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
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
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.
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
Topic Specific References:
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.