Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Foxglove: Digitalis

Digitalis has been used from early times in heart cases. It increases the activity of all forms of muscle tissue, but more especially that of the heart and arterioles, the all-important property of the drug being its action on the circulation. The first consequence of its absorption is a contraction of the heart and arteries, causing a very high rise in the blood pressure.44

After the taking of a moderate dose, the pulse is markedly slowed. Digitalis also causes an irregular pulse to become regular. Added to the greater force of cardiac contraction is a permanent tonic contraction of the organ, so that its internal capacity is reduced, which is a beneficial effect in cases of cardiac dilatation, and it improves the nutrition of the heart by increasing the amount of blood.44

In ordinary conditions it takes about twelve hours or more before its effects on the heart muscle is appreciated, and it must thus always be combined with other remedies to tide the patient over this period and never prescribed in large doses at first, as some patients are unable to take it, the drug being apt to cause considerable digestive disturbances, varying in different cases. This action is probably due to the Digitonin, an undesirable constituent.44

The action of the drug on the kidneys is of importance only second to its action on the circulation. In small or moderate doses, it is a powerful diuretic and a valuable remedy in dropsy, especially when this is connected with affections of the heart.44

It has also been employed in the treatment of internal haemorrhage, in inflammatory diseases, in delirium tremens, in epilepsy, in acute mania and various other diseases, with real or supposed benefits.44

The action of Digitalis in all the forms in which it is administered should be carefully watched, and when given over a prolonged period it should be employed with caution, as it is liable to accumulate in the system and to manifest its presence all at once by its poisonous action, indicated by the pulse becoming irregular, the blood-pressure low and gastro-intestinal irritation setting in. The constant use of Digitalis, also, by increasing the activity of the heart, leads to hypertrophy of that organ.44

Digitalis is an excellent antidote in Aconite poisoning, given as a hypodermic injection.44

When Digitalis fails to act on the heart as desired, Lily-of-the-Valley may be substituted and will often be found of service.44

In large doses, the action of Digitalis on the circulation will cause various cerebral symptoms, such as seeing all objects blue, and various other disturbances of the special senses. In cases of poisoning by Digitalis, with a very slow and irregular pulse, the administration of Atropine is generally all that is necessary. In the more severe cases, with the very rapid heart-beat, the stomach pump must be used, and drugs may be used which depress and diminish the irritability of the heart, such as chloral and chloroform.



Sweet wormwood: Artemisia annua

(Also called sweet annie herb) is commonly used for malaria treatment in chinese medicine. Modern medicine has derived the antimalarial drug known as artemisinin from the artemisia plants. Now there are several semi synthetic derivatives of artemisinin [that] are available for the effective treatment of malaria and become part of the prescription drugs.42

Artemisia annua is useful in the management of the fever occurring due to viral and bacterial infections. It is mainly effective against dysentery, common cold, fungal infections, etc. it increases appetite, so [is] used to treat the loss of appetite and other digestive problems. It is widely used for the treatment of skin diseases, especially systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), psoriasis and eczema.

Sea Wormwood: Artemisia maritima

Sea wormwood is not much used in herbal medicine, though it is often used domestically. Its medicinal virtues are similar to wormwood, A. absinthum, though milder in their action. It is used mainly as a tonic to the digestive system, in treating intermittent fevers and as a vermifuge. The leaves and flowering shoots are anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use. The unexpanded floral heads contain the vermicide "santonin".

Goat's rue

Goat’s rue: Galega officinalis

The traditional use of Goat's rue to treat diabetes has been a staple since the middle ages. Goats rue contains an alkaloid, galegine, that was found in clinical trials to decrease blood sugar and insulin resistance. This lead to the development of metformin, which is currently used in the treatment of diabetes.40

Goat’s rue is a widespread herb used by many traditions worldwide. The common name goat's rue stems from the unpleasant smell of the bruised leaves. It was one of the herbs used in Medieval Europe to treat plague victims, and as a vermifuge to treat parasitic worms. Here in North America, native healers considered goat's rue to be an aphrodisiac, a cure for impotence for men, and a healthy tonic.

