Herb Highlight: Ginkgo Biloba
Parts Used: Leaves, fruits
Benefits: This herb is among those on the top of my list for longevity and well-being. In fact, I suggest it to everyone over 40, recommends it highly to everyone over 50, and prescribes it diligently to those over 60.
The active ingredients of ginkgo leaf improve circulation and vasodilation. Though this action is evidenced throughout the entire body, it is most noted in the cerebral region. It is a promising remedy for age-related declines in brain function such as Alzheimer’s, strokes, and short- or long-term memory loss. Ginkgo is also an antioxidant and is useful against free radicals, substances that damage cellular health and accelerate aging.
While most of the literature written about ginkgo focuses on its great memory-enhancing qualities, some of its other outstanding features are overlooked. One of the best herbs for the circulatory system, it serves as a cardiac tonic by increasing the strength of the arterial walls. It also reduces inflammation in the blood vessels, and helps prevent platelet aggregation and blood clotting that can lead to blocked arteries. it is one of the best herbs available for promoting blood flow and oxygenation throughout the entire body.
Suggested uses: Regular use of ginkgo improves mental stability and memory function and increases mental vitality. It is also an excellent herb for vertigo and is an effective remedy for tinnitus, or ringing in the ear. To be effective, ginkgo must be used with consistency for two to four months. Though the effects of ginkgo are not sudden or dramatic, if taken over a period of time there is a noticeable increase of memory and vitality.
Preparation tips: Some studies suggest that ginkgo doesn’t break down in water, but I have found it wonderfully effective as a tea. And since the ancients used it primarily in a water base, I’m unsure where that conclusion comes from. As a tea for memory it blends well with sage, rosemary, and gotu kola. As a circulatory tea, blend it with hawthorn and lemon balm. For stress and anxiety, especially when it’s mental worry, blend it with oats and nettle. Ginkgo is often sold in tinctures and capsules too. Both are very effective when using good-quality products.
Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's Herbs for Longevity & Well-Being by Rosemary Gladstar.Copyright (c) 1999 Rosemary Gladstar. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's Herbs for Longevity & Well-Being by Rosemary Gladstar