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Botanical Name

Ginkgo biloba

Common Name

Ginkgo, maidenhair tree



Parts Used

Leaf, seed

Native To

Southeastern China

Harvesting Guidelines

Ginkgo trees are known for their hardiness, but they thrive best in moist, sandy soil and full to partial sun. Propagation can be achieved through seed, grafting, or cuttings. The leaves of the ginkgo tree are typically harvested in the fall, when they turn a vibrant yellow color. To prepare the leaves for use, the branches are cut with pruning shears and the leaves are removed and dried until they become crinkly and the midrib is completely dry.


The ginkgo tree is a fascinating species that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is also known for its incredible longevity and is often referred to as a "living fossil." Fossils of the ginkgo tree have been found dating back over 250 million years, making it one of the oldest continuous species on Earth. Interestingly, the ginkgo tree is genetically distinct from all other trees and is considered a bridge between ancient ferns and more modern conifers. It is the only member of its genus, family, order, and class, making it a truly unique and remarkable plant.

Ginkgo trees are renowned for their remarkable resilience and longevity. While it is uncertain whether any wild ginkgo trees still exist, cultivated trees in China, Japan, and Korea have been known to live for over 1000 years. These trees have proven to be incredibly tenacious, surviving everything from lightning strikes to nuclear radiation. In fact, eyewitness reports from post-war Hiroshima and Nagasaki suggest that ginkgos were among the first plants to thrive again in areas most affected by atomic bomb radiation. This resilience has made ginkgo a popular choice for medicinal purposes and energy supplements.

Ginkgo, a plant commonly used in traditional medicine, has been found to have numerous benefits for the circulatory system and vascular tissue. Studies have shown that it can lower blood pressure by increasing the release of certain substances that cause blood vessels to dilate and improve their flexibility. Additionally, ginkgo has been found to improve the properties of red blood cells and inhibit platelet aggregation, which can help prevent conditions like atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Overall, ginkgo is a valuable natural remedy for promoting cardiovascular health.(1)

Ginkgo, a popular herbal supplement, has been found to have numerous health benefits. One of its most notable effects is its ability to increase blood flow to the head, making it a valuable treatment for imbalances of the inner ear such as tinnitus, vertigo, and acute cochlear deafness caused by ischemia. Additionally, ginkgo has been shown to have a positive effect on ocular blood flow, which may make it an effective treatment for early macular degeneration and glaucoma. Its circulatory and antioxidant qualities make it a versatile and beneficial supplement for overall health and wellness.(2)

Ginkgo has been studied for its potential benefits in treating dementia and age-related cognitive decline. While the results have been mixed, some studies have shown that ginkgo can enhance memory and cognitive function in certain types of dementia. Additionally, it has been found to be a helpful support for elders who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. However, there is little evidence to support its effectiveness in preventing Alzheimer's disease.(3)

Ginkgo has been used in Chinese medicine for its effects on the lung and kidney channels, and modern research supports these claims. Studies have shown that ginkgo can help regulate fluid balance, reducing swelling in the brain and eyes. It has also been found to be effective in treating asthma by inhibiting platelet-activating factor (PAF) on eosinophils, reducing inflammation in the lungs, and improving bronchodilation. Herbalist David Winston has also found ginkgo to be useful in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) when combined with other herbs like khella, schisandra, lobelia, and licorice.(4)

Ginkgo, a tree native to China, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. According to ancient texts, ginkgo has a unique yin-yang quality, as it has both male and female sexes. The seed is believed to act on the Lung channel, while the leaf is said to stimulate the Lung, Spleen, and Stomach, as well as various other systems in the body, including the brain and CNS. Herbal scholar Li Shizhen even noted that if a branch from a male ginkgo is inserted into a hole in the side of a female ginkgo, the tree will generate seeds, illustrating the attraction of yin and yang.(5)


Adult Dose (6)

Extract: 50:1 standardized extract, 120 mg/day (the equivalent of 27-30mg of ginkgo flavone glycosides and 10mg terpenoids).

Infusion: 2-4 ounces of a standard infusion of the leaves daily.

Tincture: 30-60 drops of tincture (1:5,60% ETOH) up to three times daily.


Ginkgo, a popular herbal supplement, has been found to have anticoagulant properties. However, this has raised concerns about potential interactions with blood-thinning medications like Warfarin. Additionally, studies have shown that ginkgo can affect the metabolism of digoxin and may potentiate certain medications like MAO inhibitors and papaverine. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking ginkgo or any other herbal supplement, especially if taking prescription medications.(7)




(1)Auguet, M., Delaflotte, S., Hellegouarch, A., Clostre, F. (1988). The pharmacological bases for the vascular impact of Ginkgo biloba extract. Rökan (Ginkgo Biloba). Recent Results in Pharmacology and Clinic. pp., 169-179.

(2)Ran, K., Yang, D. L., Chang, Y. T., Duan, K. M., Ou, Y. W., Wang, H. P., and Li, Z. J. (2014). Ginkgo biloba extract postconditioning reduces myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury. Genetic Molecular Research 13(2), pp., 2703-2708. doi: 10.4238/2014.April.8.14.

(3)Vellas, B., Coley, N., Ousset, P. J., Berrut, G., Dartigues, J. F., Dubois, B., Granjean, H., Pasquier, F., Piette, F., Robert, P., Touchon, J., Garnier, P., Mathiex-Fortunet, H., and Andrieu, S. (1998). Long-term use of standardised Ginkgo biloba extract for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (GuidAge): a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Neurology 11(10), pp. 851-859. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70206-5.

(4)Winston, D. (2002). Eclectic & specific botanical protocols for asthma. Retrieved from

(5)Fruehauf, H. (1998). The Ginkgo: Cultural Background and Medicinal Usage in China. The Journal of Chinese Medicine 56(40). Retrieved from

(6)Moore, M. (n.d.) Principles and practice of constitutional physiology for herbalists. Albuquerque, NM: Southwest School of Botanic Medicine. Retrieved from

(7) Brinker, F. (1998). Herb contraindications & drug interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications.


Scientific Research:

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.


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