The active ingredient is known to be guanidine and initially marketed under the trade name Synthalin.  It was guanidine from which the most widely used and cost-effective prescription medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, metformin (Glucophage), was derived

Unfortunately, guanidine compounds have been associated with significant toxicities limiting their further use in clinical practice.  The reported toxicities include kidney and liver damage, hypotension, ataxia, and  seizures.


Valerian: Valeriana officinalis

Valerian is well known for its sedative qualities and its ability to relax the central nervous system and the smooth muscle groups. It has been used as a sleeping aid for hundreds of years especially when there is excitation or difficulty in falling to sleep due to nervousness. Over 120 chemical components are found in valerian and although a very complex herb, it has not been found to have any negative side effects with moderate use.39

It is calming without exerting too sedative an effect and is practically non-addictive. It is a valuable treatment for insomnia, the sedative effect due to the valepotriates and the isovaleric acid.

Marsh Mallow

Marsh Mallow: Althea officinalis

Marshmallow -- the herb, not the white puffy confection roasted over a campfire -- has been used for more than 2,000 years as both a food and a medicine. The Romans, Chinese, Egyptians, and Syrians used marshmallow as a source of food. The Arabs made poultices from its leaves and applied them to the skin to reduce inflammation. Both the root and leaves contain a gummy substance called mucilage. When mixed with water, it forms a slick gel that is used to coat the throat and stomach to reduce irritation. It is also applied topically to soothe chapped skin.38

Few scientific studies have looked at the effects of marshmallow in humans. Most of its suggested uses come from a long history of use in traditional healing systems. However, one recent study confirmed that marshmallow preparations help soothe irritated mucous membranes due to:
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Common cold/sore throat
  • Cough
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach ulcers
Skin inflammation


Lungwort: Pulmonaria

Lungwort, also known as lungwort leaf or Pulmonaria officinalis, is a natural plant that has been used around the world for a variety of respiratory ailments, including coughs, colds, bronchial detoxification and catarrhal problems.36

In the early 1600s, a theory known as the “Doctrine of Signatures” was widely accepted. Essentially the foundation of this practice was that plants resembling certain human physical attributes were believed to be beneficial to the part of the body they resembled. It was during this time that lungwort–which resembles the tissue inside the lungs–was discovered to be an effective remedy for respiratory ailments.36

Over time, the medical accuracy of many “Doctrine of Signatures” based remedies was discredited. However, modern research suggests lungwort has certain traits, specifically as an antioxidant and secretolytic that may be beneficial to lung health.

The plant has also been used in traditional medicine to treat kidney problems and gastro-intestinal ones too- As it has astringent properties it should be a useful agent against diarrhoea. However it is not advised to take the plant internally as it contains pyrrolizidin alkaloids.

St John's wort

St John's wort: Hypericum perforatum

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has a history of use as a medicine dating back to ancient Greece, where it was used for a range of illnesses, including various nervous disorders. St. John's wort also has antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been applied to the skin to help heal wounds and burns. St. John's wort is one of the most commonly purchased herbal products in the United States.

[It] is a flowering plant of the genus Hypericum and has been used as a medicinal herb for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties for over 2,000 years. The Greek physicians of the first century recommended the use of St. John’s wort for its medicinal value, and the ancients believed that the plant had mystical and protective qualities.35

St. John’s wort uses, dating back to the ancient Greeks, included treatment for illnesses such as various nervous or mood disorders. Scientists believe it’s native to Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, and the Western United States. St. John’s wort was given its name because it blooms around June 24, the birthday of John the Baptist, and the word “wort” is an old English word for plant.35

St. John’s wort is most commonly used to naturally remedy depression and symptoms, such as anxiety, tiredness, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. It’s also used to treat heart palpitations, moodiness, the symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and symptoms of menopause.


