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Ginkgo

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Ginkgo Tree

Ginkgo

The medicinal herb Ginkgo as an alternative herbal remedy - The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgos are medium-large deciduous trees, normally reaching a height of 20–35 m (66-115 feet), with some specimens in China being over 50 m (164 feet). A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos very long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old: A 3,000 year-old ginkgo has been reported in Shandong province in China.Common Names--ginkgo, ginkgo biloba, fossil tree, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot, baiguo, bai guo ye, kew tree, yinhsing (yin-hsing)

Latin Name--Ginkgo biloba

  • Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) is particularly renowned for its content: flavonoids, terpenoids, and organic acids. Researchers have studied its benefits in supporting all phases involved in sexual desire. An open study on 63 subjects found that the percentage of women responding to the benefits of Ginkgo biloba was higher than that of men, with relative success rates of 91%! Ginkgo biloba was reported to have a positive effect on all four phases of the sexual response cycle: desire, excitement (lubrication), orgasm, and resolution (afterglow). Theories for the results include the maintenance of circulation to the genitals and norepinephrine receptor-induced effects on the brain. (Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. "Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction". J Sex Marital Ther. 1998;24:139–143).

What Ginkgo Is Used For

  • Ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and cooked seeds are occasionally eaten. More recently, ginkgo leaf extract has been used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Today, people use ginkgo leaf extracts hoping to improve memory; to treat or help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia; to decrease intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries); and to treat sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, and other health conditions.

Herbal Remedy Products with Ginkgo as part of the ingredients

Thanda Passion Booster.jpg
  • Thanda Passion Booster™ - Herbal remedy to naturally increase libido, sexual pleasure & orgasmic strength in women
    • Increases libido, sex drive and desire
    • Enhances female sexual pleasure
    • Increases orgasmic strength
    • Achieves optimal sexual health and vitality
    • Supports circulation and hormonal balance
Focus Formula.jpg
  • Focus Formula™ - Herbal remedy proven to relieve symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children & adults, including poor mental focus, trouble concentrating and decreased attention span
    • Improves concentration and memory
    • Increases attention span
    • Reduces hyperactivity and restlessness
    • Calms, soothes and reduces mood swings
    • Reduces impulsiveness and aggression
    • Improves alertness and mental focus
    • Calms overactive minds

How Ginkgo Is Used

  • Extracts are usually taken from the ginkgo leaf and are used to make tablets, capsules, or teas. Occasionally, ginkgo extracts are used in skin products.

What the Science Says about Ginkgo

  • Numerous studies of ginkgo have been done for a variety of conditions. Some promising results have been seen for Alzheimer's disease/dementia, intermittent claudication, and tinnitus among others, but larger, well-designed research studies are needed.
  • Some smaller studies for memory enhancement have had promising results, but a trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging of more than 200 healthy adults over age 60 found that ginkgo taken for 6 weeks did not improve memory.
  • NCCAM is conducting a large clinical trial of ginkgo with more than 3,000 volunteers. The aim is to see if the herb prevents the onset of dementia and, specifically, Alzheimer's disease; slows cognitive decline and functional disability (for example, inability to prepare meals); reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease; and decreases the rate of premature death.
  • Ginkgo is also being studied by NCCAM for asthma, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, vascular function (intermittent claudication), cognitive decline, sexual dysfunction due to antidepressants, and insulin resistance. NCCAM is also looking at potential interactions between ginkgo and prescription drugs.
Herbal remedies in zamboanga.PNG

Side Effects and Cautions of Ginkgo

  • Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. More severe allergic reactions have occasionally been reported.
  • There are some data to suggest that ginkgo can increase bleeding risk, so people who take anticoagulant drugs, have bleeding disorders, or have scheduled surgery or dental procedures should use caution and talk to a health care provider if using ginkgo.
  • Uncooked ginkgo seeds contain a chemical known as ginkgotoxin, which can cause seizures. Consuming large quantities of seeds over time can cause death.
  • Ginkgo leaf and ginkgo leaf extracts appear to contain little ginkgotoxin.
  • It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including ginkgo. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.

News About Ginkgo

The World Told Through the Eyes of the Ginkgo Tree

(Smithsonian.com)

By deciding this ancient plant was worthy of their attention, humans ended up dramatically shaping its evolution

Now known as a common street tree, ginkgo biloba lays claim to a history that vastly predates humans. The tree's rounded fronds are found in fossils going back 270 million years, with the ancient version of the plant looking much the same as today's. But since humans hit the scene, the fate of this distinctive tree has been inextricably bound with the history of us.

Not only has the mighty ginkgo made appearances in poetry, art and literature for millennia. But our desire for its seeds and beauty has dramatically shaped this tree's evolution. At varying times in history, ginkgo has been grown as a food plant, cultivated for its pleasing shape and used in alternative medicine.

For other living things that humans have deemed useful—fur-bearing seals, elephants with ivory tusks—this kind of attention can be fatal. For ginkgo, it has been the opposite.

This week’s episode of Generation Anthropocene charts the rise and fall of this remarkable plant, and the starring role humans have played in its journey. You might think of ginkgo as humanity's first (inadvertent) conservation project: By deciding it was worthy of consumption, we ended up spreading this tree around the world and even saving it from the edge of extinction. Today, the ginkgo stands as an icon of the Anthropocene.


Health Benefits Of Ginkgo Biloba Tree

By Dr.Gopi Krishna Maddikera

Ginkgo Biloba is also called as Maidenhair tree. It is the oldest surviving tree species on the earth.

It is said to grow 300 million years ago. It is known to be the best herbal supplement in The United States and Europe.

Ginkgo is beneficial to elderly persons. This herb enhances oxygen utilization and improves memory, and concentration.

It aids in the development of mental faculties. The herbal extract of the Ginkgo Biloba improves long-distance vision and protect from retina damage. It is said to treat depression. It gives relief to headaches, sinusitis, and vertigo.

What Is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo Biloba is the hardy tree. It is also known as a ‘living fossil.’This the tree is the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees.It is also said that these trees remain from the time of the dinosaurs.Therefore, we can say it is the oldest living species in the world.

A Ginkgo Biloba tree can live for 1,000 years. Its height goes up to 120 feet. It has short branches and has fan-shaped leaves. The fruit of the tree has a bad smell. The fruit has a seed inside, which is many times poisonous. The seeds have no protective shell.

The young Biloba tree has a central trunk and is pyramid shaped. The old tree oval shaped and they have irregular branches.

In many parts of the world, Ginkgo Biloba is considered sacred. It is considered as the symbol of unity, invariability, and love

The leaves and the seed of the tree are used for herbal medicines. But, mainly the extract of the tree is very useful for treating health problems.

The extract of the Ginkgo Biloba is made from the dried green leaves of the tree. Properties of Ginkgo Biloba

The different characteristics of Ginkgo Biloba are

• Ginkgo Biloba has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the pain and swelling.
• Ginkgo leaves have antioxidants like flavonoids and terpenoids. It fights against the free radicals.Flavonoids protect the nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels, and enhances the eye health.

Terpenoids improve the blood flow in the body, it dilates the blood vessels and reduces the stickiness of the platelets.

• Ginkgo Biloba leaves extract has the healing properties.
Health Benefits Of Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba has remarkable advantages. So, now let’s read about them

1. Ginkgo Biloba Benefits Memory

Ginkgo Biloba is considered as a “Brain Herb.” It is said to improve memory, thinking and aids to better social behavior.

Ginkgo facilitates better blood flow throughout the body, from the brain to toes. In the brain functioning, it protects and promotes memory and mental functioning. Studies have proved that it is beneficial in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Studies have proved that it is beneficial in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some studies have also confirmed that ginkgo has helped to improve memory and thinking ability in the young and middle-aged people.

Some studies have also confirmed that ginkgo has helped to improve memory and thinking ability in the young and middle-aged people. Dose and Use

• It is recommended to take 240mg of Ginkgo per day for best results.
• Ginkgo Biloba herb is often added to the nutrition bars, soft drinks, and fruit smoothies to enhance mental performance.

2. Depression

Ginkgo Biloba notes a remarkable improvement in the mood swing. It helps people suffering from varying degrees of vascular insufficiency. It is said that Ginkgo extract prevents the need for pharmaceuticals.

Studies have proved that Ginkgo Biloba Extract has shown to enhance the depression treatments. It has wonderfully improved the condition of the older patients.

3. Antioxidant

Ginkgo Biloba extracts work as an antioxidant, it combats free radicals and prevents the damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage structures and cells.

They many times weaken the artery walls and results into cancer and other health problems.

Ginkgo extract repairs the molecular damage; it prevents the radical damage. It blocks the tension of cancer and heart diseases.

4. Alzheimer’s Disease

Ginkgo stabilizes the condition of the people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

It improves the nerve cell functions and the blood flow to the nervous system and brain. It reduces blood viscosity.

Ginkgo improves the blood circulation in the body.

It opens the blood vessels and makes the blood less sticky.

Ginkgo improves the destruction of nerve. It is also said that it protects the nerve cells that are damaged by Alzheimer disease.

So, Ginkgo helps people suffering from Alzheimer disease. It improves their memory, helps them perform activities quickly. They experience a little feeling of depression.

5. Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a disease which reduces the blood flow in response to cold or emotional stress.

It many times causes discoloration of the toes and fingers. They also make nails brittle. Raynaud’s disease deprives the extremities of oxygen. Ginkgo biloba helps remarkably in this disease.

It widens the small blood vessels and keeps the spasm away from blocking the blood flow. Ginkgo Biloba can be taken for ten weeks, would give better results.

6. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain that produces dopamine. In Parkinson’s diseases, there is a lack of dopamine.

It results into muscle rigidity, tremors, and progressive stiffness.

Studies have proved that Ginkgo Biloba increases the brain’s blood flow, and it allows the dopamine to circulate in the area where it is needed the most.

7. Impotency

Ginkgo biloba helps in the treatment of impotence.

Male impotence is caused due to the poor circulation and impaired blood flow through the penis.

As Ginkgo biloba increases the blood flow, it helps to treat the impotence. Studies have proved that Ginkgo Biloba has helped about 50% patients after six months of use.

8. Strokes

Ginkgo Biloba extract prevents blood clots and increases blood circulation to the brain; this contributes to mitigating the tension of heart diseases and strokes.

Studies have proved that this herb prevents and treats the patients after a stroke.

9. Anxiety

Ginkgo Biloba extract has a unique formulation called EGB 761. It is proved that people who took this extract had less anxiety disorder.

Moreover, they were able to adjust to the situations in a better way.

10. Eye Health

Macular degeneration also called age-related macular degeneration ( AMD), is an eye disease that damages the retina.

This is years result into blindness.

Ginkgo Biloba has an ability to increase vascular dilation. Ginkgo has flavonoids in it; this reduces the retinal damage.

Studies have suggested that Ginkgo Biloba has not only improved the eye vision but also has preserved it.

11. Ear Health

Many people suffer from the ear, nose, and throat problems. This is often called tinnitus.

This is often caused due to the blood streaming phenomena in the nerves or many times it causes muscular cramps inside the middle ear.

Many patients experience pain. This problem is treated with Ginkgo Biloba, as it ensures proper blood circulation.

12. Intermittent claudication

Many people face intermittent claudication; this is a muscle pain caused due to the decreased blood flow to the legs.

People have a problem with walking and experience extreme pain. The analysis was done and showed that people were benefited who were taking Ginkgo Biloba.

They faced less pain and were able to walk properly. Available Forms of Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is available in different forms as follows:

• Standardized extracts that contain 24% to 32% of flavonoids and 6% to 12% of terpenoids.

• It is in the Capsule form.

• Tablet form

• It is also available in liquid extracts in the form of tinctures and fluid extract.

• Ginkgo Biloba is also available in the form of dried leaves of the tea. Doses of Ginkgo Biloba

The different doses of Ginkgo Biloba are prescribed for the people. They are:

They are:

1. Ginkgo Biloba should not be given to the children.

2. For adults

I. For the people suffering from Dementia, the common dose is 40 mg to be taken three times a day.

II. For improving cognitive function, it should be between 120 to 600 mg daily.

III. For Alzheimer disease, it is 120 to 240 mg daily.

IV. People who are facing the problem of Intermittent claudication, the appropriate dose is 120 to 240 mg. Here, it can be taken for 4 to 5 weeks.

It is advised that these figures are approximate and are derived according to the research done. It is important to consult a doctor for the exact dose before you start using it.

Side effects of Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba extract is safe.

It may cause different side effects at some times. Many times undesirable effects are experienced among the people who have blood circulation disorder.

Other effects are

• Headache
• Dizziness
• Heart palpitations
• Nausea
• Gas
• Diarrhea.
• Stomach aches
• Restlessness
• Vomiting
• Allergies that can trigger rashes

Some tips to be kept in mind while using Ginkgo Biloba

A. If you have a bleeding disorder, or you are planning a surgery, consult a doctor before using ginkgo.

B. Diabetic Patients and people who have fertility problems are advised not to take Ginkgo.

C. Please do not eat untreated, hard parts of the ginkgo plant. It can be dangerous.

D. Uncooked ginkgo seeds if consumed can cause seizures and death.

E. So, You are advised NOT to eat Ginkgo fruit or seed.

F. People who are suffering from epilepsy should not take ginkgo, as it might cause seizures.

G. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised not to take Ginkgo.

H. Children should be kept far away from this herb.

I. If you are taking blood-thinning drugs, the herb can interact with it and cause harmful effects.

J. You are asked to consult a doctor if you are taking any medication, before taking this herb. Conclusion

Now, when we have read much about the Ginkgo Herb, we can say it is a type of medicinal herb. It manages anxiety, cerebral insufficiency, dementia, etc.

It keeps your memory sharp. Today, much of the research is done on this. It is advised to use it cautiously if you are using any other medication.So start it with a small dose and see the beneficial effects.

Stay Safe, Stay Happy




Ginkgo Biloba: Health Benefits, Uses, and Risks

By Annette McDermott (Medically Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT)

Ginkgo biloba has many health benefits. It’s often used to treat mental health conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, and fatigue. It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for about 1,000 years. It came on the Western culture scene a few centuries ago, but has enjoyed a surge of popularity over the last few decades.

Uses of ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo is used as an herbal remedy to treat many conditions. It may be best known as a treatment for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and fatigue. Other conditions it’s used to treat are:

• anxiety and depression
• schizophrenia
• insufficient blood flow to the brain
• blood pressure problems
• altitude sickness
• erectile dysfunction
• asthma
• neuropathy
• cancer
• premenstrual syndrome
• attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• macular degeneration

Like many natural remedies, ginkgo isn’t well-studied for many of the conditions it’s used for.

Health benefits of ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo’s health benefits are thought to come from its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also increase blood flow and play a role in how neurotransmitters in the brain operate.

Some studies support the effectiveness of ginkgo. Other research is mixed or inconclusive. In 2008, results of the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study were released. The study sought to find out if ginkgo would reduce the occurrence of all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. It also looked at ginkgo’s impact on:

• overall cognitive decline
• blood pressure
• incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke
• overall mortality
• functional disability

The GEM study, the largest of its kind to date, followed 3,069 people age 75 or older for 6 to 7 years. Researchers found no effect for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in study participants who either took ginkgo or a placebo. And a 2012 meta-analysis found ginkgo had no positive effects on cognitive function in healthy people.

