Ginkgo health benefits and therapeutic value

A tree native to China, the Ginkgo is considered to be a living fossil that has survived for over 300 million years.

It can grow to heights of 80 to 165 feet (25 to 50 m). This tree, also called silver apricot, maidenhair tree, 40 gold coin tree or Ginkgo biloba grows on cool siliceous clay or siliceous soil.

It belongs to the Ginkgoaceae family, and it is now often found in parks in large cities (since it resists pollution very well) but there are also large ginkgo commercial plantations in South Carolina (USA), in China, western France, Korea and Japan.
However, apart from the ornamental appeal of its leaves, the silver apricot bestows us with surprising medicinal properties. Which are these? How does it work on the human body? How should it be used well?

A quick overview…

Ginkgo biloba, a short story

 According to research, Ginkgo was around 40 million years before dinosaurs even appeared. Indeed, History shows that Ginkgo is the only living being to survive the blast of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb during World War II.

Some might think that this resilience is the reason Buddhist monks worship this tree and plant it near their temples to keep fire away.

The 18th century is when this plant was introduced on European territory.

Ginkgo biloba health benefits and therapeutic properties

A living being that can be called immortal, this resilient, superior and unique plant shares therapeutic benefits discovered since Antiquity in traditional Chinese medicine.

Medicinal substances, present in Ginkgo biloba are:

– flavonoids (an important source of antioxidants in our diets),

– bilobalides

– terpinoids that impart spices,

– ginkgolides

– lactones (flavoring used in natural or processed foods).

As a powerful antioxidant, Ginkgo has multiple types of activity on the body.

Scientists have shown that this plant enhances arterial functions, and its leaves are used as a natural remedy to:
– reduce inflammation
– support blood circulation
– protect nervous cells
– alleviate pain in peripheral vascular diseases.

As part of a treatment course, Ginkgo biloba is recommended for:

– sexual disorders
– tinnitus
– headache
– vertigo
– altitude sickness
– signs of anxiety and Raynaud’s disease
– alleviate premenstrual syndrome
– vision disorders (glaucoma, retinopathy)
– depression
– virtiligo
– anxiety
– dementia, schizophrenia

This already long list of possible treatments that ginko biloba permits can be extended further still, since it also helps stave off Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases and can even restore cognitive functions for elderly persons who are in proper health.

Usage, dosages, and how to use Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba leaves and fruits boast health benefits.The portions of the Ginkgo biloba plant that are used to treat blood circulation and mental health are the seeds and leaves.

Infusion: mix 1 oz (30 g) ginkgo leaves and 1 oz (30 g) green tea leaves. Measure out 1 teaspoon and pour 8 fluid ounces (25 cl) boiling water atop it.

After 7 minutes, filter and add a dollop of honey or lemon juice before drinking 1 to 2 cups a day.

Using normalized extracts: Taking 120 to 480 mg split in 2 or 3 intakes a day is enough.

Good to know about Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is also an ornamental tree that has a lifespan that can exceed a 1 000 years.

It can trigger hemorrhage. That’s why it is contraindicated to pregnant women and intake should be stopped for anyone at least 3 days before any surgical operation.

Whatever your situation, simply talk with your doctor about taking this herb.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Ginkgo leaf harvest shared by WILL POWER under © CC BY 2.0
Ginkgo branch with fruit shared by Rachid H under © CC BY-NC 2.0

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