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Learn about Ginkgo Biloba

Botanical name: Ginkgo biloba
Other names: Ginkgo

Ginkgo Biloba has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine, where the seed is most commonly used. Its primary action is to increase blood circulation and have a tonic effect on the brain, reducing lethargy, improving memory and giving an improved sense of well-being. In saying this, there have been reports of Ginkgo greatly improving memory recall when being taken before exams, due to the increased blood flow in the brain.

Ginkgo Biloba also has a very powerful effect on the circulatory system so if you get cold hands, feet, and head, this is the herb for you. It also assists the heart and helps prevent and treat strokes by preventing formation of blood clots.

Another useful effect of Ginkgo is that it can help cannabis smokers restore short-term memory by sending more oxygen to the brain.

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the world and in an ideal world medical practitioners would recommend Ginkgo Biloba to all people over the age of 50 due to its ability to dilate blood vessels, allowing improved blood flow to the tissues and inhibiting the clumping of blood platelets which contribute to heart problems, strokes and artery conditions.

Ginkgo Biloba is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives and is one of the best-known examples of a living fossil. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by wind. The plant is not self-fertile. The leaves are best harvested in the late summer or early autumn just before they begin to change colour. They are dried for later use.

Preparation: Daily dosage range: 3-5g of dried herb as an infusion. Steep covered 10 minutes.

Reference: Isabelle Shippard, I (2003) How can I use herbs in my daily life. Queensland: Stewart, Ray Thorpe, 2001. Happy High Herbs., Plants for a future, 1996-2010, Verbascum Thapsus, Retrieved September 13 2011, http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Verbascum+thapsus

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