Still, a 2014 study showed ginkgo supplementation may benefit people who already have Alzheimer’s and take cholinesterase inhibitors, common medications used to treat the condition.

The GEM study also found ginkgo didn’t reduce high blood pressure. There was also no evidence ginkgo decreases the risk of heart attack or stroke. It may, however, reduce the risk of peripheral artery disease caused by poor blood circulation.

According to a 2013 systematic review, ginkgo can be considered an adjuvant therapy for schizophrenia. Researchers found ginkgo seemed “to exert a beneficial effect on positive psychotic symptoms” in people with chronic schizophrenia who take antipsychotic medication.

Researchers in that study also found positive study results for ADHD, autism, and generalized anxiety disorder, but indicated more research is needed.

According to an older review of evidence study, ginkgo may improve erectile dysfunction caused by antidepressant medications. Researchers believe ginkgo increases the availability of nitric oxide gas which plays a role in increasing blood flow to the penis.

Ginkgo may help relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, according to a 2009 study. During the study, participants taking either ginkgo or a placebo experienced a reduction in symptoms. Those taking ginkgo had significantly more relief.

Ginkgo biloba risks

Ginkgo is generally safe for healthy people to use in moderation for up to six months. Severe side effects are rare. Still, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate ginkgo and other over-the-counter herbal supplements as strictly as other drugs. This means it’s hard to know exactly what’s in the ginkgo you buy. Only buy a brand of supplement you trust.

Ginkgo may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Your risk may be higher if you’re allergic to urushiols, an oily resin found in poison ivy, sumac, poison oak, and mango rind.

Ginkgo may increase bleeding. Don’t use ginkgo if you have a bleeding disorder or take medications or use other herbs that may increase your risk of bleeding. To limit your bleeding risk, stop taking ginkgo at least two weeks before undergoing a surgical procedure.

Don’t take ginkgo if you’re on any medications that alter clotting. Don’t take it if you’re taking NSAIDS like ibuprofen, too. Ginkgo can have serious side effects. If you’re on any medication, let your doctor know the dose you plan on taking.

Ginkgo may lower blood sugar. Use with caution if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia or if you take other medications or herbs that also lower blood sugar.

Don’t eat ginkgo seeds or unprocessed ginkgo leaves; they’re toxic.

Due to the potential bleeding risk, don’t use ginkgo if you’re pregnant. Ginkgo hasn’t been studied for use in pregnant women, breastfeeding women, or children.

Other potential side effects of ginkgo are:

• headache
• vomiting
• diarrhea
• nausea
• heart palpitations
• dizziness
• rash
Takeaway

There was a time ginkgo seemed like a magic bullet for preventing age-related memory loss and other health conditions. But research to date doesn’t support much of the enthusiasm.

Most evidence for ginkgo is anecdotal or decades old. Still, research has shown ginkgo may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, help treat some common mental health conditions, improve sexual function, and improve blood flow to the peripheral arteries.

Don’t replace a current medication with ginkgo or start taking ginkgo to treat a serious condition without consulting your doctor.



5 Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: From Memory to Better Blood Flow

(Jessica, Superfoods)

Though you’ll most likely find it in the herbal supplement aisle, Gingko Biloba extract doesn’t come from an herb, but a tree. And what a tree! (No, seriously, it’s pretty amazing.)

Native to China, various parts of the gingko have been used in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine and cuisine for thousands of years. The gingko tree, or “Maidenhair Tree,” can grow for thousands of years and reach hundreds of feet.

You could argue that the gingko tree is pretty much perfect: it’s remained unchanged for over 270 million years and is referred to as a living fossil because it’s almost identical to its fossilized ancestors. Gingko is also been one of the best selling supplements in the U.S. and Europe for decades—and with good reason.

The parts of the tree that are most frequently in extracts are the seed and leaf. For example, when you’re buying Gingko Biloba extract, you’re most likely buying a serum made from the leaves.

Of the dozens of components that make up gingko leaves and seeds, it’s the flavanoids and terpenoids (awesome antioxidants that counteract the effects of cell oxidization and lipids found in plants) that are responsible for the unique benefits related to taking gingko.

What kind of benefits? Let’s find out!

5 Ginkgo Biloba Benefits

1. Ginkgo Biloba Boosts Brain Power

Of all the ginkgo biloba benefits, the best known is ginkgo’s ability to boost brain power. So does ginkgo biloba work?

Though studies aren’t conclusive, all signs point to gingko improving neurological and psychological health by increasing blood flow to the brain.

Several studies have shown that taking ginkgo daily improved the memory of healthy participants—from young adults to people well into their middle ages. The best results were achieved where participants took a combination of ginseng and gingko, or codonopsis (aka poor man’s ginseng) and gingko. Goes to show it’s never too late to start thinking about your noggin!

2. Ginkgo Improves Circulation

Many of the health benefits of gingko biloba stems from the fact that it’s rich in terpenoids, a naturally occurring lipid, which is also an antioxidant with a solid reputation for improving blood flow.

Gingko helps your vascular system in two ways: dilating your blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets. What does this mean? Gingko thins the blood, opens up the vessels and voilà! Improved blood flow to those hard-to-flow-to areas.

This is great news because a number of people, especially those in their late 60s and older, suffer from narrowing of the arteries. This can lead to pain in the extremities where blood can’t get. A number of studies show that by taking gingko the symptoms (namely pain and associated immobility) are reduced; participants taking the supplement and not the placebo could walk for greater distances and suffered less pain. Healthier blood and helping stay healthy through increased physical activity? Good job, gingko!

3. Ginkgo Biloba is a Real Eye Opener

So we know that gingko boosts your brain and helps your vascular system, but it can also help keep your peepers in tip-top shape.

Gingko is proving to be a dynamo when in comes to treating glaucoma, a degenerative eye disease resulting from a build-up of fluid in the eyes. Regularly taking a particular form of the extract prevents degeneration and even halts and reverses it.

It’s also kicking butt against Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), one of the top causes of vision loss in the United States. Most common in people over 50, AMD results in the blurring or loss of central vision. In a European trial, several hundred people suffering from AMD who took gingko reported improved vision and slowed degeneration. Literally and figuratively, results you can see.

4. Ginkgo Has a Calming Effect and May Help Anxiety

One study has found that ginkgo helped seniors experiencing dementia and anxiety significantly with little to no side effects. Because of the great results achieved, more studies are underway to study the extract’s effect on generalized anxiety disorder.

So far a combination of St. John’s Wort and gingko have produced really good results in treating people suffering from anxiety or depression.

5. Ginkgo to Relieve Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

People suffering from Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, rejoice! In several studies, women who took gingko from day 16 of their cycle through to the 5th day of their next cycle found a major reduction in symptoms. A double-blind group where 34% of people reported symptoms found that by the end of their 2nd cycle in the study only 11% of women reported pain or discomfort related to their menses.

Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects

Before you run to your local gingko dispensary to get your lifetime supply, there are a few things you should know.

It has been shown to trigger seizures in people who suffer from epilepsy. This hasn’t been proven conclusively, but there is enough of a link to make it a no-go,

Don’t eat gingko fruit or seed. Just don’t do it! It can be toxic, especially in larger doses. Let science work out which parts you should ingest, not your digestive system,

Gingko can interact with other meds so like with any medicine, consult your doctor before taking, because it does interact with other drugs and may not be the right treatment for you.



Ginkgo Biloba, the new plant on the skincare block

By Neeti Jaychander

Native to South East Asia, the unique fan-shaped leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree have been used for millennia now in traditional medicine, mainly to treat blood disorders and enhance memory, preventing the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s. What’s more, these potent leaves can also help keep PMS at bay! The seeds in turn, were used to prevent allergies, asthma, enhance digestion and resolve bladder issues.

Ginkgo trees can grow upto 120 feet high and last as long as 1,000 years without losing any of their incredible benefits! It is one of the world’s oldest trees, and has also been called the Maidenhair Tree (because of the fan-shaped leaves that sway in the breeze like maidens), the Silver Apricot Tree and the Tree of Youth. The word comes from the Japanese word ‘ginkyo’ which means silver apricot, since that’s what the ripened silvery flowers and seeds resemble. It is also called the Tree of Hope, because it is so hardy, it survived the Hiroshima atom bomb explosion in WWII!

But going beyond all that, Ginkgo Biloba also has amazing benefits when used topically, and is slowly finding its way into skincare products worldwide. Here’s why:

1) The leaves of Gingko Biloba tree are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory properties and safeguards against acne and wound scars.

2) It protection the skin against harmful UVB rays, making it ideal to include in sunscreens.

3) It is a natural collagen booster, keeping the skin firm, supple and toned. It also enhances blood circulation.

4) Rich in anti-oxidants, it is one of the most effective natural anti-ageing ingredients, and can be used in anti-ageing serums, eye care products, night creams and so on, to curtail the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.

5) Ginkgo Biloba is also a natural cleanser, unclogging blocked pores and cleansing your skin of layers of oil and pollution.



Get Past the Vile Smell: Ginkgo Nuts Are Delicious

By Rachel Nuwer (smithsonian.com)

People have been feasting on these tasty little morsels since at least the 11th century

Autumn is here, and with it comes not only brisk breezes, beautiful leaves and pumpkins, but the vile reek of the ginkgo nut. Ginkgo trees—originally from Asia—now grow in cool climates around the world. When temperatures begin to fall, the trees' fan-shaped leaves might turn a beautiful gold, but that lovely display is not without its costs. Ginkgo nuts, which also appear at this time, have been described as smelling like hot garbage, odiferous cheese, dog poop or worse.

Savvy foragers, however, know that the ginkgo's disgusting stench is deceiving. If you take the time to break through that outer husk, you'll be rewarded with a delicious morsel nestled inside. Here's Edible Manhattan, reporting back from a successful recent ginkgo nut-harvesting trip to Central Park:

The thing to know about ginkgos is that the fruit’s flesh is smelly, but the little pit within is not. And while you could take the whole fruits home to pick through, it’s easy to pluck them apart before bagging. After aging a bit on the sidewalk, each orb easily yields its heart, and I soon had a cup or two of what looked like apricot pits, stuck the bag in my pocket and went on my way. Back home I washed them in the colander, consulted Brooklynite Leda Meredith’s beautiful book Northeast Foraging and toasted my haul on a sheet tray at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. It couldn’t have been easier; I was soon cracking them open (I used my ricer to violate several shells at a time) and snacking on something enjoyably interesting, an ancient food that, to me, was entirely new.

As Edible notes, today's urban foragers are far from the first to have caught on to the ginkgo's secret. People have been feasting on ginkgo nuts for centuries. The first written records of them date back to an 11th century Chinese text. By the 15th century, cooks in Japan—who still commonly serve ginkgo nuts in dishes and on their own, skewered and grilled—were using them in desserts and as part of tea ceremonies.


Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

(Herbs For Health)

Discover the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba which is also referred to as ‘Maidenhair’ and also considered to be the world’s oldest surviving tree species is a unique herbal plant with various health benefits. Various scientific studies have managed to indicate that the amazing tree which traces its origin back to China has been existence for over 200 million years now. What is even more, exciting is the fact that all the parts of the Ginkgo Biloba tree can be used in treating various diseases.

The tree’s fruits, leaves, bark and even seeds can all be used to improve one’s health.

Although the Chinese have been known to use the plant for its medicinal properties for years now, most of its modern application is a result of the intensive scientific research carried out by German scientists. The herbal remedy which can be made from cut or whole leaves and prepared just like other herb infusions and green teas can provide even better results when combined with ‘Panax Ginseng.’ This article is going to educate you as the reader on the various Ginkgo benefits and side effects if any.

Main Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba Herb
Stroke prevention and treatment.

Extensive scientific research is ongoing on the stroke treatment and prevention benefits acquired after using the Ginkgo Biloba herb. However, previously reported findings do indicate that Ginkgo can effectively help in preventing stroke by minimizing to a great extent the formation of blood clots in the arteries while improving overall blood flow to all major body organs especially the brain. Doctors who have sufficient knowledge on the herbal plant’s unique healing properties may choose to prescribe the herbal remedy to patients who have suffered a stroke to help in restoring damaged brain cells.

Boosting Human Libido

One of the most vital effects experienced after using the Ginkgo herb is the increase in blood circulation. Sufficient blood circulation is responsible for maintaining the ideal body energy levels while ensuring that our bodies get the full unaltered benefits from the foods, vitamins, and herbal supplements we consume. The herbal remedy has been proven to increase libido in both men and women while treating impotency related issues, particularly in men.

This is often attained by effectively increasing the required genital blood flow, thus heightening responsiveness resulting in a higher libido. Impaired blood flow and poor circulation through the penis are the main causes of impotency hence using the herbal infusion to increase circulation is likely to get rid of the condition. Mood Swings and Depression Management

Patients who have been diagnosed with mild depression may benefit greatly from using Ginkgo Biloba extracts or tea to manage their medical condition. Older patients, particularly have shown remarkable improvement when using the herbal remedy to treat their ailments and may often end up renouncing the use of antidepressants as they perceive Ginkgo to be the best treatment alternative while shunning conventional pharmaceutical treatments.

Individuals suffering from varying levels of vascular insufficiency can also experience a notable improvement in their moods after using the extract. Many people, especially the elderly have found Ginkgo Biloba to effectively treat cases of depression resulting in its widespread popularity.

Unique Antioxidant Properties

Oxygen is a vital element in our daily lives, but can have serious negative effects on the human body under certain conditions. Free radicals or unstable oxygen molecules are often created as a stimulus response to pollutants and external factors or during the body’s normal use and break down of oxygen resulting in both cell and cell structure damage. This alone can contribute to serious health issues, including cancer, especially when the cell genetic material has been affected.

The herb’s antioxidant properties are therefore essential to prevent this from happening.

Ginkgo Biloba provides a powerful yet effective antioxidant that is required in the body to help in repairing cells while getting rid of the acquired harmful effects brought about by free radicals. By doing so, the herbal remedy plays an important role in preventing stroke, heart disease, cancer among other serious medical conditions from happening.

Relieving Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a medical condition that is typically associated with the loss of normal muscle coordination, constant shaking and progressive stiffness that is often caused by the lack of dopamine in the body. It is a common belief that the constant and regular use of the Ginkgo herb can alleviate the symptoms associated with the disease.

The herb works by increasing blood flow to the major body organs particularly the brain, providing an even higher concentration of neurotransmitters found in the brain resulting in a much better coordination of body activities. Doctors theorize that when used alongside other treatments the herbal remedy can increase dopamine supply to the areas that need it the most relieving Parkinson’s disease in the process.

Controlling Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s has long been believed to be a strange disease as there is has been no cure discovered for it. What is even more, disturbing is the fact that doctors are yet to identify what really causes it in the first place. However, over 300 scientific studies1 have demonstrated Ginkgo’s effectiveness in promoting better blood circulation in the body, especially in the brain, promoting and protecting mental function and memory even for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

It is difficult to explain how Ginkgo Biloba works in stabilizing and in some instances improving the overall quality of life for those suffering from the degenerative disease as doctors don’t know its cause. Either way, scientists and prominent doctors both consider ginkgo as the best supplement to either hold off or even treat Alzheimer’s.

