Ginkgo

Family: Ginkgoaceae

Genus & Species: Ginkgo biloba
Common Names: Maidenhair Tree
Overview: Ginkgo biloba is a large deciduous tree that garners quite a bit of attention from biologists and herbalists alike. Regarded as a “living fossil”, this unique elder-plant has existed for 270 million years without any changes. Amazingly, it has no living relatives in existence. [1] The individual trees are also known for their incredibly long life span, exemplified by the thriving 1,400 year old ginkgo found at a Buddhist temple in China. Fittingly, ginkgo’s most common use in herbal medicine is as an agent to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s and impaired circulation in the elderly. [2,3] Modern clinical studies have demonstrated that extracts of ginkgo leaf specifically improve cerebral blood flow and reduce depression, tinnitus, and memory loss. [3] 
Therapeutic Properties: Nootropic, circulatory stimulant and tonic, anti-inflammatory, vasodilator, antioxidant, antispasmodic, anti-depressant, antiplatelet, gentle stimulant, astringent. [3,4]
Typical Uses: Ginkgo is most often taken internally, either as a standardized extract or as a tea. Both forms facilitate ginkgo’s effect as a cognitive enhancer and general circulatory tonic. It’s also best to use the herb internally if you’re hoping to experience its mood lifting, energizing, and antioxidant benefits. [3] However, if there is a specific part of the body that would benefit from increased circulation, then a topical application might be your best bet. This can be done by infusing ginkgo leaves into a carrier oil and then applying it to the area of concern a couple of times throughout the day. 

References:

1. Rethinking Ginkgo biloba L.: Medicinal uses and conservation | PubMed Central®

2. Ginkgo biloba | The Naturopathic Herbalist

3. Ginkgo Biloba leaf extract | American Botanical Council

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