gingko largeGinkgo

Ginkgo|Ginkgo biloba

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include ginkgo (often misspelled gingko), maidenhair tree, duck foot tree, silver apricot.


Ginkgo is a large tree and one of the oldest species of tree on the planet, native to China. Fossilised remains of Ginkgo have been found from around 230 million years ago! Trees are either male or female, the females producing stinky 'fruits' containing the seeds.





Ginkgo dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The leaves of the tree are harvested and dried thoroughly before use as a medicine, often in Autumn when the leaves are yellow. Better to buy the leaves from a reputable medicinal herb supplier than harvest your own as they can absorb significant amounts of environmental pollutants. Ginkgo growers that harvest for medicinal uses are careful to avoid this problem.


The nuts or seeds contained within the smelly fruit from the female trees can also be prepared and eaten but take care as the fruit are highly allergenic and produce a severe skin rash. Several videos and how to exist on the internet if you type something like 'how to prepare and eat ginkgo nuts/seeds" into a search engine.


Ginkgo dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.

therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Ginkgo is an extremely ancient remedy that has been in use for many thousands of years. it is held in very high regard as a herb that is nutritive, antioxidant, immune modulating, anti-tumour, promoting brain and nervous function and as a remedy that serves humanity increasingly well into old age, particularly useful in geriatric medicine.


Ginkgo is a prime circulatory stimulant. It improves and increases blood flow generally throughout the whole body. It also dilates the peripheral and deep blood vessels, especially smaller arteries and capillaries and renders the blood free flowing and less sticky. This makes it especially suitable for circulatory conditions such as Raynauds disease, intermittent claudication (reduced blood flow to the legs), cold hands and feet, chilblains, cellulitis, low blood pressure, angina, atheroma and arteriosclerosis as it also reduces the formation of plaque and helps prevent a build up on blood vessel walls. It can help in many conditions involving vascular spasm and help prevent embolism.


It is also excellent for increasing blood flow to head and brain and can therefore of benefit to enhance the memory when caused by poor circulation, increase wakefulness/ alertness, headache (ONLY when caused by decreased blood flow, ginkgo can actually cause a headache by bringing too much blood to the head...if ice or cold helps your headache then don't use ginkgo!), dizziness, vertigo, fainting, can help restore cognitive abilities after head injuries or traumas, both prevent incidences of and speed up healing of ischaemic stroke, lessens damage to the brain from certain poisons such as lead, aluminium, mercury (got a mouth full of mercury fillings?) etc and protects the brain from further damage caused by a cerebral haemorrhage.


Ginkgo has a beneficial action on conditions affecting the venous system like varicose veins, piles, phlebitis, thrombosis and other clotting conditions. Skin ulcers on the legs can also be improved with ginkgo as part of a broader herbal formula.


Ginkgo has a protective affinity to the nerves and has been shown in numerous studies to have neuro-restorative actions on those recovering from ischaemic strokes and from nerve injuries. Certain side effects of medication prescribed for schizophrenia can also be reduced with ginkgo, many patients responded well to a combination of both conventional anti-psychotics and ginkgo. It also has a good and growing reputation in the treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer's and vascular dementia (mainly due to ginkgo's high antioxidant content and their appetite for free radicals) where  attention, memory and cognitive performance can all be improved  considerably when used for at least 6 months. Cerebral insufficiency in old age and many other age related disorders can also benefit from ginkgo and so may bi-polar disorders.


ADHD may benefit from ginkgo as part of a broader herbal formula.


Ginkgo is often added to formulas that increase blood flow and energy to the penis for conditions such as impotence, to increase libido and possibily boost male fertility.


Ginkgo leaves are effective at helping restoring a lost sense of smell after a viral infection or damage to the olfactory nerves.


It can also prove useful in cases of tinnitus and in some mild to moderate hearing loss, particularly when the cause is vascular in nature.


The action of ginkgo on the lungs is also noteworthy, it has a long history of use in the East against tuberculosis, breathing difficulties, bronchial spasm, asthma (known to reduce frequency and severity of attacks and a reduction in need for bronchodilator medication when taken daily for several months) and can help protect the lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoking.


Conditions such as chronic fatigue and M.E may respond well to ginkgo, when used as part of a herbal formula. It can give a much needed boost in chronic tiredness and fatigue.


Ginkgo has a beneficial action on the vision and eye health generally. It can help glaucoma, macular degeneration, allergic conjunctivitis and may also help prevent cataract formation


Both depression and anxiety may be helped with ginkgo as part of a broader herbal formula and natural treatment regime.


Hangovers and altitude sickness may be helped with the addition of ginkgo to a herbal formula.


Hair growth is somewhat promoted, possibly due to its blood moving action to the head and small blood vessels.


Ginkgo leaves can also prove valuable for protecting the body against the effects of radiation exposure as outlined in this article.


Ginkgo leaves can help protect the body from the complications of diabetes such as kidneys fibrosis, reduced vision, neuropathies (nerve damage) and angiopathy (blood vessel damage), cardiovascular damage, mental impairment, hearing impairment, Alzheimer's, etc.


Skin conditions such as vitiligo and depigmentation as discussed in this research abstract


An interesting article on the history and use of ginkgo as medicine by herbalist Christopher Hobbs can be found here


A comprehensive article on ginkgo is provided by the American Botanical Council here.


A useful article on the medicinal uses of ginkgo.


An insightful and very informative, wide range of forum discussions on ginkgo use and side effects can be found on Henriettes Herbal site.


It is well worth noting that many, in fact virtually all the research abstracts included in the above links, are based on particular extracts of ginkgo leaf, not the whole leaf.



dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Due to its potent reduction of blood stickiness, avoid using with blood thinning or blood clotting medications, even aspirin.

* Avoid if taking medications for seizures or epilepsy due to possible herb-drug interactions.

* Use caution if taking any prescribed medications.

* Avoid during pregnancy and breast feeding.

* There is a risk of increased bleeding in susceptible individuals i.e. those with bleeding disorders.

* An informative article detailing all aspects of ginkgo and how/when to use are found here.

* A discussion of side effects of ginkgo extract use here.


* Ginkgo is perhaps best used as part of a formula combined with other herbs specific to your condition.



Tincture: standard dose is 30-60 drops up to 3 times daily.

Dried herb in tea form: standard dose is 1 teaspoon of dried leaves per cup up to twice daily. Some suggest 2 teaspoons per cup, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.


* Not recommended for children under 12 years old.

Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.



Child watering plants




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