Relieving Reynaud’s disease

Prolonged consumption of the Ginkgo Biloba herb has been found to effectively relieve Reynaud’s disease which is a medical condition caused by restricted blood flow, especially in the toes and fingers. The symptoms experienced by individuals with Reynaud’s disease such as blood clotting can be effectively inhibited by the use of the ginkgo herb resulting in minimized headaches, blood coagulation, and cramps.

Biloba herb may aid in treating the medical condition by widening all the small blood vessels present in the fingers and toes keeping the available spasms from totally blocking the blood circulation. This will also reduce the clogging of the available arteries inhibiting plaque formation, therefore, protecting the individual from developing a heart disease.

Ginkgo Biloba side effects

Individuals under anticoagulant medication, including warfarin and aspirin and those with blood circulation disorders, should refrain from using the herbal plant as they may experience various undesirable effects after consumption. Other common, but mild side effects include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. It is always considered wise to consult a medical practitioner or herbal expert before using any herbal infusion especially Ginkgo Biloba.


How to Grow a Ginkgo Sapling

(San Francisco Gate)

Ginkgo trees (Ginkgo biloba), also called maidenhairs, are deciduous trees with distinctive fan-shaped leaves that grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. The trees are very slow growing, averaging less than 1 foot of growth per year, but they reach up to 80 feet tall with a 60-foot spread, so they require plenty of room. Ginkgo trees are disease-, pest- and wind-resistant, and grow in almost all soils, though they prefer sandy soil.

1. Choose a location that gets full sun, although some shade is tolerated. The soil should be deep and have good drainage. Plant the sapling in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.

2. Till or turn over the top 1 foot of soil with a shovel before planting the ginkgo to loosen any compacted soil. About 4 inches of organic matter tilled into the soil will help with drainage.

3. Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the roots of the sapling. Set the sapling in the hole and fill the hole until the roots are covered with 1 inch of soil.

4. Pull or dig up any weeds in a 3-foot radius around the tree.

5. Water the ginkgo regularly during the first year after planting while it establishes a root system. Water at least an inch per week, or when the top inch of soil dries out. After the first year when the tree is better established, water when there are dry periods during the summer. Ginkgo trees will tolerate most soil conditions, but they do not like to sit in wet soil.

6. Broadcast an 8-8-8 fertilizer around the root zone of the tree each spring. Use 1 pound of fertilizer for each 1 inch of trunk diameter. If your soil is rich in nutrients, this additional fertilizer may not be necessary as gingko does well with low amounts of nutrients.

7. Prune to remove dead branches if you see them. Make cuts just outside the branch collar with a pruning saw.

Things You Will Need
• Shovel
• 8-8-8 fertilizer
• Pruning saw

◘ Tip

Plant a male-only cultivar, such as "Autumn Gold" or "Fastigiata," to avoid getting the smelly seeds that develop only on female trees.

◘ Warning

Check with your local utilities before digging.




The Requirements to Grow Ginkgo

(San Francisco Gate)

Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree, makes an interesting addition to an ornamental garden. Fossil records show the ginkgo tree was widespread more than 150 million years ago, although in recent centuries it nearly became extinct. Gingko grows hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 4. The tree grows slowly but eventually reaches up to 100 feet. Proper site selection and care allows you to grow and enjoy this tree for years.

Propagation Options

Ginkgo biloba comes in many varieties, but in general, avoid growing female trees. Female ginkgo trees bear round fruits that have a smell akin to vomit or rotting food. If growing from seed, fill a plastic bag with damp peat moss. Bury five ginkgo seeds within the moss and seal the bag. Check for germination periodically; sprouting begins in two to three weeks. Keep in mind that it takes ginkgo grown from seed up to 30 years to mature, so you won't know the tree's gender until then. Most gardeners prefer to propagate ginkgo from softwood cuttings taken from male trees.

Site Selection

Ginkgo trees are tolerant of pollution, making them an ideal choice for urban locations. Before planting a ginkgo tree, consider its estimated height and canopy width at maturity. When mature, ginkgo trees reach up to 100 feet tall and have a canopy between 30 and 50 feet wide. Avoid planting the ginkgo tree under or close to power lines or other tall structures.

Soil, Light and Water

Ginkgo biloba trees require well-draining soil to thrive. They grow in heavy clay, loam or light, sandy soil, but of all these soil types, sandy soil is best for the ginkgo tree. When you dig a hole for your ginkgo tree, fill the bottom with a 2-inch layer of compost. Ginkgo does not need additional fertilizer to thrive. Ginkgo trees must receive full sun; they grow poorly in the shade. Keep the soil moist during its first three to five years. The ginkgo tree is drought tolerant after that time.

Growing in Containers

Container-grown ginkgo has many of the same needs as ginkgo grown in the ground, although some of its requirements differ. Choose a container with ample drainage holes. When repotting, use a container that is about twice the size of the ginkgo's original container. Ginkgo kept in a container needs regular watering, especially when actively growing. Water your ginkgo tree when the soil feels dry. Prune the ginkgo in winter, if desired.


How to Grow a Ginkgo Biloba

(San Francisco Gate)

Commonly called maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba is a deciduous species of tree grown for its striking, fan-shaped foliage and tall, stately growth habit. The trees grow best within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9 and will eventually reach a mature height of 50 to 100 feet if planted in a sunny bed with deep, sandy soil. Once established, maidenhair trees withstand pests, drought and pollution with little damage, so they require little hands-on maintenance. However, they perform best when fed and watered regularly during the summer months with occasional light pruning.

1. Plant maidenhair trees in a sunny area offering deep, well-draining soil and protection from drying winds. Plant them at least 20 feet from structures, utility lines and septic systems to prevent root damage.

2. Weed a 10-foot area at the planting site to eliminate competition for water and nutrients. Dig a planting hole that is twice the width and the same depth as the maidenhair tree's nursery container.

3. Position the rootball in the hole and backfill around it with unamended soil. Firm it gently with your foot. Water the tree to a depth of 5 inches after planting to settle the soil. Spread a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch in a 5-foot radius around the base of the tree.

4. Water maidenhair trees deeply but infrequently to encourage root production. Run water at the base of the tree until the soil feels very moist in the top few inches. Water again only after the soil dries out. Cease watering during rainy weather.

5. Feed maidenhair trees monthly during their first season in the garden using a high phosphate, 4-12-4 ratio fertilizer. Switch to a yearly application of 3-1-1 ratio fertilizer in early spring after the tree becomes established. Apply the fertilizer at half the recommended strength to prevent root burn.

6. Prune maidenhair trees in spring to remove dead or damaged branches. Snip off the branch at least 3 inches above the damaged area using a pruning saw or loppers, depending on the thickness of the branch. Make an angled cut to encourage water run-off.

7. Decrease water during the maidenhair tree's second summer in the ground. Water to a depth of 5 inches every 10 to 15 days. Increase watering to 3 inches twice weekly during periods of extreme heat.

Things You Will Need
• Shovel
• Mulch
• Garden hose
• 4-12-4 ratio fertilizer
• 3-1-1 ratio fertilizer
• Pruning saw or loppers

◘ Tip

Maidenhair trees grow best in sandy soil, but they are adaptable to a range of soil types provided the site is well-draining.

◘ Warning

Avoid planting female maidenhair trees since they produce fruit with a distinct and unpleasant odor.



Ginkgo 'living fossil' genome decoded

(BBC News)

The Ginkgo tree has had its genetic code laid bare by researchers.

The tree is famed for being a “living fossil” - a term used to describe those organisms that have experienced very little change over millions of years.

In the case of the Ginkgo, there are specimens preserved in the rock record from 270 million years ago, in the Permian Period.

The Chinese-led research team says the new information should help to explain the tree’s evolutionary success.

Its resilience is legendary: it was one of the few living things to survive the atomic bomb blast in the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.

A Ginkgo is known to produce chemicals that are unpalatable to the insects that try to eat it, and will counter the fungi and bacteria that attempt to attack it.

Researchers can now more easily identify the mechanisms that drive these capabilities.

The specific species sequenced in the study was Ginkgo biloba. It reveals the tree’s genome to be huge, comprising some 10.6 billion DNA "letters".

By way of comparison, the human genome contains just three billion letters.

Written in the Ginkgo’s DNA code are roughly 41,840 predicted genes, the “templates” that the tree’s cells use to make the complex protein molecules that build and maintain the organism.

The initial analysis of the genome, published in the journal GigaScience, suggests there has been extensive expansion through time of gene families that provide for a variety of defensive mechanisms.

Its anti-insect arsenal is particularly smart. The Ginkgo will synthesise one set of chemicals to directly fight a pest, but also release another set of compounds that specifically attract the insect’s enemies.


Ginkgo Varieties

By Judy Kilpatrick

If you're looking for a tree with unusually shaped leaves, the taste of almond and the ability to live for a thousand years, you might be interested in the the prehistoric survivor known as a ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba). Commonly called maidenhair tree for its duck-foot or fan-shaped leaves, ginkgo is in a phylum -- plant category -- by itself. Once inhabiting the Earth with its many cousins, Ginkgo biloba is the only surviving species of the Ginkgoales -- a group of prehistoric gymnosperms, or seed-bearing plants. Before you rush out to purchase one of these novel plants, keep in mind that decaying ginkgo seeds smell like rancid butter. You can overcome this problem by purchasing a male ginkgo.

Characteristics

Growing in a wide variety of soils and troubled by few, if any, pests, all maidenhair trees need are sunshine and well-drained soil in Mediterranean or temperate climates. Ginkgos grow slowly at first but pick up the pace and grow more rapidly after established. Tolerant of salt, ginkgos grow well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, including coastal regions.

Columnar

"Princeton Sentry" grows in a tall, columnar form up to 65 feet with a relatively narrow spread of 15 to 20 feet. This fast-growing tree, resistant to storm damage, turns brilliant yellow in autumn. Other ginkgos with columnar form include "Fastigiata," which grows slowly to a height of 30 to 50 feet and holds onto its golden autumn leaves for a long while. "Fairmont" reaches 50 feet with a spread of 15 to 18 feet, while the pyramidal-shaped "Lakeview" grows to 50 to 60 feet with a spread of 20 to 30 feet.

Spreading

Ginkgos with a wide canopy include "Autumn Gold" " and "Santa Cruz." "Autumn Gold" assumes a rapid growth rate and reaches a height of 25 to 50 feet with a spread of 25 to 35 in a symmetrical shape. "Santa Cruz" has a low-growing form with an umbrella shape. Dwarf

Dwarf cultivars of ginkgo trees are not only very small but they grow slowly as well, making it possible to use a tree like a shrub. "Jade Butterflies" grows only 4 to 6 feet during its first 10 years. The mature height is yet unknown, but it does reach at least 12 feet tall with a vase shape. "Mariken" has low, spreading, somewhat pendulous branches, growing to 2 feet tall with a 2-foot spread in 10 years. "Spring Grove" has leaves the size of the larger growing ginkgos, but reaches a height of only 6 to 8 feet.

Specialty

"Variegata" is a female, shrub-like ginkgo with gold and green leaves in patterns such as stripes, half gold with half green, or half solid color with the other half striped. A partially shaded location is best for this tree that grows to a height of 10 feet. "Laciniata" has deeply divided leaves.


Why Do Ginkgo Tree Berries Stink?

By Molly Allman

Ginkgo biloba, known as maidenhair tree, is an interesting ornamental, deciduous tree for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The tree is most often included with conifers, but its botanical characteristics make it a tree that fits in with both conifers and ferns. The trees consist of both male and female trees, and it is the fruit of the female tree that produces an offensive odor.

Why Ginkgo Fruit Stinks

The female trees produce fruit in late autumn. These fruits stink only when left on the ground to rot. The rotting fruit emits an odor that smells similar to vomit. The odorous fruit releases butyric acid, which also gives rancid butter its horrible smell. The seeds contained inside the fruit are edible and do not emit the putrid odor, because the odor comes from the fleshy outer layer, known as the sarcotesta. Male trees produce their flowers before the trees lose their leaves. These catkins release their pollen and fall off. Gingko trees are wind-pollinated.

Fruit Identification

The ripe fruits of the female ginkgo trees resemble small yellow plums. The fruit is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter and more long than wide. Within the fruit is a large, edible seed that is harvested and used for food. These seeds are easy to germinate, in small pots or in a greenhouse. You can set out the small, young ginkgo trees before they become rootbound in the pots.

Ginkgo Trees

Ginkgo trees can grow 70 to 80 feet tall, but the majority of trees more often reach 35 to 50 feet. The tree width is generally one-half to two-thirds the tree's height, and the tree has an umbrella shape. The fan-shaped leaves resemble the foliage of maidenhair ferns, which is where the tree gets its name. The foliage turns a golden-yellow in autumn and generally remains on the tree for a little while before all dropping at once, creating a golden carpet on the ground. Why Grow Ginkgos

Most people grow ginkgo trees for their ornamental value. The trees are also easy to grow, needing only a sunny location with well-drained soil. The trees grow well in both the country and the city. Ginkgo tree are virtually pest- and disease-free. They tolerate heat, air pollution, acidic soils and alkaline soils as well as being resistant to oak root fungus. When growing female trees, you can help reduce the odor by cleaning up the fallen fruit before it begins to rot.


Ginkgo Tree Growth

By Tarah Damask

Gardeners appreciate ginkgo trees (Ginkgo biloba), also referred to as maidenhair trees, for their interesting visual appeal. Gingko has an irregular growth habit and green, fan-shaped leaves that display a vivid yellow hue during autumn. You should choose male plants for the home garden, because females produce foul-smelling fruit. These slow-growing deciduous plants may reach a height of up to 80 feet when provided appropriate care. Though they rarely suffer from health problems, they are not wholly immune. General Care

Consistent care makes for healthy trees that more easily ward off and recuperate from occasional health problems. Ginkgo trees thrive in areas of the home landscape in full sun to partial shade. With a preference for moist, well-drained, sandy soil, ginkgo trees tolerate a wide array of soil conditions. This tree will continue to function in pollution, drought, salt spray, most pH levels and compacted soil, making it a resilient tree for urban areas. Ginkgos grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3a to 8a. Growth Considerations

Ginkgo trees "may grow extremely slow for several years after planting, but will then pick up and grow at a moderate rate," according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. For faster growth rates, home gardeners may consider planting cultivars known for their speedy growth, such as "Autumn Gold." In addition, maintaining steady growth is heavily dependent on sufficient irrigation and fertilization. However, home gardeners must avoid creating waterlogged conditions, which may diminish tree vigor. Maintain moist soil by irrigating when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch. If drainage is poor, incorporating organic material, such as compost, into the top few inches of soil improves the problem. Bring a soil sample to a county extension for testing to determine the correct balance of nutrients for proper tree growth. Soil is likely not naturally balanced, so blindly applying a fertilizer may result in the deficiencies and excesses to which ginkgos are prone, and that may result in poor growth.

Pests

Ginkgos are generally considered pest-free, but the trees may suffer from occasional bouts with foliage-feeding caterpillars, such as omnivorous loopers (Sabulodes aegrotata), leading to branch growth problems or death. Omnivorous loopers have green bodies about 2 1/2 inches long. As these pests crawl, their pink-, yellow- and green-striped backs raise up into a half-loop shape. Like most caterpillars loopers chew on plant foliage. However, they avoid veins, a feeding habit known as leaf skeletonization. When left untreated, foliage-feeders may cause defoliation, die-back and plant death. To control these pests, remove and destroy affected plant parts, and pluck remaining caterpillars from the tree by hand. The release of natural enemies, such as lacewings and assassin bugs, helps to naturally manage pest populations. In addition, applications of the low-toxicity microbial pesticide Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) provides effective control.

