by Melissa Chichester
It comes from the world’s oldest living species of tree, and individual trees can live for 4,000 years. It is referred to as a “living fossil,” and matter from it has been found in fossils dating back 270 million years. The tree is native to China and its extract is usually produced from the leaves. It is sometimes known as “silver apricot” or “maidenhair.”
Did you guess ginkgo biloba? If so, you’re right! This eye-catching tree is anything but ancient history and still loved around the world for its use in beauty, art, cuisine, and wellness practices.
Known for its distinct two-lobed, fan-shaped leaves, ginkgo biloba is beloved for its cultural significance. It is the official tree in the Japanese city of Tokyo, and its distinct leaves inspire symbolism in Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. Throughout Asia, ginkgo trees adorn the landscaping of temples. There are also many pieces of art that depict ginkgo leaves and trees. As much as ginkgo biloba is beloved as an artistic muse and source of natural inspiration, it is just as important as a source of nutrition and nourishment.
Inside ginkgo seeds are nut-like components that are consumed as traditional foods, such as congee and Buddha’s delight, a vegetarian dish. In Japan, ginkgo seeds are used in dishes such as chawanmushi, an egg custard dish that is savory instead of sweet.
Ginkgo biloba has been incorporated in traditional Chinese health practices for centuries. Interestingly, in Chinese culture, ginkgo is revered for the seeds, whereas in modern practices in the West, extracts from the leaves are more valued and studied.
For use in supplements, when gingko is standardized for 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides, it has many benefits. First, it contains antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals in the body.** Free radicals can come from the food you eat, medications, and even the environment. Free radicals may contribute to the premature aging of cells.**
Ginkgo is also used for supporting focus and provides the supplemental nutrition you need to support healthy brain function.**
This is good news for older adults, as ginkgo biloba helps support memory, especially occasional mild memory problems associated with aging.**
Another use for ginkgo biloba is supporting circulation.** Ginkgo has the ability to promote circulatory perfusion, particularly in cerebral tissue.** It provides you with the supplemental nutrition you need to support peripheral circulation and helps maintain blood flow.**
Finally, gingko biloba may also support sugar metabolism.**
As you can see, ginkgo biloba has many impressive benefits that continue to be discovered through modern-day research.