the meta-analysis. Compared with the placebo group (n=80), the active group (n=81) showed significant improvements in weakness, stress, mental acuity, ease of awakening, shortness of breath, focus on activity, sleep quality, daydreaming, and overall feelings of health and well-being under a random effects model. A fixed effects model showed additional improvements in fatigue, depression, circulation, and calmness. The OR indicated significantly higher chance to improve fatigue, dizziness, and sleep quality. Three studies had statistically significant heterogeneity in procrastination, shoulder stiffness, energy, and calmness. The present meta-analysis confirmed the various health effects of L. barbarum polysaccharides-standardized L. barbarum intake found in the previous randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials and revealed it resulted in statistically significant improvements in neurological/psychological performance and overall feelings of health and well-being compared with the placebo group under both the fixed and the random effects models of the R program.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Beverages / standards
  • Dizziness / drug therapy
  • Fatigue / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Lycium / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Extracts