Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ginkgo Biloba Tree: A Study in Amazement

Strolling on the Smith College campus in Northampton, Massachusetts, we came across a giant of a tree.

Its huge trunk looked like it had been around for quite some time. It was easy to feel dwarfed while standing near this towering specimen.

Peering up into its branches, one could see tiny buds, harbingers of spring to come.  Glancing at the nameplate on the tree, it read "Ginkgo Biloba."

Now one comes across ginko biloba supplements in capsule form but I had no idea what they are used for. A little research came up with some amazing information.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website, a ginko biloba tree can grow up to 120 feet and live for 1000 years!  It is the oldest living tree species. Its leaves contain chemicals believed to have potent antioxidant properties.

The medical center also reported the tree bears inedible fruit that has a strong odor.  Inside the fruit is a seed. The leaves from the tree are used to make some of the herbal medicines given for a variety of ailments.

For example, components from ginko biloba trees  have been used extensively in Europe to treat dimentia since they help to improve blood  flow to the brain.

The information that jumped out at me, however, is that ginko biloba is also used for people who have macular degeneration, an eye disease that's the number one cause of blindness in Americans. 

This runs in my family and my late maternal grandmother lost her sight entirely for six years before she died.

Who knows if ginkgo biloba supplements can really do some of the things they are known for but, to me, they are worth a try.

Each person must make her own determination whether to take supplements. It's always advisable to check first with medical doctors before taking supplements.

Think I'll pick some ginko the next time I go to the health food store.

Imagine!  All this, just from taking a walk on the Smith College campus.

Have You Ever Seen A Ginkgo Biloba Tree?


LDH said...

That IS a giant of a tree! Informative post and very interesting too!

Mariette said...

Dearest Susan,

Yes, we do have a Ginkgo biloba tree ourselves and the prettiest, most impressive we ever saw was in front of the White House. When we visited there with our foster-daughter from Indonesia, in November of 2004 it was a gorgeous yellow fall-color. It indeed is a very special tree and that's exactly the reason we have one, though we first lost two of them before we finally kept this alive. They are tricky to start off.

Lots of love,


Susan Roux said...

Amazing. I was just reading about antioxidants to counteract dementia. Thanks for the added info and the reminder that I wanted to get some...

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Susan,
The fruit of the female ginko tree IS edible. One grew outside my classroom years ago and when the fruit was ripe and very foul smelling, a little old Vietnamese lady would collect the fruit for days, and carry two basketsfull on a stick across her shoulders. Yep, the kids ate them too, taste sort of like persimmons.

T's Daily Treasures said...

Interesting post Susan. We never really think about where our food sources, where things actually come from, etc. When I saw all the different trees and bushes in Sri Lanka and learned what they were, I was astounded. My friend, Shereen, gave me some ginko tea to try ... since I am always forgetting things. I haven't had any yet but will certainly have some soon (if I can remember :) Today I've had such a headache although I was out and about with friends and getting things done, it was just a nagging pain all day long. I'm off to bed now. Tomorrow, I will send you an email for sure. I won't forget! Best wishes, Tammy

diane stetson said...

I do not take supplements...just my Centrum Silver Woman's multi vitamin everyday which contains lutine or something like that which is also good for macular degeneration.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

I didn't know that ginko biloba was a tree. I'll have to do more research on the supplement.

Susan :)

Chatty Crone said...

I have heard of ginko biloba but I did not know what it was for nor did I know it was a tree. Isn't it amazing how people find out things. I mean who first started using the parts of tress to experiment on people and their ailments.

I think some of those natural suppliments work.

Good night.


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