The roots of the original gingko biloba, also known as gingko or ginkgo has been traced back to more than 270 million years ago in China. This amazing tree and its roots have been able to overcome many obstacles of the years. This type of flora has been known to be infused in food and medicine to help improve the quality of life. The height of a normal gingko tree can reach over 160 ft. Just like the beautiful and colorful leaves on the trees in New England during autumn, the gingko tree leaves change from green to yellow. The leaves of this tree are unique and shaped similarly to a four-leafed clover. These trees grow in both sexes, males and females. The difference between the two gender trees is that female plants do not produce cones but have ovules. Unfortunately, this amazing plant is a dying breed and there are a limited number of this type of species in the world. Gingko trees can allow different forms of products to be created from leaves to their roots. These can include: leaf extracts, roasted (not raw) seeds, teas, capsules and oils.
- Medical use- It can be stated that the Chinese were ahead of their time because they began uses the gingko tree and its roots for medical uses as early as the 15th century. Gingko leaf extracts has been used to help those who suffer from diseases such as: dementia, PMS and Alzheimer’s. Other ways that the gingko leaf extracts and seeds can help improve health problems is by improving blood flow and reducing the risk of seizures and dizziness. Research has shown that the use of gingko can help vascular problems and memory problems. It has also been noted that the use of gingko can help reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety. Aside from the mentioned medical uses, gingko can help with promoting clear and healthy skin, reduce insomnia, fights fibromyalgia, treat migraines, maintains eye health and helps heart health.
- Herbal supplement- The use of all types of gingko products has been limited in the United States. Herbal supplements are the most common use of gingko found in the states. These herbal supplements can be used as a dietary supplement for many people. It has been stated that by using this form of herbal treatment, people have experienced a fuller appetite and decreased hunger.
- Food uses- The Chinese share a culture with the Gingko tree and have been known to add gingko seeds to their traditional Chinese dishes. The Chinese also used gingko nuts called congee, which are usually only served during the holiday season and the Chinese New Year. Over the years, the Japanese have adopted some of the Chinese cooking styles and include these seeds to dishes such as chawanmushi.
Even though the gingko plant is a natural supplement, there are still plenty of side effects that go along with the use of this plant. Here are some of the side effects that can affect the body:
- Stomach problems
- Vision problems
While most of these problems are listed as side effects on many medications, the following side effects should warrant an immediate trip to the doctor.
- Trouble breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Easy bruising
It is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking anything with gingko in it. The use of certain medications mixed with the gingko can have serious complications. If you are using medications such as aspirin, seizure medications, warfarin, heparin and ibuprofen then you should not use gingko products. Do not double a dose if you have accidentally missed one. Keep in mind that gingko can act as a blood-thinner and while this may be a benefit to some people, don’t forget to tell your doctor of this medical use prior to any surgery. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not use any capsule or liquid form of gingko as it can cause serious complications to you and the baby. During a visit to China or Japan, you may be tempted to eat fresh but raw gingko sees, but do not do it. These types of seeds are most poisonous when they are in a raw state.