Scientific name: Ginkgo Biloba
Common names: Maidenhair Tree, Fossil Tree, Maidenhair Tree, Japanese Silver Apricot, Baiguo, Bai Guo Ye, Kew Tree, Yinhsing
Ayurvedic names: Balkuwari
Chinese names: Yin-hsing or yin xing yi
Bangladesh names: Balkuwari
Arabic names: الجنكة (al jinka)
Rain Forest names:
Approximate number of species known:
Common parts used: Leaf, fruit, seed
Height: 66-120 feet (20-35m)
Actions: Astringent, Antibiotic, Circulatory stimulant, Pulmonary, Vesicant
Known Constituents: Many flavonol glycosides, biflavones, .5-1% mono, di and tri-glycosides including the flavones quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin including comaric acid esters of flavanoids. Terpene lactones (terpenoids) including bilbalide and ginkgolides A,B, C, J; Bioflavonoids, ginkgolic acids, sterols, procyanidins, polysaccharides, proanthocyanidins, alkylphenols, simple phenolic acids, 6-hydroxykynurenic acid, 4-O-methylpyridoxine and polyprenols.
One common extract of Ginkgo, called EGb761, was developed in 1975 by Schwabe Pharmaceuticals in Germany. This extract is standardised to 24% ginkgo flavonoid glycosides including quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin and 6% terpene lactones including ginkgolides A, B, C and bilobalide.
Other constituents include proanthocyanidins, rhamnose, D-glucaric, ginkgolic acids, glucose.Constituents Explained:
Flavonols are a subclass of flavonoids which have antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects, and along with Proanthocyanidins have been shown to strengthen capillaries.Description:
A slow growing large tree, up to 40m, with large seeds. The tree can grow up to 10m before the branches extend from the side of the erect trunk. The leaves are alternate. Yellowish-green, fan-like leaves, are in clusters with veins that run parallel. Both, thick catkins of male and singular rounded female flowers are yellow-green. The fruit is yellow, fleshy and droops. The pulp and the seed has a disagreeable smell when ripe. The inner shell has a creamy white nut which is edible surrounded by a shell. It is native to east China.
Grows best in soil that is well watered and well drained. In Autumn the leaves go a deep yellow. It's been suggested that Ginkgo is a good pollution absorber and hence air purifier.
When the leaves turn yellow in Autumn, they are collected.Traditional Use:
Ginkgo biloba is believed to be both the most widely prescribed herbal medicine in the world and the world's oldest living tree, being over 200 million years old, and a being a long-term descendant of the seed fern. Its name is believed to come from the Japanese word gin kyo meaning "Silver Apricot.
It is spelled Ginkgo, but pronounced "Gink-o" with a silent 'g' which has led to some confusion around it's spelling, with some people spelling it Ginko, without the 'g', by mistake.
Native to China, it is believed that this tree would have become extinct if it wasn't for the Chinese replanting it around their temples 1500 years ago. All other trees in this Ginkgophyta division are now extinct making Ginkgo the only known survivor in the family.
Ginkgo is used as a circulatory enhancing agent including as a brain tonic to enhance cerebral function including memory, mental alertness, concentration and cognition.
Ginkgo is used for disorders involving the cranium, including the sight and sound, and for those in the peripheries of the body including hands and feet, as well as to promote circulation to the skin, and reproductive organs including sexual function such as erectile dysfunction caused by decreased genital blood flow.
It is believed to help open the smaller veins which improves micro-circulation and has been used to promote blood supply to the head for tinnitus when cerebral circulatory insufficiency was a factor.
It's been used for age-related neuro-degenerative disorders such as Dementia, and Alzheimer's.
It is known as well to be used as support for persons with eye disorders including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, vitiligo, general and peripheral circulation, and as a vasodilator.
It's been employed to increase energy, and a reduce fatigue. It's been taken for headaches, depression, mood swings, arthritis, as well as to promote blood flow in fluid retention related circulatory disorders.
It has been used for dizziness, anxiety, acute cochlear deafness, early stages of dementia, cerebrovascular insufficiency, reduced retinal flow as well as for head injuries and memory loss.
The leaves and seeds are used in Chinese Medicine for lung problems. Ginkgo seeds are used for urinary incontinence. The seeds are antibacterial and anti-fungal.
The seeds contain a toxin, given the label, ginkgotoxin, but the leaves appear to contain little or none of this. When the kernel (seed) is collected, the toxic flesh is removed and it is cooked. It is used in soups and porridges when boiled and tastes sweet, similar to pine nut. Cooked seed is used to stabilize spermatogenesis. The seed also gives an edible oil.
The Chinese have used it for over 5000 years for asthma and heart problems. The Chinese once used the nuts only for medicine as an anti-asthmatic.
It has been suggested this is due to relaxation of the bronchi. It dilates the blood vessels and bronchial tubes, aiding reduction of allergic inflammatory responses. It has also been used to treat coughs with sticky, thick phlegm. It has been proposed that it may play a role in heart and stroke prevention including dilating blood vessels containing cholesterol.
It is thought that it may have a protective effect on the nervous system.
The tree is Japan's capital, Tokyo's, official tree with the Ginkgo leaf being its symbol.Clinical Studies:
Based on the vascular theory of glaucoma pathogenesis, a study evaluated the effect of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) on peripapillary blood flow in patients with normal tension glaucoma (NTG).
Thirty patients with NTG were randomly placed in the GBE-treated or control groups. The GBE-treated group received 80 mg GBE orally, twice a day for four weeks, and the control group received a placebo twice a day for four weeks.
Complete ocular examinations including visual field, Heidelberg retina flowmeter, and systemic examinations were performed on the first study day and on the day treatment was completed.
After GBE treatment, the mean blood flow, volume, and velocity increased at almost all points, and there was a statistically significant increase in blood flow at almost all points, in comparison to the placebo.
Blood volume significantly increased only in the superior nasal and superior temporal neuroretinal rim areas. GBE also significantly increased blood velocity in areas of the inferior temporal neuroretinal rim and superior temporal peripapillary area.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178766/
EGb-761 appears to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of TD in schizophrenia patients, and improvement may be mediated through the well-known antioxidant activity of this extract.
An anti-stress effect comes about from the expression of the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) in the adrenal cortex being decreased due to the ginkgolide constituents of EGb.
For optimal effects, total extracts are suggested as it is thought that both flavonoid and terpenoid constituents being necessary to act in a complementary manner to inhibit a number of carcinogenesis-related processes.
The mechanism of action of EGb 761 (standard Ginkgo biloba leaf extract) on cell survival following apoptosis induced by serum-deprivation or treatment with staurosporine (STS) showed treatment of PC12 cells prevent serum deprivation and STS-induced mitochondrial damage, inhibiting STS-induced activation of the caspase-3 enzyme, attenuate release of cytochrome c and DNA fragmentation. Bilobalide B and ginkgolide C, two of the EGb 761 components, show more significant inhibition than the EGb 761 extract.Ginkgo and neuro protective properties
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