Recently, isolation and investigation of novel ingredients with biological activities and health benefit effects from natural resources have attracted a great deal of attention. The fruit of Lycium barbarum L., a well-known Chinese herbal medicine as well as valuable nourishing tonic, has been used historically as antipyretic, anti-inflammation and anti-senile agent for thousands of years. Modern pharmacological experiments have proved that polysaccharide is one of the major ingredients responsible for those biological activities in L. barbarum. It has been demonstrated that L. barbarum polysaccharides had various important biological activities, such as antioxidant, immunomodulation, antitumor, neuroprotection, radioprotection, anti-diabetes, hepatoprotection, anti-osteoporosis and antifatigue. The purpose of the present review is to summarize previous and current references regarding biological activities as well as potential health benefits of L. barbarum polysaccharides.
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