Ginkgo biloba

ginko-500x424Family: Ginkgoaceae

Part used: Dried leaf; fresh and dried fruit (nuts).

Herbal action: antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, cerebrovascular stimulant, geriatric restorative; the nuts are used in China as an expectorant and antitussive.

Indications: cerebrovascular insufficiency, vertigo, tinnitus, age-related macular degeneration, age-related deafness, dementia, mental confusion, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and altitude sickness

Medicinal uses: Ginkgo is an unusual example of a herbal product that has little foundation in traditional herbal medicine. Its modern clinical usage derived almost entirely from research conducted on the standardized extract. On the whole the research suggests that Ginkgo is a useful plant in age-related disorders, used primarily to enhance blood flow and oxygen utilization, inhibit inflammation and scavenge free radicals. Even though the extract EGb represents a ratio of 50 parts plant to one part extract (50:1), more closely resembling what might be called a ‘neutraceutical,’ it has been remarkably well-tolerated in clinical trials. Despite the safety of the extract, some herbalists prefer to make their own, typically as a fresh or dry plant tincture. Limited clinical experience suggests that the tincture is probably active, although most practitioners will probably combine it with other, similarly acting herbs such as Crataegus. In Chinese medicine both the nut and the leaf are used cough, wheezing and lung pain from Lung deficiency syndromes. The nut is also used in incontinence and spermatorrhea, excessive vaginal discharges and turbid urine.