Open Your Heart And Mind With Ginkgo biloba!

Many years ago, long before I was a serious herbalist, I was in the vitamin aisle at Wal-Mart standing in front of a display of Ginkgo biloba capsules. As I read the label on one of the bottles I was really fascinated. “Wow” I thought “It says here if I take these capsules my brain will work better and It’ll make me smarter.” It was only $32 for the bottle; small price to pay for a really smart brain!

I paid my money, took the bottle home and religiously took my Ginkgo capsules every day for a month. When I ran out, I went to Wal-Mart again. I stood in the same aisle looking at the same bottles. As I read the label I suddenly felt something happening in my brain. Gears were unjamming. Wheels were spinning freely. Cognitive function, reason and enlightenment abounded! I had a transformative epiphany and said “Thirty two bucks for a bottle of herb capsules that don’t do anything?! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” and put the bottle back on the shelf and went to find some Cheetos. The Ginkgo had worked! I was brilliant!

Now, I must confess that in the many years since that experience I’ve used Ginkgo countless times and it really does noticeably improve memory and cognitive function. But that’s because I’ve been sourcing the plants myself, storing and handling them properly and making the medicine carefully. Sadly, commercially mass-produced herb products are often pretty ineffective and it ain’t the plant’s fault. But that’s another blog article…

So, how does Ginkgo work and what’s it good for? Ginkgo has two significant properties that work together to do most of the things it does. Let’s talk about them.

Ginkgo the Anti-oxidant

The first is that it’s a really good anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants help the body to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are produced from normal cellular actions like metabolism or inflammation. They can also come from external, environmental sources like tobacco, alcohol, ultra-violet sunshine and some medications. Free radicals are very unstable molecules. They have an unpaired electron on their outer shell. Molecules really hate that! In order to pair that electron with another, they either have to steal one or bind with another molecule. These discourteous chemical reactions result in “oxidative stress” which is very damaging to tissues and is contributory to almost every disease you’ve ever heard of from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’ disease to cancers, diabetes, IBD, autoimmune disorders, Crohn’s disease, macular degeneration and on and on! Oxidative stress is also what makes us get old!

Ginkgo prevents these free radicals from doing harm In a number of ways too complicated to get into here. But the fact is it gets rid of the rascals. As a result it can help substantially in preventing or at least slowing down many of those destructive disease processes.

Ginkgo the Vasodilator

The other major action of Ginkgo is that it’s a powerful vasodilator. Vaso means vein and dilate means…well…dilate. So a vasodilator dilates and opens up blood vessels. The result is vastly better circulation and perfusion of the tissues with blood. Think about that for a minute. What if every cell in your body had all the oxygen it needed? What if each cell had fresh groceries all the time? What if someone came by a thousand times a day and took out the trash? What if hormones and other key communications tools between cells were completely unfettered? What if white blood cells could get anywhere they needed to be on a clear super highway instead of a gravel road full of potholes? There are countless benefits.

So if we combine those two attributes, anti-oxidant actions and vasodilation, and apply them to various structures we can do wonders. In the brain, those two actions really do improve memory and cognitive function. So, if you’d like to remember your grandkids’ names or do well on your college exams, take some Ginkgo. I’ve also used Ginkgo on a number of stroke cases in my veterinary practice over the years with remarkable results. I’ve also used it on a number of cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia and seen some benefit. In most of the situations above, I combine the Ginkgo with other herbs in the Memory & Alertness Formula.

Those same antioxidant and vasodilation properties can also help other situations. Better circulation can help diabetics to minimize bedsores, poor peripheral circulation, retinopathy and neuropathy. It can help wounds heal faster by getting the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. It can help resolve erectile dysfunction and help a fellow be more…functional (See Testosterone Support). It can help the heart, the lungs, the adrenals, the bones, the inner ear, the… Well, you get the idea. Ginkgo helps almost anything because good circulation and anti-oxidants are absolutely essential to good health. Have a look at my other formulas that contain Ginkgo and you’ll see what I mean. And, honestly, I could add it to about every other formula I make with benefit. Because getting the other herbs where they need to be has a huge effect on their ability to do their jobs and Ginkgo is like a state trooper giving those herbs a high-speed police escort to anywhere in the body they need to go.