Disease

While they usually ward off most harmful diseases, ginkgos may become victims of oleander leaf scorch disease, which can ultimately hinder growth. This bacterial infection, caused by the pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, is transferred to plants from bugs that feed on plant tissue fluid. The pests, glassy-winged sharpshooters (Homalodisca vitripennis), are 1/2-inch-long leafhoppers with clear wings and deep brown bodies. Developing with more prevalence during warm weather, oleander leaf scorch results in sporadic yellowing of foliage on entire branches. Leaves die, branches droop and severe disease often results in plant death, according to the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program. There are no cures for this disease. Gardeners should remove and destroy the ginkgo tree.

Disease Prevention

To prevent oleander leaf scorch, prevention of glassy-wing sharpshooters is essential. Gonatocerus genus egg parasite wasps will destroy the pests' eggs. For hatched sharpshooters, natural enemies, such as assassin bugs, provide management. Applications of low-toxicity insecticides, such as insecticidal soap, control sharpshooters in their immature stage of development. For more comprehensive, aggressive treatment, soil applications of a pesticide containing the active ingredient imidacloprid provides control regardless of the pests' life stage. Insecticidal soap and imidacloprid cause little disturbance to natural enemy populations.


Natural remedies to treat hearing loss

By Mita Majumdar

Finding it hard to hear

The first reaction to hearing loss is panic. Terri still remembers the day six years ago when she woke up suddenly in the night with a loud ringing in her ears. She was sleeping with her ear plugs. Upon hearing the loud ringing she quickly removed her ear plug as she realized that her right ear felt full and plugged up. Sound was muffled. She couldn’t make out words, just noise. The doctor told her that she had sudden deafness but she had full chances of recovery if the damage was caught early. Unfortunately, even after many tests followed by doses of steroids, Terri couldn’t get her hearing back in her right ear.

Age related hearing loss, diabetes, kidney diseases, tumor in the ear, otosclerosis (hardening of tissues in the inner ear), rheumatoid arthritis, ear injury, Meniere’s disease – all of these could cause result in permanent hearing loss. Natural remedies don’t help in such cases. Treatment is based on using assisted devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language, etc.

Natural remedies, however, can resolve temporary hearing loss caused by ear wax, ear infection, pressure changes in the airline passengers or altitude changes, blows and trauma to the ear. These remedies work to –

• Improve the circulatory diseases that produce hearing loss
• Treat ear infections
• Remove ear wax that prevents the passage of sound waves

1. Ginkgo biloba extract

Poor circulation in the brain can cause dizziness, memory problems, poor concentration, hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo and a host of other conditions. Studies have shown that Ginkgo extract can improve circulation in the brain and help prevent blood vessel breakage.

A recent study published in the journal Neural Plasticity indicated the ginkgo biloba extract could be helpful in controlling noise-induced hearing loss and associated tinnitus.

Cisplatin is an anti-cancer drug that causes hearing loss by destroying hair cells in the ear that help with transmission of sound waves. A Korean study found that Ginkgo extract significantly prevented hair cell damage induced by the drug.

Dosage: 60 to 240 mg daily.

2. Marjoram

Not to be confused with oregano, the herb marjoram has sweet pine and citrus flavors. Marjoram is used as culinary flavors but it is also known for its blood pressure lowering and anti-arteriosclerotic properties. So, if your hearing loss is due to poor circulation in the ear, marjoram might be helpful. It helps with earaches as well.

Dosage:

• Pour a cup of boiling water over 1 tsp of dry marjoram, let it stand for 5 minutes. Strain and drink it. Take 2 cups a day. Do not use it for more than 10 days. Skip for a week and then you can resume taking it.
• Squeeze the juice of tender plant. Carefully put a few drops into the ear you have a problem.

3. Apple cider

Apple cider vinegar is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese. Deficiency in any one of these minerals can cause problems with hearing.

Researchers at Rabin Medical Centre, Israel, found that magnesium treatment reduces the incidence of both temporary and permanent noise-induced hearing loss. They suggested that ‘Magnesium is a relatively safe and convenient adjunct to steroid treatment for enhancing the improvement in hearing, especially in the low-tone range, in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss’.

Further, cider has great antioxidant effects that prevents the action of sclerosis-causing free radicals.

Dosage: 1 tsp cider vinegar + 1 tsp honey in a cup of water. Take 3 cups a day during 3 main meals. Use less if you notice heartburn.

4. Onion

Hough Ear Institute researchers found that antioxidant treatment could reduce cochlear damage and hearing loss adminstered shortly after blast exposure. ‘Administration of a combination of antioxidants 2,4-disulfonyl α-phenyl tertiary butyl nitrone (HPN-07) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) beginning 1 hour after blast exposure could reduce both temporary and permanent hearing loss,’ they said. The antioxidants worked by significantly reducing hair cell loss in the ear because of the blast.

Incidentally, these antioxidants can be derived from onions. This means, onion can be used as natural remedy for ear problems due to trauma and blasts, and air pressure changes.

Onion pack can also be a home remedy for middle ear infections in children. Scientists, however, feel that there is not sufficient evidence to prove this, but some parents feel this treatment helps.

Dosage:

• Macerate 300g of onion in one litre of water for 12 hours. Take 3 glasses per day.
• Place onion packs in the affected ear for treating middle ear infection (otitis) in children.

5. Table salt

Another home remedy for earache and ear infection is using salt poultice.

• Heat a cup of salt (microwave or heat in a pan for 3-4 minutes).
• Spread the hot salt on to a cloth; tie up the edges of the cloth to make a round leak proof poultice.
• Place it on the affected ear for 5 to 10 minutes. The heat from the poultice will help draw out the fluid from the ear and relieve the pain.
• Repeat the process as many times as needed during the day.

6. Hearing loss can also be caused by excess earwax blocking your ear canal.

This is what you do to remove the excess earwax –

• With the help of an eye-dropper, apply a few drops of baby oil or glycerine in your ear canal twice a day for 4 to 5 days.
• Gently squirt lukewarm water into the ear. Tilt your head and pull your outer ear up and then back to straighten your ear canal.
• Tip your head to the side and let the water drain out.
• Repeat a few more times.
• Gently dry your ear with a towel.
• Don’t be tempted to scrap off earwax with hairpin, match sticks, and similar things. They might harm your inner ear. Do not get ears cleaned by roadside quacks.

If your ear problem doesn’t go away with these remedies in a few days, consult your doctor. In the steadily increasing level of noise exposure of modern day living.


Mentally stimulating - ginkgo biloba and ginseng

(Daily Mail)

As we age, it isn't only our physical body that begins to slow down.

Studies have shown that mental agility becomes slower as reserves of certain vital nutrients gradually become depleted. Our concentration and short term memory become weaker and it gets harder to take in new information and learn new skills.

Two supplements - ginkgo biloba and ginseng - have been proved to slow down

the process.

Gingko biloba

With more than 40 pieces of research to support it, gingko biloba is

the most commonly prescribed prescription herb in Europe. It appears to

work by increasing blood flow to the brain and is widely used to treat

blockages in the small arteries of the brain.

A recent trial involving a group of elderly patients with memory loss showed that by taking a daily dose of ginkgo for just six weeks, they increased their memory capacity by around 25 per cent. Concentration and alertness were the first symptoms to be relieved followed by an improvement in tinnitus (hissing noises in the ear) and dizziness. The standard dose is

40-80mg three times a day.

Ginseng

Ginseng has also been used for centuries for its rejuvenating qualities. The Asiatic form is the most potent and can be taken as powdered dry root, tincture or pills. Results are cumulative and you will need to take it for between six to eight weeks before you feel the benefits.


More on How Ginkgo Biloba may Help our Health: From Tinnitus to Headaches to Impotence

By Alison Stanton

The herbal remedy ginkgo biloba has gotten a lot of attention as a natural way of treating memory-related health issues like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In the first part of this article we looked at a study that backed up this contention. But ginkgo biloba may be useful for treating other health issues too, including headaches and tinnitus.

Basically, health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to a lower amount of blood flow to the brain, and not-so-coincidentally, they have also been shown to benefit from supplementing with ginkgo biloba. For example, anxiety, headaches, dizziness, and depression may be improved by taking ginkgo biloba, as in at least some cases, each of these health conditions has been found to be caused by less blood circulation and/or cholesterol buildup in the arteries.

Ginkgo biloba might also be a natural answer to impotence. Again, impotence shares an issue with blood flow with the other health conditions that ginkgo appears to be very good at helping. If impotence is due to lowered blood flow due to atherosclerosis of the penis, ginkgo might be helpful to you. There is no guarantee, but ultrasound exams of 60 men with impotence found that taking ginkgo biloba for six weeks led to improved and increased penile blood flow. After six months, half of the subjects had returned to their usual potent selves.

Some other studies of ginkgo suggest that it might be useful in treating tinnitus, or ringing of the ears. When the tiny microscopic nerve endings in the inner ear become damaged, tinnitus may result. Some people have had luck taking ginkgo biloba to treat ringing in the ears, but some others have not. If you are living with on-going ringing in the ears, if you have your doctor’s blessing it’s possible that ginkgo biloba will give you some relief.

If you decide to give ginkgo biloba a try to see if it helps you with a memory concern or another health problem, please know that it can typically take between four and 12 weeks to notice a difference.

Like all herbal remedies, ginkgo biloba can take awhile to build up in the system so although it might be hard to be patient it’s definitely worth the wait if ginkgo biloba ends up working well for you. Because it lowers that rate at which blood will clot, if you are on anticoagulants or if you have a clotting disorder you should ask your physician for sure before starting to take ginkgo biloba.


Ginkgo biloba is a beautiful, iconic tree

By Erle Nickel

Although adding a tree to one's garden is a major decision, trees serve so many valuable purposes that I like to include them in this column from time to time. One of my favorites is the instantly recognizable and iconic Ginkgo biloba. This stately, deciduous tree, hailing from China, is a slow-growing, graceful tree that can easily reach 50 feet over time.

Ginkgos feature distinctive, deeply lobed light green leaves to 4 inches. These fan-shaped leaves have a poetic element to them, invoking scenes of ancient Chinese landscapes. Indeed, ginkgo trees are often pictured in Chinese paintings, not surprising since specimens planted at temples are believed to be more than 1,500 years old. While Ginkgo biloba is the national tree of China, it isn't only China that is enamored of its beauty. Tokyo claims it as its official tree, using a ginkgo leaf as the city symbol.

With ginkgos it really is all about the foliage. The leaves are unique among seed plants, being fan-shaped with veins radiating into the leaf blade, sometimes bifurcating or splitting. Two veins enter the leaf blade at the base and fork repeatedly in two (dichotomous venation). The traditional name, maidenhair tree, is due to the resemblance of the leaves to the pinnae of the maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris.

Three-inch catkins of yellow male flowers appear in summer, complementing the hint of yellow in the leaves. The flowers are just a preview of the show to come, however. In late fall, the leaves turn a bright golden yellow, making for one of the most spectacular shows in nature. As more leaves drop, the ground under the tree's canopy is covered in what some have dubbed a "golden snow."

In rural China, people still appear in the late fall to gather the fallen leaves. They are used medicinally and, along with the seeds, in ceremonial meals. In the West, ginkgo is believed to have nootropic (memory-enhancing) properties, and is mainly used as a memory and concentration enhancer. Some also claim it to be an anti-vertigo agent.

Ginkgo sex

Ginkgos are dioecious, with separate sexes, some trees being female and others being male. Male plants produce small pollen cones with sporophylls, each bearing two microsporangia spirally arranged around a central axis. Female plants do not produce cones. Two ovules are formed at the end of a stalk, and after pollination one or both develop into seeds. Its fleshy outer layer (sarcotesta) is light yellow-brown, soft and fruitlike. It is attractive in appearance, but after it has fallen, it smells like rancid butter. This explains why nurseries only stock male plants.

Did you know?

Fossils attributable to the genus ginkgo first appeared in the Early Jurassic Period. The genus diversified and spread throughout Laurasia during the Middle Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. The most plausible ancestral group for the order Ginkgoales is the Pteridospermatophyta, also known as the "seed ferns." The closest living relatives of this clade are the cycads. Ginkgos are now extinct in the wild. Cultivation

Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. Pruning group one, pruning wayward or crossing shoots as needed when tree is dormant. USDA zones 5-9. Pests & diseases

Fungal leaf spots, lesion nematode and root rot sometimes occur.

Availability

The most popular and vigorous variety is 'Autumn Gold.' For those who only have room for a smaller tree, there is the 10-foot-tall 'Jade Butterfly.' The jade green leaves are more prominently split than most, prompting the name 'Butterfly.' G. biloba 'Chi-Chi' is a multi-stem, densely branched male cultivar that features dusky green leaves. It too reaches about 10 feet. Specimens can be found at Sloat Garden Center locations, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery and East Bay Nursery in Berkeley and Orchard Nursery in Lafayette.


Natural health: Memory loss and autoimmune disorders

By Megan Sheppard

Megan Sheppard answers your questions on Memory loss and autoimmune disorders and gives suggestions for dealing with them naturally.

Q. I have a serious case of brain fog, although I can recall events clearly from decades ago, I walk into a room and can’t for the life of me remember what I came in to do.

I’m always losing my keys, glasses, phone, and such things.

I admit to never having the greatest of memories, but it really does seem as if I am suffering more memory loss than I used to.

Is there anything that can help to sharpen or restore my memory, or is this simply a natural case of ageing?

A. While most of the situations you describe are all events that we accept as a normal part of the ageing process, it really doesn’t have to be this way.

There are indeed steps you can take to minimise brain fog and improve your ability to recall information, along with having a healthy balanced diet and exercising regularly.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are crucial to brain function. DHA (Docosahexanoic Acid) is an omega-3 EFA that is crucial to the structure of cell membranes in the brain, and as an added bonus is also important to protect against macular degeneration.

You can get DHA by eating oily fish, or you can choose to supplement with specific DHA formulations.

GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) is another game changer when it comes to memory and brain function. It is found naturally in our brains, a neurotransmitter that is key to neuron activity — basically helping your brain cells relay and communicate effectively. GABA is thought to help with stress and anxiety disorders, sleep issues, and depression.

There are certain types of tea, in particular oolong tea, that have been shown to contain significant levels of GABA. This tea is purported to keep your brain sharp and energy levels high, while relaxing your nervous system and balancing your endocrine system.

The South American Yerba Mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) is worth a mention when it comes to memory and brain function.

Yerba mate is reputed to stimulate the mind, increase concentration and ease depressive moods without interfering with sleep.

It is widely used by students preparing for exams as it appears to stimulate the brain by aiding understanding, recall, and clear thinking — all the while soothing nerves and balancing the immune system.

There are a couple of herbal remedies that I highly rate when it comes to brain health — Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), and Ginkgo biloba.

Brahmi is reputed to help with concentration, attention span, memory, and cognition; Ginkgo works by improving blood flow to the brain, increasing the nutrients and oxygen available to the brain cells.

Unfortunately, these herbs are now only available by prescription, but I can confirm that they are worth the effort.

