Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Ginkgo biloba Identification:
Ginkgo is a stately, deciduous tree that reaches 100 feet with a 20-foot girth. Its flat, fan-shaped leaves have two lobes. Ginkgoes are dioecious, that is, male and female flowers appear on different trees. The females produce apricot-size, orange-yellow fruits, which contain an edible seed.
Family: Ginkgoaceae (Only member)
Other Names: Maidenhair Tree
Parts Used: Leaves
Habitat: Well-drained soil. Originates in China. Will grow throughout much of the U.S.
History: Ginkgo is the oldest surviving tree on earth. It was nearly wiped out by the Ice Age everywhere except China, sometimes surviving today for over 1000 years.
Ginkgoes were introduced into Europe in 1730, and today they are popular street and park trees throughout the temperate world. But even though horticulturists planted them throughout Europe, herbalists of that time ignored them.
Today, European herbalists and mainstream physicians feel much differently. Ginkgo products are among Europe’s most widely prescribed medications.
Medicinal Properties:
Properties: Antiseptic, Antitussive, Astringent, Expectorant, Sedative.
Main Uses:
Ginkgo is used for allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety attacks, arthritis, circulatory disorders, cancer, coughs, depression, dizziness, equilibrium problems, headaches, heart and lung problems, memory loss, mood swings, muscular degeneration, Raynaud’s disease, stroke, tinnitus, toxic shock syndrome, varicose veins, vascular impotence and vertigo.
Most often ginkgo is associated with improved circulation and memory retention. A 1977 Journal of the American Medical Association study confirmed the successful use of ginkgo in improving mood and social functioning in Alzheimer’s patients. This study noted ginkgo’s potential for improving short term memory, longer attention span and oxygen metabolism in the brain with improved transport of oxygen and glucose, the energy source of the brain. Ginkgo has strong antioxidant properties, protecting both the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system from aging. It is currently being studied as an aid for impotence that is caused by impaired blood flow. Ginkgo can also be helpful against tinnitus and vertigo, where impaired blood circulation can cause dizziness or ringing in the ears. Ginkgo may well be an important key in slowing down the aging process as well as slowing free radical damage which can develop into cancer. It may also be an effective block against a compound called PAF (Platelet Activating Factor) which contributes to bronchial asthma.
Ginkgo dilates the blood vessels, allowing improved blood flow to the tissues. It eliminates waste material and inhibits the clumping of blood platelets and prevents circulating platelets from sticking together, which contributes to heart problems, strokes and artery conditions.
Constituents: Ginkgoflavonglycosides, ginkgolide, ginkgolic acid, bilobalide.
Preparations And Dosages:
Tincture: Leaves, (1:5), 60% alcohol, 30 to 60 drops up to 3 times a day.
Standard Infusion: Leaves, 2 to 4 ounces up to 3 times a day.
None known, but if you are taking anticoagulant medicine, you should be monitored by your health care practitioner.

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