Ginkgo trees are beautiful and easy to grow about anywhere and are popular ornamentals. They still have male and female trees (they’re old fashioned that way). Virtually every tree you’ll ever see is a boy that was propagated by cuttings. The girl Ginkgo trees make a fruit that smells and tastes like dog poop. I don’t know who the poor fellow was that they paid to confirm that discovery…but they probably didn’t pay him enough. The girl trees don’t sell very well in nurseries. The leaf from either gender is the medicine. Harvest them in the early fall when they first start to turn yellow. That’s when they’re strongest.

So, there you have it. Ginkgo really is an astoundingly beneficial medicine with broad applications. If you’d enjoy learning more about the amazing and the bounteous green pharmacy that’s growing all around you. I’d encourage you to have a look at The HomeGrown Herbalist School of Botanical Medicine. The price will be going up on January 16WE INTERUPT THIS BLOG ARTICLE FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENT Due to extreme winter weather conditions and power outages, we’ve had to close the office for two days this week… which means we haven’t been able to get back to the computer and really give everyone a fair chance to enroll before the deadline. So, we’ve moved it 🙂 The price increase for the school has been delayed until tomorrow (Thursday January 18th 2024) at 11:59 PM MST – CLICK HERE!

If you’d like to have a sneak peak at the inside of the school, Check out the Tour – Webinar Replay and I’ll show you around. Hope to see you there.

Doc Jones

24 thoughts on “Open Your Heart And Mind With Ginkgo biloba!

  1. LILI. says:

    Umm the seeds of Ginko are edible sort of like endame. A Korean friend told me. You pick with gloves (the pulp makes some people itch). You rub the smelly pulp off and then steam the seeds. Warning you should only eat a few at a time as a treat. Oriental cultures think these are delicacies. Here are directions.,seasonal%20delicacy%20that%20should%20be%20eaten%20in%20moderation.

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      One wonders how such things are discovered. “Hmmm…The fruit really stinks and tastes bad and the juice burns my skin and the seeds aren’t safe if I eat more than a few…but I wonder if they taste good.

      Personally, I’m going to stick with nicer snacks. Cheetos anyone? :0)

  2. Linda says:

    How much Ginkgo should/could be taken? Take daily? With or without food? How long can a person take it? What time is best to take Ginkgo?

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      1 rounded tsp of the powder or 1/2 tsp of tincture twice a day. All herbs are better if yu take them with a little food in the stomach.
      Ginkgo is fine for long term use but, as with any long term herb, take a day off every couple of weeks.

      Don’t mix herbs with meds or take them during pregnancy or nursing without talking to a doctor. Ginkgo isn’t safe during pregnancy or nursing.

  3. Mer says:

    I think this must be a sign that I should use some Ginko! I recently participated in an art challenge and the prompt was “Ginko” inspired by the trees in Japan. After reading your article I learned they were the same trees💡 And I’ve seen the name “Ginko biloba” in health food stores for years but never made the connection that the famous yellow Ginko leaves in Japanese art and tradition was “Ginko biloba”…well duh. I appreciate how you explain everything with humor and it’s much easier for me to understand. I look forward to learning more in class, I’m so happy I signed up! I need some Ginko asap. Thanks Doc! Blessings, Mer

  4. Carol says:

    I read somewhere along the line that women shouldn’t take Ginko when menstruating as you could bleed more. Is this correct?

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      I’ve not seen any research confirming that but there’s nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution if someone is prone to trouble anyway.

  5. Kristina says:

    Would Ginko be good to help with varicose veins or make it worse?
    I’ve got some doozies since having my second child and they never fully went away, sometimes they really ache.

  6. Ellie says:

    Hi Dr. Patrick Jones! Could you tell me how you used Gingko for stroke cases? I would love to know the formula that you used and how you prepared it medicinally. What dosage would you recommend for a stroke? Thanks, Ellie

  7. Susan says:

    Thank you Doc for this article. I have a male Gingko tree and was always wondering when to harvest the leaves. Now I know & just like Deb Rose dry or fresh leaves for making tincture. ?

  8. Julie Berthelsen says:

    Read recently that ginkgo improves/ resolves the loss of ability to smell from Covid. Everybody else read that too, apparently, because now ginkgo is sold out everywhere I have checked. Covid effected me that way, but my sense of smell seems better than it was. Still not great, but better

  9. Eva Gates says:

    Thank you Doc. I seem to be failing at my second round of growing these trees from seed, so tonight I bought a couple trees tonight. The next trial is figuring out where everyone is going to live in our yard among our other fun herbs.

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