Q. Why are there so many people — across all ages — with autoimmune disorders?

Is it something we are doing differently, or is it just a case of over-diagnosis?

A. There are a great number of theories and hypotheses around the ever increasing numbers of autoimmune sufferers, and we are yet to be presented with an answer that is definitive (or that everybody agrees on).

What basically happens with autoimmune disorders is that the body can no longer differentiate between healthy and unhealthy cells. The immune system effectively attacks your own body.

Currently, there are around 80 autoimmune disorders that are officially acknowledged, and this has led to a significant and ongoing body of research as to potential causes and treatments.

Commonly diagnosed autoimmune disorders include (but are by no means limited to) Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vitiligo, diabetes mellitus (Type 1), Crohn’s disease, Coeliac disease, and pernicious anaemia.

Many of these conditions seem to appear more often in females than males, and, as you mentioned, they don’t tend to discriminate based on age.


Ginkgo Biloba Health Benefits

By Mark Stibich (PhD)

Can the Supplement Ginkgo Biloba Improve Your Health?

Ginkgo biloba is one of the most popular herbs in the U.S. For thousands of years, it has been used for a wide variety of things, such as memory enhancement, altitude sickness, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) management and many other things.

But is there any medical evidence showing ginkgo biloba provides health benefits in these conditions, and others? As it turns out, there's stronger health evidence for some of the claims, and weak evidence for some.

I provide a rundown below, but first, an important word of caution: Most people can use Ginkgo biloba without problems, but there are some reports of increased bleeding. Anyone using blood thinning medication such as Coumadin or Heparin should definitely avoid taking Ginkgo biloba. You also should talk with your doctor before using ginkgo biloba with aspirin.

Proven Uses of Ginkgo Biloba

The following list is some of the uses of Ginkgo biloba that have proven, scientific backing:

• Claudication (pain in the legs from clogged arteries): Some people with a condition known as claudication have pain in their legs while resting or after exercise. Ginkgo biloba has been shown to help this type of pain. Ginkgo biloba, however, is not as effective as physical therapy for this condition.
• Dementia: People with early stage Alzheimer's disease and multi-infarct dementia may benefit from taking Ginkgo biloba. The scientific research shows that Ginkgo biloba may be as effective as some of the prescription medications for these conditions, especially in people with symptoms such as depression, wandering and sleep disturbances.
Ginkgo Biloba for Cerebral Insufficiency

While the research isn't as solid as for the conditions above, using Ginkgo biloba for a condition called cerebral insufficiency holds promise.

Cerebral insufficiency involves poor concentration, confusion, forgetfulness, headaches, fatigue, depression and anxiety.

It's diagnosed more often in Europe than in the United States.

Some researchers believe that this condition is caused by a decrease in the amount of blood available to the brain because of clogged blood vessels. Medical studies have shown Ginkgo biloba can reduce symptoms in some people with symptoms of cerebral insufficiency, but more studies are needed.

Unclear Uses of Ginkgo Biloba

The following conditions may or may not be helped by Ginkgo biloba. Research is contradictory or uncertain for each of these uses:

• Hemorrhoids: One study showed that Ginkgo biloba helped people who suffered from acute hemorrhoid attacks. No further research has been done.
• Age-related Memory Loss: Protecting memory from aging is the most popular use of Ginkgo biloba. The research is not clear on the benefits for this use. As we saw above, Ginkgo biloba can be useful in reducing the impact of early stage Alzheimer's and some forms of dementia. When age-related memory loss is caused by these conditions, Ginkgo biloba may help. There is no evidence that it helps in the general population for preserving memory and mental fitness.
• Altitude Sickness: Most of the research that shows Ginkgo biloba helps prevent or reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness has been in studies that were poorly conducted.
• Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder: Again, the research is unclear about whether Ginkgo biloba can help these conditions. Some of the most promising research in this area involves older adults with depression, but nothing conclusive has been found.
• Macular Degeneration: Ginkgo biloba may improve blood flow to the eye, which could help lessen the effects of macular degeneration. Two small medical studies have shown some benefit – but (again) nothing conclusive is known.
• Multiple Sclerosis: Some evidence exists that Ginkgo biloba can improve the course of multiple sclerosis. Very little research has been done in this area and the results are inconsistent.
• Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Some preliminary research shows that Ginkgo biloba might ease PMS symptoms such as breast discomfort and emotional shifts.



People's Pharmacy: Can ginkgo biloba keep the mind sharp?

BY JOE GRAEDON, M.S., AND TERESA GRAEDON, Ph.D.

Q: I am almost 93 years of age and have no memory problems whatsoever. I have been taking ginkgo biloba daily for 60 years. I have no idea whether it has helped me or not, but I am not giving it up at this stage.

A: Chinese healers have used ginkgo for thousands of years to ease asthma symptoms, improve circulation to fingers and toes and aid memory. In Europe, ginkgo is used to prevent cognitive decline.

Research on ginkgo has produced contradictory results. A study in JAMA (Oct. 22/29, 1997) suggested that this herb might slow the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. But a six-week study (JAMA, Aug. 21, 2002) demonstrated no benefits for cognitive functioning.

A German study found "improved cognitive flexibility" in a study of older people with memory problems (Human Psychopharmacology, May 2016). The investigators used a special ginkgo extract (EGb761) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Although no one can say whether your use of ginkgo has kept your mind sharp, we cannot say it didn't.

Q: I just read your article about delivery of mail-order medications. I get cod-liver oil and some other supplements by mail.

I know that delivery trucks can get very hot for long periods of time. I suspect that fish oil and vitamins could be destroyed in that kind of heat.

When I asked the company how it protects the supplements during transport, the company said that the bottle is amber glass, shipped inside a carton. I don't see how that would protect them from heat.

A: You are right that such packaging would not protect medications or supplements from high heat. The prescription fish-oil product Lovaza states that it should be stored at room temperature (77 degrees F) with "excursions permitted to 59 degrees to 86 degrees F." As you point out, delivery vehicles may exceed that temperature.

One reader ordered probiotics that cost $100. They are delivered in a Styrofoam box with two ice packs. He said: "I live in Florida. When I got home the box that says 'Refrigerate immediately upon arrival' was sitting in the sun. Both ice packs had melted, and the probiotics were hot. I emailed the company, which did not even respond."


Can Ginkgo Prevent Alzheimer’s?

By Joe Bowman
Can Gingko Prevent Alzheimer's?

As we and our loved ones get older, a lot of new health considerations arrive. One of the major issues concerning senior citizens’ health today is dementia. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, for which there is no known cure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s affects five million Americans today and is projected to affect 14 million by 2050.

Faced with these startling figures, many are looking to herbal remedies to prevent and treat symptoms, such as ginkgo. In North America and Europe, ginkgo is the most widely used herbal remedy for cognitive disorders and Alzheimer's disease, despite inconsistent findings from studies.

What Is Ginkgo?

Derived from Ginkgo biloba trees, ginkgo extract has a long history in medicine. In China, ginkgo seeds have been used to treat many different ailments for thousands of years, including blood disorders as well as memory issues. These two traditional uses are the basis for the belief that ginkgo can help with Alzheimer's by improving blood circulation to the brain. This has led to a heated debate in the medical community.

Some of ginkgo’s purported benefits for Alzheimer's patients include helping cognitive function, improving memory, making daily tasks more manageable, and decreasing the occurrence of depression. A 2003 study found that ginkgo extract might reduce the risk of Alzheimer's in elderly women. Another study found it to be as effective as donepezil, a prescription medication.

However, a later study, which sampled considerably more patients for a longer period of time, found there was no difference between ginkgo and a placebo in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Other more recent studies have had similar findings, but even some recent research supports the claim that ginkgo can stabilize or slow the decline in cognitive functions in patients with dementia. This medical debate will likely continue for some time.

What Else Can Ginkgo Do?

Other possible benefits of ginkgo have been studied. It’s shown a positive effect on people with symptoms of intermittent claudication, which is leg pain that results from poor or inadequate blood flow. However, more research is needed.

When compared with betahistine, an anti-vertigo drug, researchers found that ginkgo was similarly effective and better tolerated in people suffering from vertigo. There are additional claims that ginkgo can help treat and alleviate symptoms of glaucoma, premenstrual syndrome, Raynaud's Phenomenon, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, and tinnitus. Additional study is needed to prove ginkgo’s effectiveness.

What Else Should I Be Aware Of?

As with any other supplement, you should consult with your doctor before you start taking ginkgo. Side effects might include headache, nausea, diarrhea, allergic reactions in the skin, upset stomach, and dizziness. Ginkgo can also interfere with other supplements and medications — particularly antidepressants and blood-related medications.

Ginkgo has also been linked with increased bleeding and possible internal bleeding. As a result, you should stop taking ginkgo supplements at least 36 hours before a surgery or dental procedure. Ginkgo may cause seizures in patients with epilepsy, and patients with diabetes should consult with their doctor before taking the supplement. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take ginkgo.

Ginkgo fruits and seeds contain ginkgolic acids, which are known to be toxic. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements.


Natural Supplements and Vitamins for Treatment and Prevention of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

By Taya Varteresian DO, MS and Helen Lavretsky, MD, MS

Dementia, also referred to as major neurocognitive disorder (including Alzheimer disease [AD]), is a growing problem because of increased lifespan. There is no known cure. Several drugs are FDA-approved for the treatment of dementia, including acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (eg, donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine) and an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, but these have limited efficacy, adverse effects, and significant cost—all of which contribute to the search for alternative therapies to improve cognition.

In this article, we look at several natural products used to improve cognitive impairment or cognitive symptoms of dementia (Table).

Ginkgo biloba

A popular supplement for cognition is ginkgo biloba, which is extracted from the leaf of the Maidenhair tree. Although it has been used as a supplement in the US, in many European countries it is part of mainstream medical care and requires a prescription. A standardized extract called EGb 761 is prescribed in many countries outside of the US.

Nash and Shah1 examined the mechanisms of ginkgo biloba that provide neurocognitive benefits and defined its 3 main active agents: ginkgolides, bilobalide, and flavonoids. The ginkgolides are thought to inhibit platelet-activating factor, thereby preventing clotting, promoting blood flow, and inhibiting inflammatory mediators such as cyclooxygenase-2, nitric oxide synthase, and tumor necrosis factor. Bilobalide is thought to inhibit platelet-activating factor receptors and reduce the excitotoxic effects of glutamate. Finally, the flavonoids serve as antioxidants that reduce the damage caused by free radicals.

The majority of trials that show the benefits of ginkgo biloba pertain to improved cognition in persons who already have a major neurocognitive disorder or dementia. However, the data regarding a benefit in cognitively intact individuals are mixed. The most rigorous study by Mix and Crews2 examined the effect of a 180-mg dose of ginkgo biloba on community-dwelling individuals without neurocognitive disorders. Full neuropsychological testing showed some small improvements in memory, but intergroup differences limited the results. The dosage was lower than typically recommended, which is generally about 120 mg to 240 mg, 2 or 3 times daily. Another randomized clinical trial (RCT), which used a 240-mg dose of ginkgo biloba, demonstrated some small effects in immediate and delayed recall.3 In summary, there is no compelling evidence to support the use of ginkgo biloba to improve memory functioning in individuals who are cognitively intact.

Can ginkgo biloba prevent major neurocognitive impairment? Four well-designed studies show differing results. The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study examined more than 3000 individuals aged over 75 years with either normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. The study failed to show any protective effect of ginkgo biloba in preventing dementia.

Another study looked at the prevention of AD in adults aged 72 to 96 years with either normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. The study used EGb 761 (a ginkgo biloba extract) at a dosage of 120 mg twice daily over the course of 6 years. No risk reduction was found.

The GuidAge study looked at the prevention of dementia with ginkgo biloba in more than 2000 community-dwelling older adults over a 5-year period. Like the GEM study, the GuidAge study did not show a benefit of ginkgo biloba in preventing dementia over 4 years; however, after 5 years, it started to show an improvement. A limitation of the GuidAge study is the especially low incidence of dementia in the participant population (1.2/100 to 1.4/100), which makes it more difficult to show statistical significance. The large, 20-year PAQUID study showed that ginkgo biloba prevented dementia. However, important characteristics such as dosage and duration of ginkgo treatment were not documented.


Ginkgo Biloba Benefits

By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa

Improve your memory, circulation and other health factors with ginkgo biloba.

• Ginkgo biloba
• Standardized leaf extracts of ginkgo are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and improve circulation in the brain.
• The extracts also protect brain cells from beta-amyloid, a misfolded protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
• Hardy through Zone 4

It seems fitting that ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), a species of tree that thrived 65 million years ago and continues to thrive today, is used worldwide to treat conditions associated with aging.

Ginkgo as Medicine

The Chinese treasured the ginkgo tree first for its food, considering the nuts (seed kernels) a delicacy. The first known use of ginkgo as a medicinal plant dates to 2800 b.c. Early on, ginkgo was thought to increase longevity and stamina largely because the tree itself was so hardy. (As a 20th-century testament to its hardiness, the only tree to survive the atomic blast in Hiroshima was a ginkgo that sprouted from its base after its trunk was completely destroyed.) The Chinese also used the seeds to treat venereal disease, asthma, lung congestion, diarrhea and impaired hearing.

In the past half century, ginkgo has been extensively researched in Europe as a treatment for memory loss, dementia, stroke, asthma and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Today, European physicians prescribe ginkgo more often than any other herb or drug. Ginkgo appears to enhance health in three general ways. It improves circulation and oxygen metabolism. Ginkgo also prevents cell damage by free radicals and reduces blood clotting.

Ginkgo leaves and roots contain flavone glycosides, which consist of a mix of bioflavonoids that are known antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol. Ginkgo also contains terpene lactones such as bilobalide and ginkgolides, which have been shown to protect nerve cells, keep blood from clotting and improve blood circulation. Virtually all of the more than 2,600 studies of ginkgo have used an extract of the leaf (EGb) standardized to 24 percent flavone glycosides and 6 percent terpene lactones.

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: Improving Brain Function

Ginkgo extract is the best treatment known for inadequate blood flow to the brain caused by weakened blood vessels or impaired circulation due to an overproduction of platelet-activating factor (PAF), which activates immune cells responsible for inflammation and blood clotting. Restricted blood flow to the brain is extremely common among the elderly and is characterized by memory loss, decreased alertness, headaches and depression.

Ginkgo improves circulation throughout the body, including the brain, by increasing the tone and elasticity of the blood vessels, and that increased cerebral blood flow apparently improves cognition.

Numerous studies over the last two decades have shown improvements in cognitive functioning. In one study, elderly patients experiencing memory loss, decreased alertness and mood swings were given 160 mg of ginkgo extract daily for a year. In 58 percent of the patients who received the extract, these conditions improved, compared to 43 percent of the placebo group.

A review study, published in Pharmacopsychiatry in 2010, found that EGb is effective in dementia when given for six months. A recent experiment compared EGb to donepezil (Aricept), a leading Alzheimer’s drug, and found that the herb extract was comparable to the drug for symptoms of dementia. Studies also have shown that ginkgo extracts improve brain cell function and message transmission speed.

