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Ginkgo is the oldest surviving species of tree and is often referred to as “the living fossil”. Fossil records indicate that it probably originated during the Permian period about 250 million years ago. The tree ranged worldwide during the Paleozoic era and went into decline before the Ice Age, eventually retreating to the mountain forests of China. Because Ginkgo is the only living species of its family speaks of the tree’s hardiness. The first green growth to emerge in the city of Hiroshima after the atomic blast was Ginkgo. The properties of Ginkgo were first recorded around 2,800 BC. In traditional Chinese medicine the leaf was used to support the respiratory system. It’s truly amazing that Ginkgo, an ancient tree seeded millions of years ago, has survived to impart such a profound influence on human physiology.


Modern day uses of Ginkgo are well established. In Europe it is used extensively to support cognitive function. Ginkgo and its constituents are the subjects of over 400 scientific publications, making it one of the most researched herbal products. Numerous clinical trials have documented Ginkgo’s positive effects on cognitive function. Ginkgo has been shown to affect recall, recognition memory, reaction time, attention, concentration, mood, and energy levels.
Many diverse actions contribute to the overall effectiveness of Gingko. However, not all of these mechanisms have been elucidated. Actions that possibly contribute to its effectiveness include direct and indirect antioxidant activity, optimal blood flow, and neuroprotective actions. The combined therapeutic effects are probably greater than that of an individual mechanism and are perhaps the result of the synergistic effects of multiple constituents of the total extract.

Uses of Ginkgo


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Ginkgo-flavone glycosides and terpene lactones, which constitute about 24% and 6% of the extract respectively. The ginkgo-flavone glycosides fraction consists of quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin whereas the terpene lactones fraction consists of ginkgolides A, B, C, J and bilobalide.

Parts Used

  • leaf

Important precautions


Additional Resources


Herb Reference Guide