- The Ancient and Mystical Ginkgo Leaf
- Chinese Herbology and Ginkgo
- Natural Antidepressant Properties
- Supporting Research
- Other Health Benefits
- Where to Purchase Ginkgo Leaf
- Preservation Efforts
- More reading:
The Ancient and Mystical Ginkgo Leaf
As I was browsing the aisles of my local Indian herbal store called Alive Herbals, I came across a small bag with leaves and was curious about its taste. Intrigued, I purchased a small bag with a couple other herbs I’ll write about them soon enough. At home I began to research this fascinating plant. In this article, I will share with you what I learned about the Ginkgo leaf, including its history, natural antidepressant properties, and other health benefits.
Below a picture I took of the Ginkgo Biloba in my neighborhood during the fall season.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in natural remedies for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. One such remedy is the Ginkgo leaf, which has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is now gaining attention for its natural antidepressant properties. This ancient and mystical treasure has been revered for its many health benefits, including its ability to promote cognitive function, boost immunity, and even improve skin health.
Chinese Herbology and Ginkgo
The use of herbs in traditional Chinese medicine can be traced back to ancient times. The first traditionally recognized herbalist in Chinese history is Shénnóng, who is depicted on the banner of “Humble Tea Leaf” as he is believed to have discovered tea. Ginkgo has been used in Chinese herbology for centuries and is considered a “cooling” herb that is believed to benefit the lungs and brain. It has been used to treat a variety of health conditions, including respiratory issues, memory loss, and poor circulation. I am no medical expert but if you’re curious and look for an MD who also practices Chinese medicine, I can recommend Dr. Jingduan Yang based in New York.
Natural Antidepressant Properties
Ginkgo leaves contain compounds that are believed to have natural antidepressant properties. These compounds, such as ginkgolides and bilobalide, have been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, improve neurotransmitter function, and reduce inflammation. These effects can help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as low mood, fatigue, and poor concentration.
Several studies have investigated the antidepressant effects of Ginkgo leaf extract. A 2018 systematic review of 21 randomized controlled trials found that Ginkgo extract was more effective than a placebo in improving symptoms of depression. Another study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that Ginkgo extract improved symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. (I link all the studies at the end of the article under “More Reading”)
Other Health Benefits
In addition to its natural antidepressant properties, the Ginkgo leaf has a range of other health benefits. It has been shown to improve cognitive function, boost immunity, and even protect against age-related cognitive decline. Ginkgo leaves also contain compounds that have been shown to improve skin health by protecting against oxidative stress and promoting collagen production.
Where to Purchase Ginkgo Leaf
Ginkgo leaf extract can be purchased at health food stores and online retailers. Check out my local health store I mentioned at the beginning, they also have an online store. When purchasing Ginkgo leaf extract, it is important to look for a high-quality product from a reputable manufacturer. Look for products that are standardized to contain a specific amount of active compounds, such as ginkgolides and bilobalide. It is also important to follow the recommended dosage on the label or as prescribed by a healthcare practitioner.
According to the Mountain Rose Herbs: “In the U.S. it has been one of the ten best selling herbs for more than 5 years and a standardized extract of ginkgo leaf is presently one of the most frequently used plant-based remedies in Europe”.
Despite its many benefits, the Ginkgo tree is now an endangered species. Habitat destruction and climate change have taken a toll on this ancient tree species, and efforts are being made to preserve it. In China, there are ancient Ginkgo Biloba trees that are over 1,000 years old, and they are protected by the government. Efforts are also being made to cultivate Ginkgo trees in other parts of the world to preserve their genetic diversity and ensure their survival.
In conclusion, the Ginkgo leaf is an ancient and mystical treasure that has been used for centuries for its natural antidepressant properties and many other health benefits. As more research is conducted on the effects of Ginkgo extract on mental health, it is becoming increasingly clear that this natural remedy has the potential to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s important to remember the ancient and mystical properties of the Ginkgo leaf and to cherish this unique treasure of nature as efforts are made to preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
Studies specifically investigating the effects of Ginkgo leaf extract on depression and anxiety. Here are the links to some of these studies as well as articles of interest:
- A 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research investigated the effects of Ginkgo leaf extract on individuals with major depressive disorder: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395613001487
- Another 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology investigated the effects of Ginkgo leaf extract on individuals with generalized anxiety disorder: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0269881112464827
- A 2015 study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine investigated the effects of Ginkgo leaf extract on individuals with mild cognitive impairment and depression: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411015000329
- This article explores the unique gene activity of the Ginkgo tree, which may explain its longevity and evolutionary distinctiveness: https://massivesci.com/articles/gingko-tree-longevity-gene-activity-evolutionarily-unique/