Not all of the ginkgo science is quite so positive, however. In the area of dementia, results have been inconsistent. A study done at Oregon State University tested EGb for preventing progression to cognitive decline in normal elderly people aged 85 and older. According to the raw data, EGb showed no benefit. However, when the results were assessed based on who actually took their EGb, the supplement did show a protective effect. Maybe those who needed it the most were the most likely to forget to take it! Another paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association similarly reported that 240 mg daily of EGb did not lessen cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition.

In most cases, ginkgo does not produce immediate results. Most studies note improvement after one month of taking 120 to 160 mg of ginkgo extract daily with benefits increasing further at three and six months.

Addressing Asthma and Allergies

When a person with asthma is exposed to an allergen such as pollen, house dust or animal dander, the immune system responds by releasing histamine, PAF, and other substances; these in turn stimulate a copious secretion of mucus and inflammation that narrows the bronchial passages. Ginkgolides may relieve these conditions by inhibiting inflammation and improving lung function, although more research is needed to fully determine ginkgo’s role in the treatment of inflammatory responses with respiratory allergies.

A double-blind trial involving eight asthmatic patients who were given either a standardized mixture of ginkgolides or a placebo and then asked to inhale allergens, researchers reported that patients who took the ginkgo had a “significantly inhibited response to allergens” compared to those who received the placebo.

Recent research from Turkey shows that ginkgo alleviates virtually all established chronic negative changes of the lung in mouse asthma. In 2011, researchers tested, in animals, a mixture of EGb, the carotenoid antioxidant astaxanthin and vitamin C in respiratory inflammation (the underlying cause of most asthma), and the supplement combination performed better than ibuprofen.

British scientists looked at a multiherb mixture containing EGb for treating asthma. They found no improvement in people’s lung function from the formula, but important measures of patient-centered outcomes, such as asthma health status, asthma control and coughing improved. Overall, ginkgo for asthma looks promising, but the jury is still out with its final ruling.

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: Improving Circulation

When blood platelets encounter PAF, they change shape and begin sticking together. Clotting under normal circumstances, such as when one cuts a finger, is a welcome and expected response, but when platelets are chronically sticky, they slow blood flow, which can lead to increased deposits of plaque on the walls of blood vessels. The resulting decrease in circulation can lead to heart disease, stroke or painful cramping of the legs during exercise. Ginkgolides, which keep PAF from binding to platelets, can offer some relief. Many clinical studies have demonstrated that taking up to 160 mg of ginkgo extract daily for three to six months is effective, with noticeable improvement after four to six weeks. In one study, 79 patients with restricted blood flow to their legs received either 40 mg of ginkgo extract four times daily or a placebo for 65 weeks. The 39 patients receiving the ginkgo saw a “highly significant” increase in their ability to walk without pain. The same improvement was not experienced by the placebo group.

Chinese researchers performing a controlled study found the EGb improved several measures in coronary artery disease, particularly coronary artery blood flow.

These conclusions do not match all studies, though. A major scientific review from 2009 looked at the collected data from 14 trials with a total of 739 participants and concluded that there is no evidence that ginkgo has a clinically significant benefit for patients with peripheral arterial disease.

Hearing and Ear Disorders

Decreased blood circulation or damage to the inner ear can lead to hearing loss, dizziness and loss of balance, which are also closely associated with tinnitus. Some adherents use EGb for these symptoms, and there is mixed evidence that EGb might be effective. One study found EGb to significantly improve dizziness in animals. Adding to the evidence, a 2011 report lays out the case that EGb reduces dizziness-causing damage from ear infections.

In a random, double-blind study of 103 people with chronic tinnitus, participants receiving 2 ml of a ginkgo extract twice a day for 13 months experienced a significant reduction in the severity of ringing.

Ginkgo has received a lot of attention for tinnitus, but studies evaluating ginkgo as a treatment for it have given mixed results. The scientific consensus is that oral ginkgo doesn’t seem to help much. A German study reported, though, that 10 days of EGb infusion, followed by one or more months of oral EGb, appears to be effective and safe in alleviating tinnitus symptoms. In 2011, a German review pointed out that at least eight studies have shown positive effects from EGb in tinnitus, but that efficacy has not been conclusively proven, which may be due to flawed clinical trials. The scientists conclude that EGb is an evidence-based treatment option in tinnitus. Nevertheless, ginkgo is widely used by health-care practitioners, who claim good results.

Whether any treatment is likely to be helpful depends on whether the ringing is constant or intermittent, whether it is in one or both ears, whether the ringing has been present for more than a year and the cause of the ringing. If the ringing has been constant and in both ears for more than a year, the chances for successful treatment are greatly reduced.

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: No End in Sight

Ginkgo has the potential to treat conditions ranging from diabetes to inflammatory skin disease, and research into the extent of its usefulness is continuing. A peek at the scientific literature finds preliminary positive research for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and PMS.

Taking Ginkgo

Although the raw nuts are toxic in large amounts, ginkgo leaf extracts have produced only minor side effects such as temporary gastrointestinal upset and, rarely, headache and dizziness.

Most of the studies on ginkgo leaf extract used the standardized extract at a therapeutic dosage of 40 mg three times a day, although the rare study has bumped the dose to as high as 960 mg per day, with little in the way of side effects.


How to Prune & Care for a Maidenhair Tree

By Amelia Allonsy (Demand Media)

The last surviving species of its genus, maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) is often considered a living fossil because its present form is exactly the same as specimens that grew 230 million years ago. Now only naturalized in China, these trees are cultivated throughout the world and in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Maidenhair trees grow between 50 and 80 feet with butter-yellow fall foliage and are named for their fan-shaped leaves with hairlike veins. The trees adapt well to a variety of growing conditions and pruning requirements are light especially in young trees.

Planting and Care

1 Amend soil with organic matter incorporated into the native soil with a tiller, if desired. Maidenhair trees adapt well to most soil types, but they prefer sandy loam or loam soil. If you have clay soil, you can work compost, manure, leaf mold, sand or other organic materials into the soil to improve the soil structure and increase porosity for better drainage.

2 Select a male maidentree to avoid the offensive odor of dropped fruit that is characteristic of female trees. Cultivars including "Autumn Gold," "Fastigiata," "Princeton Sentry" and "Lakeview," available through nursery retailers, are grown as cuttings from male trees to ensure the gender. Ginkgo can take up to 20 years to fruit and indicate the female gender when grown from seed.

3 Plant maidenhair trees in spring in a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball in a site in full sun that receives at least six hours of daily sunlight. Loosen the roots gently on the outside of the root ball and spread them evenly in the hole. Fill in the hole around the tree so the top of the root ball is flush with the surrounding soil.

4 Water the tree regularly in the first year after planting until the tree becomes well established. Once or twice weekly watering is usually sufficient, but additional watering becomes necessary in hot summer months with little rainfall. Maidenhair tree is drought tolerant, but it will not tolerate wet feet so it is better to allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between watering than to risk root rot from over watering the tree. After the first year, you might only need to irrigate the tree during hot summer months.

5 Keep a 5-foot diameter circle around the trunk free of grass and weeds to eliminate competition for water and nutrients. Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the bare area to prevent weeds. Keep an area about 6 inches from the trunk free of mulch to avoid rot and infestation. Replenish the mulch as it decomposes to maintain the 3- to 4-inch layer. 6 Apply a complete fertilizer, containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, a few weeks after planting and each year in early spring to encourage fast growth. Application rates vary depending on fertilizer ratios and concentrations, so follow package directions for specific application information. Alternatively, you can use finished compost and dried manure, which doubles as organic fertilizer, as mulch around the tree.

Pruning

1 Disinfect pruning tools in a diluted chlorine bleach solution, mixing one part bleach with nine parts water in a spray bottle. Use bypass pruners for small branches, lopping shears for medium branches and a pruning saw for larger branches.

2 Select one central leader at planting, choosing the strongest, best-placed vertical branch and eliminating any other upright branches. Depending on the size of the tree, you might need to stake the central leader to help its upright growth. In some cases, the transplant has only one vertical branch, so this step is not necessary.

3 Eliminate any rubbing or crossing branches as the tree grows to encourage an open framework of branches. This should be done annually in late winter maintenance pruning, whether training a new tree or maintaining an ancient specimen.

4 Cut back any drooping branches that hang low enough to interfere with walkways or driveways. Make the cut back to a branch union to avoid leaving a noticeable stub. Older maidenhair trees droop naturally as a response to the branch weight. You can leave the drooping branches in place if they do not interfere with access to the tree or other parts of your yard.

5 Remove dead branches as they occur. Cut secondary branches back to the point of intersection with the parent branch. Cut entire limbs back to the trunk, cutting just outside the branch collar tissue ring that surrounds the joint. If branches are larger than 2 inches in diameter, use a three-cut pruning method. Make a cut about one-third of the way through the underside of the branch about 12 inches out from the trunk; make a second cut straight down through the branch about 1 inch out from the first cut; make the third cut just outside the branch collar.

6 Cut any diseased branches about 6 inches outside the diseased area. Disinfect pruning tools immediately after cutting diseased branches.

Things You Will Need
• Tiller
• Organic matter (optional)
• Shovel
• Mulch
• Complete fertilizer
• Bypass pruners
• Lopping shears
• Pruning saw
• Chlorine bleach
Tip
• Pruning and care needs are minimal for maidenhair trees, making them a top choice for a low-maintenance garden.
• While many find the pyramidal shape of maidenhair trees to be attractive, more adventurous gardeners could train a maidenhair tree as an espalier to cover an ugly exterior wall.

What Are the Health Benefits of Ginkgo Leaf Powder?

By Amy Myszko (Demand Media)

The ginkgo biloba tree is one of the longest-living tree species in the world, with each tree living as long as 1,000 years. Ginkgo leaves have been used medicinally since at least 2600 B.C., according to WebMD.com. Ginkgo leaf powder may be useful in treating cardiovascular and circulatory disorders as well as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Memory Enhancement

A number of studies have shown ginkgo to be useful in treating early-stage Alzheimer's, although a few studies show no effect on dementia, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Gingko biloba products are used widely in Europe to treat dementia and have been found to help people with Alzheimer's improve thinking, memory, daily skills and social behavior. There are no good studies on ginkgo leaf powder -- the majority of research has been conducted on ginkgo leaf extracts. Many herbalists prefer the use of whole, powdered plants when compared with standardized extracts -- which have components removed -- because of the potential benefit from the full spectrum of plant constituents present in the powdered form.

Cardiovascular Disease and Circulation

According to the Merck Manual, ginkgo may help to increase circulation to the legs in cases of peripheral arterial disease, thin the blood and prevent blood clots. Ginkgo leaf is also useful in the treatment of intermittent claudication – pain caused by reduced circulation to the legs – by increasing blood flow, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginkgo may be helpful in treating and preventing cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases due to high levels of antioxidants, which prevent damage to the DNA from free radicals.

Other Uses

According to naturopathic doctor and master herbalist Sharol Tilgner, ginkgo leaf is useful in treating varicose veins and hemorrhoids, macular degeneration, glaucoma and erectile dysfunction. Ginkgo also can be used to ease bronchial asthma by increasing blood flow and dilating the bronchial passages. Other uses for ginkgo leaf powder include improved hearing, to treat headaches and reduce vertigo, according to WebMD.com.

Precautions and Side Effects

Due to its ability to reduce clotting, ginkgo should not be used if you are taking pharmaceutical blood-thinning drugs. It should also be discontinued at least 36 hours before surgery or dental procedures, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginkgo should be avoided in pregnancy and during lactation, and you should talk to your doctor if you are taking medications before taking ginkgo. A few noted side effects -- though rare -- include skin irritation, headache, dizziness and stomach upset.


Get Past the Vile Smell: Ginkgo Nuts Are Delicious

By Rachel Nuwer (smithsonian.com)

People have been feasting on these tasty little morsels since at least the 11th century

Autumn is here, and with it comes not only brisk breezes, beautiful leaves and pumpkins, but the vile reek of the ginkgo nut. Ginkgo trees—originally from Asia—now grow in cool climates around the world. When temperatures begin to fall, the trees' fan-shaped leaves might turn a beautiful gold, but that lovely display is not without its costs. Ginkgo nuts, which also appear at this time, have been described as smelling like hot garbage, odiferous cheese, dog poop or worse.

Savvy foragers, however, know that the ginkgo's disgusting stench is deceiving. If you take the time to break through that outer husk, you'll be rewarded with a delicious morsel nestled inside. Here's Edible Manhattan, reporting back from a successful recent ginkgo nut-harvesting trip to Central Park:

The thing to know about ginkgos is that the fruit’s flesh is smelly, but the little pit within is not. And while you could take the whole fruits home to pick through, it’s easy to pluck them apart before bagging. After aging a bit on the sidewalk, each orb easily yields its heart, and I soon had a cup or two of what looked like apricot pits, stuck the bag in my pocket and went on my way. Back home I washed them in the colander, consulted Brooklynite Leda Meredith’s beautiful book Northeast Foraging and toasted my haul on a sheet tray at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. It couldn’t have been easier; I was soon cracking them open (I used my ricer to violate several shells at a time) and snacking on something enjoyably interesting, an ancient food that, to me, was entirely new.

As Edible notes, today's urban foragers are far from the first to have caught on to the ginkgo's secret. People have been feasting on ginkgo nuts for centuries. The first written records of them date back to an 11th century Chinese text. By the 15th century, cooks in Japan—who still commonly serve ginkgo nuts in dishes and on their own, skewered and grilled—were using them in desserts and as part of tea ceremonies.

Today, most of those gathering ginkgo nuts in New York City and other places in the U.S. are limited to "small crowds of Chinese matriarchs," Edible writes, although with the uptick of interest in urban foraging and local eating, the competition for those deceptively smelly morsels is probably going to get a lot stiffer.


What Are the Health Benefits of Ginkgo Leaf Powder?

  • Source:What Are the Health Benefits of Ginkgo Leaf Powder?
By Amy Myszko (Demand Media)

The ginkgo biloba tree is one of the longest-living tree species in the world, with each tree living as long as 1,000 years. Ginkgo leaves have been used medicinally since at least 2600 B.C., according to WebMD.com. Ginkgo leaf powder may be useful in treating cardiovascular and circulatory disorders as well as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Memory Enhancement

A number of studies have shown ginkgo to be useful in treating early-stage Alzheimer's, although a few studies show no effect on dementia, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Gingko biloba products are used widely in Europe to treat dementia and have been found to help people with Alzheimer's improve thinking, memory, daily skills and social behavior. There are no good studies on ginkgo leaf powder -- the majority of research has been conducted on ginkgo leaf extracts. Many herbalists prefer the use of whole, powdered plants when compared with standardized extracts -- which have components removed -- because of the potential benefit from the full spectrum of plant constituents present in the powdered form.

Cardiovascular Disease and Circulation

According to the Merck Manual, ginkgo may help to increase circulation to the legs in cases of peripheral arterial disease, thin the blood and prevent blood clots. Ginkgo leaf is also useful in the treatment of intermittent claudication – pain caused by reduced circulation to the legs – by increasing blood flow, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginkgo may be helpful in treating and preventing cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases due to high levels of antioxidants, which prevent damage to the DNA from free radicals.

Other Uses

According to naturopathic doctor and master herbalist Sharol Tilgner, ginkgo leaf is useful in treating varicose veins and hemorrhoids, macular degeneration, glaucoma and erectile dysfunction. Ginkgo also can be used to ease bronchial asthma by increasing blood flow and dilating the bronchial passages. Other uses for ginkgo leaf powder include improved hearing, to treat headaches and reduce vertigo, according to WebMD.com.

