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Introduction to Ginkgo Biloba

Guide to Ginkgo Biloba Benefits & Medical Uses

Ginkgo Biloba is claimed to be the longest living species of plants. There are fossils of Ginkgo Biloba leaves that are more than 270 million years old; there is even a living specimen which is 3000 years old and is reported in Shandong province in China. The scientific classification and ginkgo scientific name is:

Kingdom:

Plantae

Division:

Ginkgophyta

Class:

Ginkgoopsida

Order:

Ginkgoales

Family:

Ginkgoaceae

Genus:

Ginkgo

Physical Description of Ginkgo Biloba Tree:

Large, long lived, tough trees which may live as long as 3000 years. They can be as tall as 165 feet. The tree has long angular branches, with strong deep rooted roots which make it stable in extreme snow and windy conditions.

A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos very long-lived. The tree is not ever green, the leaves turn deep yellow during winters and fall considerably, in winters it is no more than bare branches but in spring and summers it is in full bloom and have the pollination as well.



The leaves are fan shaped which have dichotomous venation. The leaves are usually 5-10 cm (2-4 inches), but sometimes up to 15 cm (6 inches) long.

Physical Description of Ginkgo Biloba:

The Ginkgo Biloba though has very strong smelling fruit but it has only the seed in it, it can not be eaten. This inedible fruit has reported to cause some poisonous reactions when was eaten by humans.

Even the leaves are toxic and can not be taken directly. Though the beneficial extract is drawn from the leaves, but this is done by complex treatments given to the leaves. The leaves either dried or the extract taken from it comes in to the following forms:

A.    Standardized extracts containing 24 - 32% flavonoids (also recognized as flavone glycosides or heterosides) and 6 - 12% terpenoids (triterpene lactones)

B.     Capsules

C.     Tablets

D.    Liquid extracts (tinctures, fluid extracts, glycerites)

E.     Dried leaves for tea.

The general dosage in adults is 80 to 240 milligrams of a 50:1 standardized leaf extract taken daily by mouth in 2 to 3 divided doses has been used and studied (standardized to 24% to 25% ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpine lactones).

Other forms used include tea (bags usually contain 30 milligrams of extract), 3 to 6 milliliters of 40 milligrams per milliliter extract daily in three divided doses, and "fortified" foods.

Ginkgo seeds are potentially toxic and should be avoided. Like seeds the intra venous solution is also harmful. Tebonin is a German product of Ginkgo Biloba that was given intravenously and had severe side effects and hence has been banned.

Ginkgo Biloba is widely used all over the world for the improvement in certain health conditions like Reynaud's phenomenon, weight loss, hair loss, glaucoma, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, vitiligo extract treatment, memory problems and muscle cramps.

With such fame and easy availability it is not a big deal to Ginkgo Biloba extracts anywhere in the world.