Family: Ginkgoaceae (ginkgo)
The Gingko biloba is native to China and is 350 million years old! From the Jurassic period, it is not surprising, it is considered a symbol of longevity. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as endangered.
The leaves contain ginkgolides, which are used to improve blood circulation to the brain and to relieve Alzheimer’s, Tinnitus and Reynaud’s Syndrome. In traditional Chinese medicine the nuts of Ginkgo were widely used to treat asthma and polyuria (frequent urination).
Energies of the herb: Restoring, decongestant, relaxing, raising, diluting, astringent.
The Gingko leaves can be consumed fresh, made into teas or dried. Some research suggests you get the most benefit from leaves that are just turning golden in the fall, just before they fall off the tree.
The ripening of the fruit is foul smelling, however it is after the fruit if ripen that the nut inside is gathered. The nuts can be roasted.
Cautions to using Ginkgo
Ginkgo is a medium-strength herb where some toxicity can accumulate. After about 2 months, a person should get off the herb for awhile. Otherwise, it can accumulate and cause side effects such as dizziness, headache, fatigue, gastric or chest discomfort, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea.
Those with symptoms of circulatory problems or strokes must avoid it.