Precautions and Side Effects

Due to its ability to reduce clotting, ginkgo should not be used if you are taking pharmaceutical blood-thinning drugs. It should also be discontinued at least 36 hours before surgery or dental procedures, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Ginkgo should be avoided in pregnancy and during lactation, and you should talk to your doctor if you are taking medications before taking ginkgo. A few noted side effects -- though rare -- include skin irritation, headache, dizziness and stomach upset.


Ginkgo biloba: An alternative treatment for Alzheimer's?

(EmpowHER)

An estimated 5.1 million adults in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute on Aging. A common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects cognitive and behavioral function.

In the later stages of the disease, Alzheimer’s disease significantly affects memory and cognition, resulting in patients being unable to recognize their family members and understand language.

Because of the serious effects of the disease, research has investigated new treatment possibilities. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved four medications for Alzheimer’s disease: donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine.

Rivastigmine and galantamine are for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, while memantine is for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. Donepezil is used for mild to moderate as well as severe Alzheimer’s.

Some patients have looked into alternative treatments to help with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. One such alternative treatment is ginkgo biloba. The herb contains two components thought to have medicinal effects: flavonoids and terpenoids.


What you need to know about ginkgo biloba

By Dr. David B. Samadi

According to the National Institute of Health, Americans spend more than $33 billion dollars on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) annually, accounting for more than 10 percent of out-of-pocket purchases.

CAM is comprised of a diverse set of treatments and supplements, such as vitamins, chiropractors, acupuncture and herbal therapies. While marketing campaigns actively promote daily vitamins as the key to vitality and improved wellness, they comprise only a modest proportion of CAM sales. The majority of spending, more than $14 billion dollars, has been directed towards non-vitamin, non-mineral, herbal products. This is equivalent to one-third of the personal spending on prescription drugs.

Consumers are actively seeking alternative treatments for a variety of ailments, from arthritis to the common cold. Annual sales have been rising in recent years despite a delicate economy. People are trying to avoid doctor visits by pursuing preventative therapies, following claims of improved immunity and memory to the cash register. In 2009, more than $250 million dollars were spent on ginkgo biloba alone, one of the top 10 purchased natural product. Ginkgo is one of the most widely used and studied herbal remedies in the world.

Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally for more than 5,000 years. Originally extracts were used to treat pulmonary diseases, such as bronchitis and asthma. More recently, however, ginkgo has been favored to prevent memory loss and dementia. It is believed that flavonoids within the plant are responsible for its proposed medicinal effects, with over 40 different flavonoids have been isolated from leaves from the ginkgo tree. Flavonoids are compounds found ubiquitously in plants having varying antioxidant properties. In animal models these compounds appear to alter neuro-communications and protection against neurologic changes associated with aging, however findings in humans are conflicting.

Despite being the subject of more than 400 clinical investigations, the efficacy of ginkgo in humans is still undecided.

While many of these trials were small, preventing generalizability, a few large randomized controlled trials have been recently published, which question the utility of ginkgo. In 2009, the results were released of a large randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness of ginkgo biloba versus placebo in reducing the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer disease in elderly individuals. The authors followed approximately 3,000 volunteers over the age of 75 for a median of 6 years. Half of the participants were assigned to take ginkgo twice a day and the other half took a placebo. At the end of the trial, no significant difference was noted between those in the ginkgo group and those consuming the placebo. Overall, the study failed to find any decrease in the incidence or rate of progression of dementia or Alzheimer disease associated with daily ginkgo supplements.

Others have found similarly disappointing results regarding ginkgo’s ability to enhance memory. In a randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, researchers investigated the effect of daily ginkgo on memory, attention, and learning in 330 volunteers older than 60. After following participants for 6 weeks, the authors of the study failed to find any difference between those taking the real supplement and those in the placebo group. These findings suggest that when taken following the manufacturer’s instructions, ginkgo fails to provide cognitive benefits

Proponents argue that these studies were too short to demonstrate the proposed benefit of ginkgo, particularly given the long natural history of dementia. Additionally, some studies have demonstrated slight benefits with ginkgo. One study, which looked at the effectiveness of gingko in decreasing Alzheimer patients cognitive decline, found that ginkgo was comparable to donepezil, a commonly used medication for Alzheimer disease.

While the cost associated with herbal supplements represents just a fraction of overall health care spending, it comprises a significant proportion of out-of-pocket expenses. As such, the utility of supplements, like ginkgo, should be evaluated thoroughly before widespread use. Although the majority of studies are inconclusive regarding the benefits of ginkgo, they do, however, demonstrate that ginkgo is safe, with few participants experiencing adverse events. Ginkgo is known to interfere with normal blood clotting. Thus, in patients on blood thinners (Indocin, Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox, and Ticlid), ginkgo should be used with caution. Additionally, prior to starting any new supplement it is essential to discuss it with a physician.

The continued popularity of ginkgo despite very limited evidence to support it highlights a general trend in consumer spending. Studies have shown that purchasing of supplements is unaffected by the publication of negative studies. This pattern has been seen with St. John’s Wort, Echinacea, saw palmetto and glucosamine. As a physician, I advocate for evidence base medicine, making recommendations on the basis of documented utility and advise that my patients follow the same principle.


Ginkgo trees boast benefits, underused in gardening

By Neil Sperry

It’s been 35 years since I planted the first Autumn Gold ginkgo into our landscape. It was near steps down toward my old greenhouse (now replaced by my Santa barn workshop), and it grew there pretty much untended and un-irrigated for 10 years. But as we expanded our landscape a bit, that tree got more care and attention. Today, it’s one of my favorite plants in my garden, and I’m proud to recommend it to you as a superior small accenting shade tree. I’ve even added another six or eight years ago just off our deck.

Ginkgoes are fairly common in the North, and you’ll see them every once in a while in East Texas, but here in D-FW they’re still very much under-used in our plantings. In the hopes that we can inspire you to consider one for your home, here are some of their attributes.

• Almost no pest problems. I’ve never seen an insect or disease bother either of my trees, and I’ve not seen any issues with the trees that I watch around town.

• Moderate, mannerly growth. In our area, their mature height will be 30 or 35 feet, and they’ll grow to almost that width. But it will take them 20 or 30 years to get there, so you probably want to use ginkgoes as secondary or even tertiary shade trees.

• Fascinating branching. Their limbs shoot out at 45-degree angles, almost in the form of vases. They’re especially interesting when they’re bare in the winter.

• Great foliage and fabulous fall color. Their 2-inch leaves look like old-fashioned folding fans. They’re gray-green in the growing season, but they turn to the richest glorious gold in the fall.

Autumn Gold is an old standard variety that is still hard to beat. It’s the one you’re most likely to find. It’s a grafted male selection, and that’s absolutely essential. The last thing you want is a fruiting ginkgo. Female trees produce fleshy cones that turn putrid as they fall. Buy a labeled, grafted variety, and if sprouts shoot out from the root system, remove them at once. (They could be from a female tree rootstock.)

The better nurseries do stock-grafted ginkgoes year-round, assuming they’re not sold out. You may even be lucky enough to find other varieties, including dwarf and weeping types that can be used for very special landscaping needs. Ginkgoes, for example, are centuries-old favorites for use in bonsai training. That’s perfectly in keeping, of course, since they’re native to Southeast Asia.

Plant your ginkgo now to give it the best start in getting established. Give it a spot that will always be sunny, and plant it at the same depth at which it had been growing in its pot. Use the excess soil you get as you’re digging the hole to build a water-retaining berm around it. Each time you water, fill the berm and let the water soak slowly to the bottom of the root ball. Your tree will take off next spring, and you’ll have a fun plant to enjoy for years to come.

Neil Sperry, a McKinney resident, hosts Neil Sperry’s Texas Gardening from 8 to 10 a.m. Sundays on WBAP-AM (820). He is the publisher of Neil Sperry’s GARDENS Magazine. Learn more at neilsperry.com. Each week, Sperry will offer tips and instructions for making the most of your North Texas garden.


Benefits of `Ginkgo biloba` revealed

(Zee News India)

Washington: A new animal study has discovered that `Ginkgo biloba` helps in enhancing neurogenesis and improves recovery following a stroke.

Researchers at the University of Toledo, Ohio, found that Ginkgo biloba treated mice had enhanced neurogenesis, partly due to the increased protein expression of hemeoxygenase 1, an antioxidant gene that also has a role in neurogenesis. Pertinently, mice lacking the hemeoxygenase 1 gene were observed to have reduced neurogenesis after stroke.

The study led by Dr. Zahoor A. Shah, Dr. Shadia E. Nada and Jatin Tulsulkar (graduate student) established that besides prevention, improving recovery following a stroke should become the prime focus of current stroke research. It was now found that neurogenesis was not only an ongoing process in adults, but could also be induced by pathological conditions like traumatic brain injury and ischemic stroke, and strategies that promoted endogenous neurogenesis as part of repair and regeneration process should be prioritized.

Neurogenesis in the adult brain involved not only the proliferation and migration of precursor cells known as stem cells/neural progenitor cells (NSCs) but also their functional integration into the neural network. Ischemia, though a potent inducer of proliferation and migration of NSCs, did not provided an environment conducive to their survival, differentiation and integration, and creating an environment with exogenous drugs was paramount to improving the number of NSCs that could result in improved brain repair and regeneration.

Zahoor A. Shah said that controversies and other ethical issues related to stem cell therapies make drug-induced enhanced neurogenesis a promising treatment strategy, besides one documented clinical trial recommending the use of Ginkgo biloba after ischemic stroke, further high quality and large-scale randomized controlled trials would be warranted to test its efficacy in stroke recovery.


The Untold Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

By Melissa Snyte

Ginkgo Biloba is a herb that is often extracted and then used in different medicines. Medicine can also be made from the seeds of this herb. This herb has been used to treat a number of medical conditions including everything from anxiety to more serious conditions such as Schizophrenia.

Origins

Ginkgo Biloba is also known as the Abricot Argente Japonais as well as the Ten Xing. It has been used for centuries in ancient Chinese medicine to treat common cold symptoms as well as given to people with more serious health ailments.

Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

There are said to be many benefits to taking this herb is supplement form or in extract form. This herb is said to be able to treat anxiety and help a person calm down. This herb is said to improve mental functioning such as memory and the ability to recall information at a faster pace. This herb is given to people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There have been some evidence that shows that the herb is able to reduce the symptoms and allow a person to retain more of their mental functioning and logical reasoning. People with vision problems due to diabetes are given these the ginkgo leaf extract as will reduce the strain on the retinas and reverse the damage that is caused by this disease. Glaucoma patients can also benefit by consuming the leaf extract. It can help a person see more clearly. Ginkgo Biloba is said to improve the circulation of the blood. This leave can be given to people with circulation problems to reduce pain and get the blood flowing once again. This herb is given to women with severe PMS and rapidly chaining mood swings. It is said to relieve some of the pain and help regulate the hormonal levels in the body. People with Schizophrenia can take this herb, and they will see a reduction in the symptoms. This herb is said to reverse the negative effects of anti-psychotic drugs. The herb is also said to help a person with Vertigo and reduce the onset on this condition.

Side Effects of Ginkgo Biloba

While Ginkgo Biloba is effective with a number of health conditions, it may not be for everyone. This herb is likely safe for most people, but there is a small chance that it can increase a person’s risk for developing liver cancer. This has only proven to be true when very light doses were taken for an extended period of time. This herb can cause an allergic reaction to people who are allergic to poison ivy and similar plants. Some people bruise easier when taking this herb. Some people have noticed an increase in blood after surgeries. The Ginkgo Biloba plant is not safe to take by the mouth. The plant itself should not be eaten. It can make a person go into shock. Fresh seeds are considered to be poisonous and should not be consumed. They can lead to seizure and possible death. Dosage

It is very important to take only the recommended dosage of this herb. The average person can take 120-420 mg per day. This should be divided into two to three different servings and taken at different times of the day. A person has to be sure to consume only the extract or the plant when it has been treated and dried out.

Use in Supplements

The extract from this plant is used in supplements. When taking in supplement form the herb it safe. It should never be consumed in the crude state.

Interactions

People that take Xanax should not use this herb as it can increase the chance of side effects. People that use Ibuprofen should not take this as the blood can clot and cause bruising. People that use Efavirenz to treat HIV should not use this herb as it can decrease the effectiveness of this medication. People that take other herbal supplements should not use Ginkgo Biloba as it can increase the risk of seizures.

Ginkgo Biloba can help a person who is suffering from some serious medical conditions. It should only be taken in supplements and extract form as the herb itself can be toxic. Ginkgo Biloba can help a person reduce the symptoms of these medical conditions when it is taken as directed.

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Ginkgo herb could prevent strokes

(Marie Claire)

The herbal remedy Ginkgo could help stop the body from suffering strokes, a new study has shown.

The popular supplement – full name Ginkgo Biloba – has long been taken by people as an aid to improve memory in the brain as it increases blood flow to the area. At least 100,000 people in the UK take the supplement regularly.

Now scientists have discovered that Ginkgo supplements reduce the amount of damage caused in the brain, after tests were carried out on mice. The mice received daily doses of the herbal supplement for a week before scientists induced strokes in the animals. The group who were given a daily dose of Ginkgo had 50.9% less neurological dysfunction.

The supplement also seemed to reduce the level of paralysis and weakness in limbs.

Lead researcher Dr Sylvain Dore, from John Hopkins Institutions in Baltimore, confirmed the conclusions saying: 'Our results suggest that some element or elements in Ginkgo actually protect brain cells during stroke.'

He added: 'If further work confirms what we've seen, we could theoretically recommend a daily regimen of Ginkgo to people at high risk of stroke as a preventive measure against brain damage.'

Dr Dore admitted: 'It's still a large leap from rodent brains to human brains but these results strongly suggest that further research into the protective effects of Ginkgo is warranted.


Ginkgo trees are resilient and brilliant

By Laura Christman

Pretty, prehistoric and sometimes putrid. If you are looking for a plant with an odd mix of characteristics, the ginkgo might just be your tree.

Gold and bold in autumn, ginkgos are showy enough to be featured in yards; tough enough to withstand an atomic bomb; and old enough to be called living fossils.

"If you rated a tree from one to 10, it is a 10 ? and maybe even an 11," said Warren Lytle, retired Shasta College horticulture instructor in Redding. "It lives a long time. It has good fall color. It is relatively deep rooted. Branching is good."

Ginkgos, called maidenhair trees because their fan-shaped leaves resemble maidenhair ferns, are not prone to oak root fungus or other diseases and are not troubled by pests, Lytle said.

"It is essentially maintenance-free," he said.

The trees have quite a track record. Ginkgos outlived the dinosaurs. Even an atomic bomb didn't faze them. Several ginkgos survived the blast of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in World War II and are still living, notes the The Ginkgo Pages, a website devoted to ginkgo trees.

"I think they are great trees ... I wish that more people would plant them," said Marie Stadther, lead gardener for Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding.

Ginkgos have deep roots, making them unlikely to pop walkways or crack patios the way shallow-rooted trees do, she said. "They can live along sidewalks or in a grassy lawn."

While ginkgo trees have lots going for them, you don't see a lot of them.

