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Herbs > Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)

Also called the Maidenhair tree, kew tree, bai guo or silver apricot, Ginkgo is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine, in which it is used to rectify deficient kidney yin and deficient lung qi.

Deficient kidney yin exhibits as insomnia, dry throat, back pains, tinnitus, while deficient lung qi manifests as allergies, asthma and general weakness. It has come into mainstream Western usage in recent times, mainly for its effect on the mind – it can ease depression and boost the memory.

The ginkgo tree is very hardy and an individual tree can live thousands of years, with many 1000-2000 year old ginkgo trees in China. Archeologists have found fossilized ginkgo trees dating back 200 million years, which shows that it survived through the various ice ages.

Healing uses:
The most effective and simplest way of taking ginkgo is as a tincture. To make a tincture, place 150g of dried ginkgo leaves or 400g of fresh ginkgo leaves in a jar and cover with 500ml of vodka. Cover and store in a dark place for 4 weeks, shaking the jar daily. After 4 weeks, strain the mixture, pressing all liquid from the ginkgo. Stored in a glass bottle, this will keep for up to a year. For those who wish to avoid consuming alcohol, ginkgo tea is very simple to make. Simply add 1 cup of boiling water to 1 teaspoon of dried ginkgo or 1 tablespoon of fresh ginkgo. Allow to stand for several minutes, then sweeten as desired. The disadvantage to taking ginkgo in tea form is that the required dosage is much higher – 2-3 cups per day, rather than the 1-3 teaspoons of tincture. Alternatively, ginkgo capsules are available from health stores.

A teaspoon of tincture or 1 capsule of ginkgo each day will improve general well-being, aid mental alertness and promote longevity. Those who suffer from frequent leg-cramp will benefit from regularly taking ginkgo, as it improves blood flow.

Ginkgo has been shown to inhibit the chemical which causes asthma attacks. It also works as an anti-inflammatory to alleviate the swelling of bronchial linings, which is what impedes breathing during an asthma attack. It can be taken as a preventative in a dose of 1 teaspoon of tincture, 1 capsule or 1 cup of tea three times daily. Alternatively, a concentrated dose of 10 teaspoons of tincture can be taken at the first sign of an attack.

In combination with an improved lifestyle, ginkgo can ease hypertension, or high blood pressure. It dilates blood vessels so blood can flow more easily and thins the blood so it doesn’t clot on the fatty deposits in the veins. Taking 1 teaspoon of tincture, 1 capsule or 1 cup of tea three times a day before meals will help, but fatty food, alcohol and tobacco must be eliminated from one’s lifestyle to have a real effect on hypertension.

Tinnitus is characterised by a ringing, buzzing or humming in one or both ears when no such noise is present. This can be very annoying, and can impair the hearing. Ginkgo eases tinnitus by improving blood circulation and nerve connections in the area. Take 1 teaspoon of tincture, 1 capsule or 1 cup of tea three times a day. It should be noted that tinnitus is usually a symptom of a more serious condition. Anyone suffering from this should consult a health professional.

While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, studies have shown ginkgo can slow the onset of the disease and reduce the severity of the symptoms. A dosage of 2 teaspoons of tincture or 2 capsules three times daily will improve the patient’s condition in a matter of weeks.

The anti-inflammatory quality of ginkgo can help to shrink haemorrhoids. Swabbing the area with ginkgo tea three times daily will reduce the swelling. It is also beneficial to take ginkgo internally for this condition at a dosage of 1-2 teaspoons of tincture, 2 capsules or 1 cup of tea three times daily.

Taking a large dose of ginkgo at the onset of a migraine will increase blood flow to the brain and can nip the migraine in the bud. 10 teaspoons of tincture or 10 capsules are recommended. For those who suffer from migraines regularly, taking the standard dose of 1 teaspoon of tincture, 1 capsule or 1 cup of tea three times daily can prevent migraines appearing.

Cautions:
Haemophiliacs should never take ginkgo, as its blood thinning properties are potentially very dangerous for people suffering from this condition. Similarly, individuals taking anti-coagulant medication should avoid ginkgo.

Some people may experience headaches, stomach upset or dizziness while taking gingko. These effects are not serious and should pass fairly quickly.

Other uses:
Ginkgo can maximize the benefit of studying for tests and exams. A high dose of about 6-10 teaspoons of liquid extract before a study can greatly aid memory and concentration. Such dosages should only ever be taken temporarily, however, preferably continuing for no more than a week at a time.

Culinary:
Ginkgo seeds or Ginkgo nuts are considered a delicacy in China and other Asian countries. They must be roasted or boiled before eating the nutlike meat inside the seeds. Ginkgo nuts are frequently used in Oriental sweet and savory dishes, including soup and porridge. Roasted ginkgo nuts are often served as an accompaniment to poultry, as a digestive aid at formal banquets and at Chinese weddings, as they are thought to bring good luck. They are sold by street vendors in Chinese cities, and are a favourite of children. The Chinese name for the seed translates as "silver almond". Ginkgo seed food products may be purchased in Oriental department stores.

Ginkgo seeds contain several unique organic compounds, including bilobol, ginkgol, ginnol, and ginkgolic acid. In eastern Asia, the ginkgo seed has been used in traditional medicine for treating a wide variety of ailments, including asthma, coughs, pulmonary tuberculosis, senility and bladder irritability. Its traditional herbal actions include antimicrobial, anti~inflammatory and vasodilatory. The Ginkgo~based supplements which are being used against Alzheimer's, are made by extracting specific beneficial components of the Ginkgo leaf, and discarding the toxic components. We do not recommend using Ginkgo leaf tea, because of the potential toxicity.

Growing ginkgo:
Ginkgo is a tree which can take up to 30 years to reach maturity and will take up a 5-10 metre wide space in your graden. However once planted it is very easy to take care of. It is best purchased as a young tree from a nursery and planted in a sunny position in late Spring. It will grow easily in even very poor or polluted soils and a dry environment.




Index
Quick Reference
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Aloe Vera
Arnica
Asafoetida
Betel Leaves
Bishop’s Weed
Blessed Thistle
Burcock
Cascara Sagrada
Cardamom
Chamomile
Chaparral
Chicory
Cinnamon
Comfrey
Coriander
Curry Leaves
Dandelion
Damiana
Echinacea
Euphrasia
Fenugreek
Garlic
Ayurvedic Garlic
Ginger
Aurvedic Ginger
Ginko Biloba
Ginseng
Gotu Kola
Guarana
Henna
Holy Basil
Hoodia Gordonii
Horny Goat Weed
Hyssop
Isapghula
Kalonji
Kava
Lavender
Liquorice
Mullien
Sage
Sandalwood
Sarsaparilla
St Johns Wort
Tee Tree
Thyme
Tribulus
Turmeric

 
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All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended
to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose,
prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care
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While attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information,
The Health Information Network does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.

ęCopyright 2014 The Health Information Network