February 13th, 2008The Health Benefits of Ginkgo
Information from the 100-herb syllabus and Brittini Nelson, M.H. (thesis)
Ginkgo comes from the Chinese word Ginkyo, meaning silver apricot. Biloba is Latin, bi meaning double, loba meaning lobes. The leaf is fan-shaped, with a split in the middle. The seed has the size and appearance of a small apricot when mature, and has a silvery bloom on the fruit. You can tell a Gingko from other conifers by its fan-shaped leaves. The leaves can be between 5-8 centimeters wide. They are a leathery leaf and have a wax layer on both sides. The Ginkgo has a vascular system where the veins divide in two. This vein pattern is unique to the Ginkgo.
A Ginkgo tree can reach 100 feet in height, and 13 feet in diameter. When the tree reaches 100 years old, its canopy starts to spread. The male tree has a slim column form and is slightly longer, while the female tree had a wider crown and a more spread out form.
My personal experience with Ginkgo biloba began some 10 years ago when I was 19 years old. I had little or no understanding towards herbs and only had heard that ginkgo would make you smarter. As a silly teenage girl I was living in Princeton, NJ among intelligent students. I wanted to assure, if nothing more, the ability to conversate clearly and rationally with my mature and scholarly peers. I thought I would put the herb to the test and expected immediate results. Expectations were never met. Looking back I was not taking proper formulas or adequate doses and I lacked consistence.
My second experience with Ginkgo biloba came later with maturity and a new sincere interest in herbs. My main interest in Ginkgo at this time was in its ability to clear minds and its ability to help with depression. I believe that my trails were successful because I had a greater interest in mind than myself, my father. Like any little girl growing up, I adored my father. He was very young when I was born (17) and I always remember how young and strong he was. In my mind, this is how he will always be even though those days are now far behind us. While still rather young, my father injured his back lifting a tired water-skier into a boat. A small gesture that changed his life forever. He had damaged a disk in the lower lumbar section of his back. Although this happened 20 years ago, the pain is still as persistent as it was in the beginning. Other health issues followed such as weight gain, sleep apnea, insomnia, and difficulty processing thoughts into words without long irritating pauses. Working graveyard shifts is another irritant to his physical state as well. All of these conditions played a part in what I feel to be one of the most devastating illnesses of all, Depression. With so much love and empathy for my dad, I have always sought out ways to help him and make him more comfortable. Depression can be catchy and I can’t help but feel sad when I am near him. Over the last year, and since my herbal career has begun, I have been working with him. We have been able to find solutions to improve his health such as the mucusless diet, exercise and herbal supplements. One of those solutions was Ginkgo biloba. Even he had heard the effects of the herb and was excited to apply it to his condition. His condition had already improved some because of other changes he has made, and could only get better. He began taking the herb at an average 80 mg dose, three times per day. He was discouraged at first because he did not see results during the first week, second week, or the third. He did claim to have more energy during the beginning of the third week. At six weeks noticeable improvements revealed themselves in several ways. We noticed that the pauses during his speech occurred less often and were shorter than usual. At 14 weeks, he claimed to be experiencing a more “keen or sharp sense.” His mood and overall outlook was improving. He was experiencing fewer headaches. He also claimed to be sleeping better. Recently we formulated an herbal combination to address several of his personal health needs that includes Ginkgo biloba. Both my father and I feel gratitude and respect for the effectiveness of this divine herb.
Ginkgo has been used to nurture and heal the ailing human body for thousands of years. The beauty and distinctness of the tree has proven to be more than just ornamental. It is rich in medicinal value and highly effective in treating disease. Considering its many omnipotent qualities, Ginkgo is one of the most well known herbs to man.
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