“Ginkgo dates to the Paleozoic period more than 225 million years ago. . . and has remained unchanged over
that enormous span of time, making it the oldest living tree species on the planet today.”
Type: Strongly tonic to slightly stimulating
Properties: Vaso-tonic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, anti-anxiety
Part Used: The leaves, gathered both green in the summer (new) and yellow in the fall (traditional). A combination of the green and yellow leaves is the highest in polyphenols.
Preparation and Dose: * Tincture of the fresh leaves, 3-5 dropperfuls a day.
* Tea of the dried leaves, steeped 5-7 minutes, 1-2 cups daily.
* Extract, standardized to 24-27 percent flavone glycosides, a 120 mg dose is taken twice a day.
Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy, before surgery, and when taking blood-thinning drugs.
This ancient tree gives us its yellow fall leaves, which we tincture, to make a remedy that has important therapeutic effects on the circulatory system and nerves. It is an opening and somewhat stimulating tonic to the blood vessels, with a special ability to improve peripheral circulation, circulation to the brain, and engorgement of sexual tissues.
Ginkgo leaves have been used as a heart tonic for at least 600 years in China.
Ginkgo is unlike other heart tonics, in that even daily use is not protective against stroke or heart attack (nor to prevent or reduce dementia).
Ginkgo’s real expertise is in helping those with poor circulation. It increases dilation and tone in all the peripheral blood vessels, including those in the eyes, brain, and legs. By increasing venous return from the head, ginkgo improves arterial blood flow to the brain. Beneficiaries include those with Parkinson’s disease, as well as those dealing with age-related eye disorders including cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. (Regular use can prevent these problems as well.)
Ginkgo is the star when it comes to helping those with poor circulation in their legs, known as peripheral vascular disease or intermittent claudication. The most common symptoms of peripheral vascular disease are cold feet and pain in the legs when walking. Untreated, it can lead to “amputation, or major surgical bypass procedures in the lower extremities.” In one study, ginkgo was twice as effective as the placebo in improving circulation in the legs.
Because it decreases resistance in the blood vessels, ginkgo is thought of as a blood thinner. One herbal surgeon said it definitely wasn’t, in his experience. He allows his patients to take it up to the day of their surgery and has never had a bleeding problem because of it. In fact, he feels that it facilitates healing.
Some of the scientifically-validated effects of gingko, according to David Hoffmann and others, include:
* increases blood supply in both focal and diffuse cerebral vascular disease
* 80% successful in treating cerebral circulatory insufficiency problems including vertigo and headache
* aids the healing of chronic arterial and vascular problems
* counters complications following a stroke
* eases blood vessel spasms in the elderly and those with arteriosclerosis
* lowers high blood pressure
* restores diminished sight and hearing (when due to poor blood flow)
* alleviates memory problems and improves alertness
* stabilizes irregular heartbeat