I tried it occasionally. If it agrees with you, can’t hurt. But not a panacea. Might be some way to process the leaves yourself to guarantee purity. The big trees grow all over, makes beautiful gold fall foliage. Many in Fresno, Sacramento CSU university campuses because it tolerates smog well. Also on the Missouri State University Campus.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species. It is also tops in scientific studies and in purchases. In Europe and the United States, ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal medications.
Ginkgo has a long history of being used in traditional medicine to treat blood disorders and improve memory, and it’s best known today as way to potentially keep your memory sharp. There is some scientific evidence to back that up. Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky. It’s also an antioxidant.
For those reasons, ginkgo may improve vein and eye health. Although not all studies agree, ginkgo may help treat dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) and intermittent claudication, or poor circulation in the legs. It may also protect memory in older adults.
Ginkgo leaves have two types of chemicals (flavonoids and terpenoids) that are antioxidants. In your body, harmful particles called free radicals build up as you age, and may contribute to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants like those found in ginkgo fight off free radicals, and stop them from damaging DNA and other cells.
Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living tree species. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. It has short branches with fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruits that smell bad. The fruit has an inner seed, which may be poisonous. Ginkgos are tough, hardy trees and are sometimes planted along urban streets in the United States.
The leaves turn brilliant colors in the fall.
Although Chinese herbal medicine has used both the ginkgo leaf and seed for thousands of years, modern research has focused on the standardized Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) made from the dried green leaves. This standardized extract is highly concentrated and seems to treat health problems (particularly circulatory problems) better than the non-standardized leaf alone.
What’s It Made Of?
Scientists have found more than 40 components in ginkgo. But only two are believed to act as medicine: flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids are plant-based antioxidants. Laboratory and animal studies show that flavonoids protect the nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels, and retina from damage. Terpenoids (such as ginkgolides) improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets.
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Based on studies conducted in laboratories, animals, and people, ginkgo is used for the following:
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Ginkgo is widely used in Europe for treating dementia. At first, doctors thought it helped because it improves blood flow to the brain. Now more study suggests it may protect nerve cells that are damaged in Alzheimer’s disease. A number of studies have found that ginkgo has a positive effect on memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.
Studies suggest that ginkgo may help people with Alzheimer’s disease:
Improve thinking, learning, and memory (cognitive function)
Have an easier time doing day to day activities
Improve social behavior
Have fewer feelings of depression
Several studies have found that ginkgo may work as well as some prescription Alzheimer’s medications to delay the symptoms of dementia.
a unique species of tree with no living relatives. The ginkgo is a living fossil, similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. It has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food.
some planted trees at temples are believed to be over 1,500 years old. The first record of Europeans encountering it is in 1690 in Japanese temple gardens, where the tree was seen by the German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer. Because of its status in Buddhism and Confucianism, the ginkgo is also widely planted in Korea and parts of Japan; in both areas, some naturalization has occurred, with ginkgos seeding into natural forests.
In some areas, most intentionally planted ginkgos are male cultivars grafted onto plants propagated from seed, because the male trees will not produce the malodorous seeds. The popular cultivar “Autumn Gold” is a clone of a male plant.
The disadvantage of male Ginkgo biloba trees is that they are highly allergenic. Male Ginkgo biloba trees have an OPALS allergy scale rating of 7 (out of 10), whereas female trees, which can produce no pollen, have an OPALS allergy scale rating of 2.
Female cultivars include “Liberty Splendor”, “Santa Cruz”, and “Golden Girl”, so named because of the striking yellow color of its leaves in the fall.
Ginkgos adapt well to the urban environment, tolerating pollution and confined soil spaces. They rarely suffer disease problems, even in urban conditions, and are attacked by few insects. For this reason, and for their general beauty, ginkgos are excellent urban and shade trees, and are widely planted along many streets.
The ginkgo leaf is the symbol of the Japanese tea ceremony. The tree is the national tree of China, and is the official tree of the Japanese capital of Tokyo, and the symbol of Tokyo is a ginkgo leaf.
Extreme examples of the ginkgo’s tenacity may be seen in Hiroshima, Japan, where six trees growing between 1–2 km from the 1945 atom bomb explosion were among the few living things in the area to survive the blast. Although almost all other plants (and animals) in the area were destroyed, the ginkgos, though charred, survived and were soon healthy again. The trees are alive to this day.
Ginkgo seeds served with boiled coconut flesh as a dessert in Thailand
The nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are particularly esteemed in Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year (as part of the vegetarian dish called Buddha’s delight). In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities.
Health effects of extracts and supplements