This article is part of a series giving information about herbs and their medicinal properties. We are going to look at ginkgo biloba in this article. You will find out what this herb is, how you can use it and the conditions that could be helped by ginkgo bilboa.

What is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo Biloba is a perennial deciduous tree that is native to Eastern China. In fact it is the oldest living tree on the planet and is thought to date back over 300 million years. This fact often means that it is call the living fossil. These trees can often grow as high as 37m (122ft) and have a girth up to 1.2m (4ft). The female trees are often pointed like a pyramid at the top whereas the male trees are broader at the top. The bark is rough and the colour can vary from ash to dark brown. The leaves of the tree are bright green and fan shaped on the end of a long stem. The trees can take up to 30 years to flower and once the blossom has gone the fruits left are yellow and plum-shaped that can give off an unpleasant smell.

How to use Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo is not necessarily an easy plant to get your hands on. For that reason it might be a good idea to buy a remedy from your local health food store. In the USA it is sold as a food supplement in the form of both tablet and capsule. However in Europe it is largely sold as either prescription or over the counter medication.

In terms of using the plant, it is the leaves that contain the medicinal properties. However the leaves must be processed in order to extract the active phytochemicals. A large number of leaves are needed just to create one dose of the herb. For that reason you are best to buy the herb already processed.

Uses of Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba has a large number of medical properties and this has been recorded as far back as 2800BC. It has been shown that an enzyme found in the seeds can speed up alcohol metabolism which might explain why they are served with alcohol in Japan. In Asia the leaf extract has been used to treat conditions such as allergies, asthma and bronchitis. It is also thought to be a heart tonic and useful for treating cardiac arrhythmia.

The herb has an important property where it can increase the blood flow in the body which can make it very useful for a number of different conditions. For example in Europe the herb is prescribed for conditions like Raynaud’s disease and is also recommended for people with intermittent circulation. In Germany it is recommended for leg ulcers and varicose veins and is recommended across Europe for a stroke treatment. Long term use has also been shown as beneficial for erectile dysfunction and PMS.

Another great property is that it is thought to enhance oxygen use which can help with memory and concentration. This lead to a number of studies which showed it could be useful for dementia and age-related memory loss. Other conditions it may be useful for include tinnitus, improving long-distance vision, depression, headaches, sinusitis and vertigo.

Side Effects and Precautions

Allow gingko is a relatively safe herb there are some precautions you should take. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose as exceeding this can lead to restlessness, diarrhoea, and gastrointestinal problems. It should also be avoided for two weeks before and after surgery. In addition the herb should be completely avoided in pregnant women due to its effect on the placenta. You should also be careful when giving the herb to children.

There are some medications that the herb can interact with including those that thin the blood. If you have any concerns it is a good idea to discuss the herb with your doctor.

This article has been supplied by alternative therapiesdirectory. You can also find more information on our Herbal Medicine page.

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