Common name: Ginkgo
Latin name: Ginkgo biloba
Other names: Maiden Hair, Buddha’s fingernails, Flying Moth Leaf, Duck-foot
Habitat: The plant is native to northern China.
Description: Gingko is a deciduous, large tree, growing to 30 meters tall. It has an angular, dense crown and long branches. The plant is highly resistant to disease and insects, wind and snow damage, and it is believed to be the worlds oldest living specimen. Leaves are fan-shaped, glabrous, usually 5 to 10 centimeters long, with dichotomous venation. Male flowers are yellow and hang in thick, pendulous catkins. Female flowers are round and solitary. Seeds are ovoid to ellipsoid, yellow to orange in color, covered with a fleshy sarcotesta usually referred to as fruit.
Parts used: Leaves and seeds.
Useful components: Flavonoids, diterpene lactones and a sesquiterpenoid bilobalide.
Medicinal use: The leaves are an antioxidant, brain tonic, circulatory stimulant, kidney tonic, rejuvenative. Ginkgo is widely known as a “brain herb”, because it increases brain functionality and enhances cognitive functions. Gingko is therefore helpful in cases of low concentration and memory loss. Several studies have found that Ginkgo could be effective as prescription Alzheimer’s medications in delaying the symptoms of dementia. Ginkgo Biloba is also used in treatments of coughs, tissue inflammation, painful headaches, tinnitus, anxiety and vertigo. Since Gingko improves circulation, it is beneficial in treatment of varicose veins and intermittent claudication, and appears to be very effective in treatment of erectile dysfunction caused by a lack of proper blood flow to the genitals.
Safety: Ingesting large amounts of Ginkgo leaves and seeds may cause dermatitis, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption of any herb.