Scientific: Ginkgo macrophylla [WikiPedia]
Appearance: Ginkgos are large trees, normally reaching a height of 20–35 m, with some specimens in China being over 50 m. The tree has an angular crown and long, somewhat erratic branches, and is usually deep rooted and resistant to wind and snow damage. Young trees are often tall and slender, and sparsely branched; the crown becomes broader as the tree ages. During autumn, the leaves turn a bright yellow, then fall, sometimes within a short space of time (one to 15 days). A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old.
Parts Used: Ginkgo’s healing properties are attributed to the presents of flavone glycosides and terpene lactones. Flavones provide antioxidant effects and terpene lactones, such as ginkgolides and bilobalide, increase blood circulation to the brain and body as a whole. The leaves are used to make extracts and tinctures and the herb Ginkgo Biloba can be found in capsule or tablet form.
Common Uses: Ginkgo has been proven effective in the treatment of Age-related cognitive decline (ARCD), early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, certain types of Glaucoma and Intermittent claudication, characterized by leg cramps associated with poor circulation.
Ginkgo decreased the platelet activity factor (PAF), similar to the anti-coagulant effects of aspirin. Too much PAF in the blood increases the risk of heart disease, brain damage, hearing disorders and immune system diseases. Some believe Ginkgo relaxes constricted blood vessels and inhibits arterial plaque formation. An increase in vascular dilation can also reduce retinal damage associated with macular degeneration and reverse deafness associated with diminished blood flow.
The herb Ginkgo Biloba increases metabolism, regulates neurotransmitters and increases the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood, which also increases oxygenation in the brain.
In addition to age-related cognitive disorders, Ginkgo also helps with the physical signs of aging. Its powerful antioxidant properties fight against free radicals, which can show as skin damage, wrinkles and lines.
Antioxidants also help protect against cancer, heart disease, ulcers and glaucoma. Some researchers believe Ginkgo is beneficial to people who have suffered strokes and that its anti-oxidant and circulatory benefits can help prevent future strokes as well as inhibit free-radical damage associated with strokes.
Ginkgo Biloba has anti-inflammatory effects that may help with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and asthma and may help with anti-rejection of organ transplants.
- An energizing effect on the brain that reduces cognitive decline
- Stimulating blood circulation, which reduces lethargy and improves memory
- Reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease
- Decreasing the rate of premature death when used regularly
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
Topic Specific References:
- Herb Ginkgo Biloba [HerbalRemedies]
- Ginkgo Biloba [WebMD]
- Ginkgo biloba [ScienceDirect]
- Rethinking Ginkgo biloba L.: Medicinal uses and conservation [PubMED]
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.