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The Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute and the Tibetan Lycium 'Goji' Berry

Dr. Bradley Dobos (also known by the Tibetan name Amchi Thubten Lekshe) founded The Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute (TBRI) in 1974 to conserve and propagate plants that were clearly endangered from over-harvesting and industrial development. Since then, he has designed a number of programs and protocols to help sustain endangered botanicals used in Tibetan and traditional Himalayan medicine.

One of TBRI’s projects has been to bring the Tibetan Lycium berry (Goji berry) out of seclusion in the private cannons of the Tibetan repertory of medicine, and to the Western world’s attention. Starting in 1974, TBRI has involved itself with the Goji berry with the intention of using it as a vehicle to raise awareness and funding for botanical propagation and conservation projects to save endangered plants used in Traditional medicines of the Himalayas.

A lot of misunderstanding or misinformation has since become associated with the authentic Tibetan Goji berry. Many proprietors who sell wolfberries (Lycium barbarum or Chinese Lycium berry) incorrectly refer to them as Goji berries. For over eight years, sites on the internet that sell wolfberries have been doing so under the false pretense that they are selling the authentic Tibetan Lycium 'Goji' berry. They use TBRI’s proprietary research and writings without references, presenting them as if they are their own, and in so doing are infringing on proprietary information, misrepresenting the real Tibetan 'Goji' berry, disseminating misinformation, and confusing the market.

For over 32 years, TBRI has supported and organized Goji berry farmers by nurturing support opportunities, improving conditions, and helping to negotiate fair trade wages. This helps fulfill its mission to preserve and organize Tibetan and Himalayan nomadic medicine. Tanaduk Institute was borne of the need to save endangered Himalayan medicinal plants that are becoming extinct. It is not a profit-oriented adventure. Rather, it is motivated by a sincere desire to save endangered plants that are used to make healing medicines.

Based on his years of research at the University of British Columbia, and his field research in the Himalayas, Dr. Dobos came to nickname the Tibetan Lycium 'Goji'. The name 'Goji' is completely the invention of Dr. Bradley Dobos. Since July of 1974 and he has used that name on his product labels and when referring to the Tibetan Lycium. The name 'Goji' came to him after pronouncing the many similar and longer names offered by the different dialects spoken in the Tibetan and Mongolian regions where Tibetan Lycium berries are grown. After stumbling over and playing with all the name sounds, the name 'Goji' began flowing with ease. The name 'Goji' stuck with him and was indeed easier to pronounce then the many similar sounds of various dialects that the Tibetan Lycium was known by.

Dr. Bradley Dobos and the group of Tibetan medical Lamas that were part of his counsel and research group created special safeguards and ecological protocols for the Tibetan Lycium 'Goji' berry because it has a relatively limited harvest. These many safeguards include protecting the purity of the ecology and wildcrafting standards of the area, as well as keeping track of how much is harvested in each area and where it is distributed.

Making sure the original users of

Tibetan Lycium 'Goji' berries were supplied first

Important ecological considerations must be addressed when choosing any botanical for large scale distribution. Some of the factors taken into consideration in the choice to use the Tibetan Lycium 'Goji' berry as a vehicle to help other endangered plants are its relative abundance, its historical use as a food and medicine, and the great health benefits it offers. Another imperative consideration is the fact that many small Himalayan clinics of traditional medicine, independent hill Amchis (Drs.), distant traditional clinics, and medical monasteries rely on the harvest of 'Goji' berries, and they must each receive their fair share of the harvest.

This is why The Tibetan Goji Berry Company was created. It was created to act as an ecological steward, with the compassionate intention of helping to responsibly manage the worldwide demand for the harvest. Because it is the sole distribution channel, orders are managed by one entity and processed through one office to ensure equitable distribution, and to prevent over-harvesting by monopolizing companies that might pursue this special botanical. The Tibetan Goji Berry Company always considers and fulfills the traditional preset orders first, distributing to the Amchis and medical monasteries, and then it brings the rest of the harvest to the world market.

This protective control has irritated many of the Western and Chinese companies that want to profit from this special berry. Instead of following ordering protocols and possibly waiting on a waiting list to obtain these special berries, many of them have decided instead to buy and sell a similar, but much cheaper, Chinese berry called Lycium barbarum (wolfberry). Unfortunately, they continue to claim they are selling a 'Goji' berry. This is of course incorrect. Both Chinese and Western companies are doing this.

The Tibetan Goji berry harvest averages about 280 tons of berries per year. Some years the harvest may be up to ten or twenty tons more than that. The Goji berry is available to anyone or any company wishing to have this special berry as inventory or product. The main consideration is that large orders must be placed six months to one year in advance at the office of the Tibetan Goji Berry Company.

TBRI’s ongoing research has found many special botanicals, future gems yet to be revealed, that the Western world does not know about, and that there are no scientific names for. Information about this and about what you are reading here, along with additional authentic Goji history and research information, will come out in a book in the very near future. The book is authored by TBRI's doctors and research staff.

May All Beings Be Happy
May All Beings Be Free

1975-2007 by The Tanaduk Institute, L.L.C. No part of this email information, images or attachments may be used in any way or posted on commercial sites without written permission from The Tanaduk Botanical Research Institute.