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Ginkgo Biloba and Its Healing Properties

Aug 17, 2007
Ginkgo Biloba is one of the most popular herbal remedies in use today. Like many other herbs, our ancestors have known of and taken advantage of its healing properties for centuries. Doctors recommend caution when taking this herb, as it is extremely potent. Symptoms of overuse include skin disorders, headaches, and other issues. Taken with respect for dosing guidelines, and awareness, Ginkgo Biloba can vastly enhance your alternative healing medicine cabinet.

The Ginkgo Biloba tree is the sole survivor of an entire genus of related trees, and therefore truly in a class all by itself. Fossil records indicate this tree flourished before and during the dinosaur era. Unlike the dinosaurs, and many other life forms, Ginkgo Biloba survived virtually unchanged. Aside from being an incredible survivor, the nature of this tree runs contrary to almost every other plant on Earth. To begin, it is a deciduous conifer; meaning its leaves fall off every year, unlike a pine tree. The Ginkgo tree also comes in female and male genders; with the later having motile sperm. In modern times, there are only a few samples of wild trees reported to be left in the Shandong province of China. Not only are some of these trees reputed to be over 3,000 years old, they sport aerial roots that took hundreds of years to develop.

The Ginkgo Biloba tree was first introduced in Europe in the early 18 th century where it gained immense popularity as an ornamental tree. In the 1980s, researchers discovered the potent effect extracts from this tree have on the cardiovascular system.

Almost every part of the tree has medicinal properties. The leaves are known to contain flavones glycosides, lactones, sitosterol, bioflavones, and anthocyanins. The main therapeutic function is the relaxation of blood vessels and stimulation of the circulatory system. Hence, the observation that Ginkgo improves mental function, as it improves blood flow in the brain. Continued research on this front holds promise for isolating a compound that will reduce, or perhaps even alleviate the symptoms of dementia that often accompanies Alzheimer's disease. Fluid extract from fresh Ginkgo Biloba leaves are already widely sold in Europe to treat cerebral arteriosclerosis in the elderly.

Recent research has demonstrated that ginkgolide, a compound found in the leaves, is as effective as many standard pharmaceutical drugs currently used to treat irregular heartbeats. Tinctures made from fresh Ginkgo Biloba leaves are combined with other herbs such as periwinkle and linden to treat a number of circulatory problems. Many herbalists also combine the leaves of the Ginkgo tree with king's clover to treat venous disorders.

Other uses for the Ginkgo Biloba leave include the treatment of varicose veins, leg ulcers, inflammations, and hemorrhoids. For these ailments, herbalists make an infusion that can be turned into a wash.

The Ginkgo Biloba seeds are also rich in minerals, fatty acids, and bioflavones. The seeds are especially popular in traditional Chinese medicine, and are called bai gou. They are believed to act on the lung and kidneys and are used to treat the symptoms of asthmatic disorders, and all chest problems that produce thick phlegm. The seeds of the Ginkgo tree are also believed to have a toning effect on the urinary system, and are useful in the treatment of excessive urination, or incontinence.

The Ginkgo Biloba tree has become firmly established in the repertoire of all herbalists. Researchers today are confirming a wealth of healing properties for the cardiovascular system. With careful attention to dosing guidelines, the Ginkgo Biloba can be safe, effective, and reliable in treating various illnesses.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Herbs.
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