Also known as the ‘tree of the 40 shields’ or Silver Apricot tree, Ginkgo biloba is endlessly fascinating, not only for its ability to survive over millions of years but also for its unusual system of reproduction, especially as it predates the advent of flowers and other spermaphytes (seed plants) (1).
The stems of female ginkgo trees do not develop flowers and seeds but ovules, loaded with nutrient reserves, which fall to the ground and secrete a droplet of resin designed to capture a grain of pollen. Released by male ginkgo trees, this pollen is carried by the wind and attaches itself to the ovules, thus fertilising them and creating a new embryo.
What’s more, when the tree is around 100 years old, it develops protrusions which grow downwards and form stalactite-type nodules named chichi icho by the Japanese (2), meaning ‘ginkgo breasts’. Once they reach the ground, these growths take root, making the tree virtually immortal.
Existing since the dawn of time, Ginkgo biloba has no predators, and seems immune to both disease and destructive pests. It has outlived the dinosaurs and survived various Ice Ages. It is resistant to pollution, all forms of toxicity and even radiation. Ginkgo is the only tree to have survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The oldest specimen of Ginkgo biloba, which is found in China, may be more than 3500 years old. Indeed, it is because of this longevity, testimony to the tree’s incredible ability to adapt to its environment and evolve to ensure its survival, that it has long been viewed as sacred in China and Japan.
Its age-old use in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia has led Western scientists to study its benefits. And there are many of them ...
A number of studies have been conducted to identify the active principles in the leaves of ginkgo biloba, the sole part of the tree to have been used medicinally over millennia.
These studies have revealed that the important constituents of its leaves include terpene trilactones, ie, ginkgolide A, B, C, J and bilobalide, numerous flavonol glycosides, biflavones, proanthocyanidins, alkylphenols, simple phenolic acids, 6-hydroxykynurenic acid, 4-O-methylpyridoxine and polyprenols (3).
Numerous studies suggest that these active principles have multiple positive effects, especially on circulation and microcirculation, and particularly in the brain.
More specifically,ginkgo extract may help to:
To ensure a good intake of ginkgo and thus benefit from its properties, we recommend taking our famous Ginkgo biloba supplement, which contains an extract ofGinkgo biloba with a high content of active principles.
Living fossil, symbol of longevity, sacred tree used for thousands of years, Ginkgo biloba clearly deserves a place in any supplementation regimen aimed at maintaining fitness and withstanding the ravages of time, particularly for its effects on microcirculation and cognition.
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