"I think that people recognize the ginkgo name, but I don't think people understand the uniqueness of the tree," Stadther said.

Ginkgo biloba is probably more associated with herbal supplements on store shelves than large trees in home landscapes. Supplements are taken for various conditions, including asthma, tinnitus, fatigue and dementia. Asian cultures have long used ginkgo seeds as food and ginkgo extracts as medicines. National Institutes of Health's website reports mixed results on ginkgo ? some studies show promise and others conclude ginkgo is ineffective.

The ginkgo tree is the lone survivor of the ancient family Ginkgoaceae. Fossils of ginkgo leaves date back more than 250 million years, according to an Oregon Department of Forestry publication.

"At one time it pretty much covered the globe," Lytle said.

An ice age shrank the tree's territory, he said. The tree was thought to be extinct until 1691.

The ginkgo is a gymnosperm "more closely related to pines and redwoods than sycamores and peach trees," Lytle said.

There are male and female ginkgos. Females produce seeds with a yellow, fleshy exterior. Cherry-like in size, they drop in autumn and begin to ferment, giving off an odor similar to vomit or dog droppings.

"It's rancid," Lytle said. "It really is reminiscent of feces."

Because of the stench, there's little demand for female trees. Nurseries sell male ginkgo trees propagated by cuttings to assure they are stink-free.

Ginkgos can get taller than 80 feet, but trees in most landscape settings don't get that high. They are more likely to be 30 to 50 feet high, Lytle said. While mature ginkgos are graceful, they start out gangly.

"They are kind of scrawny when they are young ... It takes awhile before the canopy becomes rounded," Stadther said. Turtle Bay's McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Redding has several slender, young ginkgo trees.

Lytle described the ginkgo as slow-growing ? gaining only about a foot in height in a year. "Once it matures, it is a good shade tree but getting it to that size takes time."

Shawn Rohrbacker, a landscape architect with Melton Design Group in Chico, said slow growth is the reason ginkgo trees don't show up as often as other trees in municipal or commercial plantings.

"In Chico or Redding, one of the main purposes for specifying a tree is for shade," he said. "(With a ginkgo) you are not going to have shade available within the first 10 to 15 years that a standard tree would provide."

But ginkgos aren't always excluded. They are part of the sidewalk plantings in front of the Shasta County administrative building on Court Street in Redding, and the city of Anderson used ginkgos in its demonstration block on East Center Street.

"We've been very pleased with them. They very much complement the look of our downtown," said Jeff Kiser, Anderson assistant city manager.

Places to see mature ginkgos in Redding include Oregon Street near the downtown post office, the Sundial Bridge parking lot and the northeast side of Shasta College's theater building. And now is the time to take a look. Ginkgos are in their glory in autumn.

"They have that yellow, golden color," Stadther said.

"If you want to put some real sparkle in the yard, it's a tossup between that (the ginkgo) and the Chinese pistache," said Doug Campbell, owner of Gold Leaf Nursery in Redding.

When ginkgo leaves drop, they go quickly.

"They are the best leaves for playing in, kind of leathery and softer than other leaves and they fall all at once, so you get a big pile of them," said Wendy Swetka, a salesperson at Wyntour Gardens in Redding.

MORE ON GINKGOS

-- Some ginkgo trees are believed to be more than 2,500 years old.

-- Ginkgos are described as the living link between ferns and conifers.

-- Ginkgo trees are resistant to air pollution.

-- Buddhist monks living in the mountains of China around 1100 cultivated the trees and are believed to have saved ginkgos from extinction.

-- Ginkgo trees are dioecious with both male and female trees.

-- The fleshy coating of ginkgo seeds can cause an allergic reaction. Uncooked ginkgo seeds have large amounts of ginkgotoxin, which can cause seizures and even death.

-- Ginkgo trees prefer full sun. They are willing to grow in different soils, but need a site with good drainage.

-- Ginkgos do best in climates with wet winters and hot summers.


Ginkgo Biloba Could Help In The Fight Against Glaucoma

(The Daily Health)

Imagine losing your eyesight… slowly you begin to struggle with blurred vison, not being able to focus and letters dancing all over the page when you are reading. The frustration and the feeling of being completely powerless against this distressing symptom of the ageing process must be truly frightening.

Sadly, what I’ve just described is the fate that awaits thousands of people every year. In fact, in the UK 40 per cent of people over the age of 60 will experience some sort of vision loss.

Do you see what I see?

The truth is you don’t have to accept declining vision as “just a part of the ageing process.” Nor do you have to live in fear of losing your eyesight from macular degeneration… cataracts… or glaucoma, because it is possible (despite what you’ve been told) to stop these common vision problems and diseases right in their tracks.

For instance, glaucoma – a disease that ultimately leads to vision loss as a result of damage to the optic nerve – is particularly difficult to come to terms with. For many years, it was believed that high intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye was the main cause of optic nerve damage in glaucoma. While IOP is definitely a high risk factor for this disease, it is now known that individuals with normal IOP can also develop glaucoma. This form of the disease is called normal-tension glaucoma (NTG).

Now, a recent study by Italian researchers has revealed that the herb Ginkgo biloba can improve visual field damage in some patients with NTG. That’s because this powerful herb helps improve blood circulation, reduces blood clotting and helps maintain blood flow to the optic nerve.

For the study, the researchers recruited 27 patients between the ages of 58 and 80. Each patient had NTG in each eye and reported progressive loss of vision over time. The patients were divided into two groups in a crossover design. One group received 40 mg of a typical Ginkgo biloba extract three times daily for 4 weeks, followed by a washout period (no treatment) of 8 weeks, followed by placebo for an additional 4 weeks.

The other group received the same treatment in the reverse order. Standard measurements to determine the extent of visual field loss were recorded in each phase of the trial.

As expected, the placebo had no impact on visual performance. However, when the patients in either group were treated with the ginkgo extract, each measurement of visual field showed significant improvement.

The researchers also found that the visual benefit was lost once the participants stopped taking ginkgo biloba.

Commenting on the results of the study, Dr. Robert Ritch, Chief of Glaucoma Services at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, said: “The authors are to be commended in embarking along this innovative avenue of research. Ginkgo biloba extract deserves further investigation for its potential in the treatment of glaucoma as well as other ischaemic ocular diseases.”

Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Ginkgo: Ancient Tree of Longevity

By Conan Milner (Epoch Times)

Ginkgo's reputation as a memory tonic is fading, but it still has many other benefits

Few plants have as fascinating or as long a history as the ginkgo tree.

Ginkgo is old. Really old. It comes from the time of the dinosaurs, and has unique features unlike any plant alive today. Botanists consider it a “living fossil.”

At least 150 million years ago ginkgo grew all across the Northern Hemisphere, but was virtually wiped out in a major extinction event following the last ice age. Luckily, a few specimens survived in China. According to legend, Chinese and Tibetan monks recognized the value of this rare tree and began to cultivate it. The reason we have any ginkgo trees today is thanks to their efforts.

Ginkgos are revered throughout Asia where the tree has come to symbolize longevity and enlightenment. The world’s oldest specimens grow outside temples and monasteries in China. A large ginkgo growing in Shanxi Province is believed to have been planted by Taoism founder, Lao Zi. Another tree found outside Di Lin temple in Shangdong Province is estimated to be more than 3,000 years old. Modern Medicine

Ginkgo has been a Chinese food source and folk medicine for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the most widely used and studied herbal medications in the world.

Ginkgo leaf extract has been the subject of over 400 published studies. It has demonstrated circulation improvement throughout the body, most notably to the head. For this reason, ginkgo has been used for decades to improve memory and prevent dementia.

However, ginkgo may not be as effective a memory medicine or dementia preventative as was once believed. While some research from the 1980s showed promise in improving memory, in better and more recent trials ginkgo’s memory reputation failed to pan out. An important 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined over 3,000 seniors for eight years. Researchers found that ginkgo had no effect on cognitive decline.

Ginkgo may not prevent dementia, but some research suggests it may benefit people who already have Alzheimer’s disease. These studies find that ginkgo extract is just as effective as the approved Alzheimer’s drug, Aricept, but without the side effects. In other trials, ginkgo has demonstrated some ability to treat PMS, anxiety, depression, and macular degeneration.

Many consider ginkgo leaf to be a cardiovascular tonic, and use it to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and angina pectoris. According to researchers, ginkgo’s medicinal power comes from antioxidants and flavonoids.

Traditional Use

Just as modern researchers are finding uses for ginkgo the ancient Chinese did not acknowledge, our ancestors saw attributes in the ginkgo tree that we would certainly overlook. According to Ming Dynasty medical scholar Li Shizhen, Taoist magicians used to carve their magic spells and symbols on old ginkgo wood to gain access to the spirit world.

Most modern applications for ginkgo were unknown to herbalists of the past. Likewise, modern emphasis on the leaf is a fairly recent development. Ancient Chinese herbalists were much keener on the ginkgo nut, which is traditionally used to treat lung problems (bronchitis and asthma), as well as incontinence and vaginal discharge. In Chinese medicine terms, ginkgo dries damp conditions. Like other trees used as medicine (such as white oak), ginkgo is an astringent.

Ginkgo had many names in ancient China—Buddha’s fingernail tree, Gongsun tree (a reference to the great Yellow Emperor), and duckfoot tree (referring to the shape of the tree’s unique leaf).

Since the Song Dynasty, however, the main Chinese name for ginkgo has been “yinxing,” which means “silver almond,” although ginkgo nuts look more like pistachios. Even the name we’re familiar with—”ginkgo”—comes from a mispronunciation of a Japanese word meaning “silvery apricot.”

There are two big reasons why modern people prefer the leaf over the seed: ginkgo nuts are slightly toxic, and they stink. Ancient Chinese herbalists sometimes used the leaf for coughing, wheezing, and pain, but never for memory problems. An old Chinese recipe uses powdered leaves baked into bread or cookies to treat diarrhea. Side Effects

The toxin in ginkgo nuts (called ginkgotoxin) is somewhat neutralized through cooking, yet Chinese herbalists will prescribe a small amount of the raw nut for excess phlegm conditions. Ginkgo nuts are traditionally eaten on special occasions throughout Asia.

The leaf also has traces of ginkgotoxin, but in much smaller amounts. At moderate doses, ginkgo is usually well tolerated, but some may experience headache, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhea, especially if they take too much.

According to the “Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica” by Dan Bensky and Andrew Gamble, the antidote to ginkgo toxicity is a tea made of boiled licorice root, or boiled ginkgo nut shells.

Because ginkgo improves circulation, it is contraindicated for people taking anticoagulant prescriptions, such as Coumadin. Those with an allergy to poison ivy or poison oak are also urged to avoid ginkgo. As with any botanical medicine, consult a qualified herbalist for best results.

A 2012 study suggested that ginkgo could cause cancer, prompting the Center for Science in the Public Interest to urge consumers to avoid ginkgo products.

However, major study flaws make ginkgo’s supposed cancer causing reputation hard to swallow. According to the American Botanical Council (ABC), the study used a lesser quality Shanghai ginkgo extract, rather than internationally accepted German extract.

Even more importantly, the doses fed to the rats in the study were between 55 and 108 times higher than doses consumers typically take (120–240 milligrams per day).

Fun Ginkgo Facts

Ginkgo trees are hardy. Not only did they survive the ice age, they are popular urban ornamentals because they are disease resistant and pollution tolerant. Ginkgo trees were one of the few living things that survived the bombing of Hiroshima.

Ginkgo trees are found all over the world, but conservationists fear for its future due to a lack of biodiversity. Since 1998, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has had ginkgo on its Red List of Threatened Species because the only place it lives in the wild is the Tian Mu Shan Reserve in eastern China.

People overwhelming plant male ginkgo trees, because the females produce the stinky nuts.

Germany, France, and China are the most avid users of ginkgo supplements, but much of the source material comes from South Carolina, which is home to a 12,000 acre ginkgo plantation.


Gingko Nuts for Health

By Deni Bown

Gingko nuts are used to relieve respiratory problems in Chinese medicine.

Gingko biloba produces nuts that are slighter larger, but milder in flavor than peanuts. Gingko nuts can be roasted or pressed into an edible oil.

Inspired by the extensive herb grounds of the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, herbalist Deni Bown has cataloged 150 essential herbs for modern living. Herbal (Pavilion Books Ltd., 2001) is an excellent source book for experts and novices alike. With Bown’s expertise and anecdotes, the story of each herb unfolds and is heavily illustrated with personal photographs and botanical name plates. This excerpt explains how gingko leaves are used in Western medicine, but in Chinese medicine even ginkgo nuts are used to treat respiratory conditions. Herb Profile: Ginkgo

AKA: Maidenhair tree Ginkgo biloba

Portrait

A hardy deciduous tree, reaching 30m (100ft) tall, with bright green, fan-shaped, lobed leaves, up to 12cm (5in) across, resembling those of maidenhair ferns. The leaves turn butter yellow before falling. Trees are either male or female, and fruiting occurs only when they are grown close together, and in warm summers. The fleshy, yellow, plum-shaped fruits smell unpleasant but contain large, edible nuts. Ginkgos are native to Zhejiang and Guizhou provinces in central China.

History

The ginkgo tree is a botanical dinosaur. Plants alive today are unchanged from their ancestors, which grew 200 million years ago. Though common in cultivation, ginkgos were thought to be extinct in the wild until populations were discovered in central China. Ginkgos are sacred in China and Japan, and often found near temples. In China, the fruits symbolize longevity and are eaten at weddings with other auspicious plants such as mushrooms and seaweed. The oldest ginkgo in Britain dates back to 1754 and is in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Western research into ginkgo began in the 1960s, establishing new and different uses for this ancient Chinese herb.

Cooking With Gingko Nuts

Ginkgo nuts are slightly larger than peanuts but milder in flavour. They are served roasted in Japanese bars to accompany drinks, and used fresh, canned or dried and pre-soaked in soups such as bird’s nest soup, casseroles and stir-fries. Ginkgo nuts are a traditional garnish for Korean dishes, such as shinsollo. The nuts yield an edible oil.

Healing With Ginkgo Nuts

In Chinese medicine ginkgo nuts are prescribed for asthma, bronchial congestion, coughs and incontinence. In western medicine the leaves are used. They contain ginkgolides, substances unknown elsewhere is the plant world, which improve the blood supply to the brain, eyes, ears and extremities. This results in improved memory and learning capacity, and may ease conditions such as tinnitus, vertigo, deteriorating sight and hearing, vein disorders and cramps in the legs due to poor circulation. It may also reduce the risk of a stroke. While the medical profession regards ginkgo mainly as a useful treatment for senile dementia, it has become the best-selling herbal supplement of all in Germany and France, where millions take ginkgo regularly to maintain brain power and circulation.

Notes for Gardeners

Not surprisingly, ginkgos are tough — perfectly hardy, tolerant of pollution and about the only tree able to survive the wind tunnels created by buildings. Given a reasonably sunny spot and any well-drained soil, ginkgos are superb garden and street trees that take hard pruning and are virtually pest- and disease-free — every garden should have one. Though naturally fairly columnar when young, there are very narrow forms for confined spaces and several other interesting cultivars, including a variegated one. Most trees reach about 5m (15ft) after 10 years but young saplings make beautiful container plants. Patient gardeners can propagate gingkos by sowing ripe nuts, or by semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Ginkgo Biloba Trees