Botanical Name: Ginkgo biloba | Family: Ginkgoaceae
Common name(s): Ginkgo, Maidenhair Tree, Bai Guo (Chinese)
- Tree, deciduous | Zone 3-8 | 100 feet tall | Fan-shaped, 2-lobed, green to yellow leaves | Flowers on both male and female trees | Foul-smelling seeds on female trees
- Grows in a variety of conditions and thrives where many trees won’t
Leaves and fruit are harvested in autumn.
PREPARATION / DOSAGE
Tincture: A tincture is made from leaves. Dosage is 1 tsp 2-3 times/day with water.*
Decoction: A decoction of seeds is used to treat lung issues.
Externally: As a wash for skin sores and to remove freckles.
Constituents: Flavonoids, Ginkgolides, Bilobalides
Uses: Improving circulation (to the brain and peripheries), Alzheimer’s, memory, Raynaud’s disease, arthritis and rheumatism, arteriosclerosis, vertigo, anxiety, lung issues (asthma, bronchitis, wheezing, coughs)
Cautions: Contact with the fleshy husk causes severe dermatitis and needs to be handled with gloves. The husk needs to be removed before use. Also, the extract can cause rare reactions (gastrointestinal, headache, skin allergies) in some individuals.
Bitter, astringent, neutral energy. Nuts are mildly toxic.
- Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
- The Complete Book of Herbs, Lesley Bremness
- The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
- Peterson Field Guide, Eastern/Central Medicinal Pants and Herbs, Foster & Duke
- Arbor Day Foundation Tree Guide
- Superfoods for Super Health
- Photo courtesy of Pixabay
*According to a couple of these sources listed, a concentrated extract of 24% is the most effective dosage. The leaves are highest in flavonoids when they are yellow, and highest in ginkgolides just before the leaves are turning color. If making your own tincture, use a mixture of leaves in both these states.
Personally, after researching this, I would stick to using leaves and not seeds in my own practice.
The Ginko tree is considered to be the oldest known tree, going back 190 million years. It has long been used in Chinese medicine.