Artichoke Thistle: Cynara cardunculus

[A Roman scholar, Pliny,] says that they were cultivated for their medicinal value, and the leaves in particular have been used in traditional medicine for chronic liver and gall bladder diseases, jaundice, hepatitis, arteriosclerosis, late-onset diabetes in its early stages and as a diuretic as well as a digestive aid. They can help disperse stones in the internal organs and are believed to be good for rheumatism. The Romans used to eat the stalks in salads, and even today the Italians sometimes eat them after boiling by just dipping them in olive oil.

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace: Daucus carota

Queen Anne’s Lace is a flowering biennial plant in the Apiaceae family. Originating in temperate regions of Europe and southwest Asia it has since been naturalized to North America and Australia. The root of Queen Anne’s Lace is thick and resembles a carrot.32

Traditionally, tea made from the root of Queen Anne’s Lace has been used as diuretic to prevent and eliminate kidney stones, and to rid individuals of worms. Its seeds have been used for centuries as a contraceptive; they were prescribed by physicians as an abortifacient, a sort of “morning after” pill. The seeds have also been used as a remedy for hangovers, and the leaves and seeds are both used to settle the gastrointestinal system. It is still used by some women today as a contraceptive; a teaspoon of seeds are thoroughly chewed, swallowed and washed down with water or juice starting just before ovulation, during ovulation, and for one week thereafter. Grated wild carrot can be used for healing external wounds and internal ulcers. The thick sap is used as a remedy for cough and congestion. The root of Queen Anne’s Lace can be eaten as a vegetable just like carrot.32

Queen Anne’s Lace looks like no other flower; without the showy white umbrella of florets, the leaves of the plant look like those of the domestic carrot and a pair of deadly relatives, poison Hemlock and Fool’s Parsley. Caution must be used to distinguish Wild Carrot from her close cousins.


Yew: Taxus baccata

The Pacific Yew is small tree found primarily in the northwestern coastal forests of North America. The native peoples used its needles and twigs to brew teas for a wide range of ailments including cancer. Traditional healers were careful with the tree as it was well known how toxic the plant could be in the wrong hands. The seeds, although an edible berry for wildlife, act as a deadly killer for humans.

Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut:  Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse chestnut is a tree native to the Balkan Peninsula but found throughout the northern hemisphere. Horse chestnut seeds, leaves, bark, and flowers have been used for centuries to help relieve an array of health problems. Horse chestnut seed has a place in European phytotherapy and is used to address vascular issues. A tea made from horse chestnut is a staple of Turkish folk medicine and used to relieve an upset stomach and pass kidney stones; they also use the seeds to alleviate hemorrhoid symptoms.


Gum Trees: Eucalyptus

Today, oil from the eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus) appears in many over-the-counter cough and cold products to relieve congestion. Eucalyptus oil is also used in creams and ointments to relieve muscle and joint pain, and in some mouthwashes.26

In its native Australia, the eucalyptus tree is the main food for koalas. It has been used in the past as an antiseptic to kill germs. The oil was used in traditional Aboriginal medicines to heal wounds and fungal infections. Teas made of eucalyptus leaves were also used to reduce fevers. Eucalyptus was soon used in other traditional medicine systems, including Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic), and Greek and European.26

In 19th century England, eucalyptus oil was used in hospitals to clean urinary catheters. Laboratory studies later showed that eucalyptus oil contains substances that kill bacteria. It also may kill some viruses and fungi. Studies in animals and test tubes show that eucalyptus oil acts as an expectorant, meaning it helps coughs by loosening phlegm.

Native of Australia, where it was regarded as a general ‘cure-all’ by the Aborigines, there are over 300 species and 700 varieties of Eucalyptus.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eucalyptus is an exceptional remedy for clearing lung-phlegm and wind-heat. It is classified as a tonic of the lung Qi and it’s used to enhance the breathing function thus making it beneficial during the onset of flu or fever, sore throat, the common cold, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Various modes of application include topical such as massage, compress, bath, and skin care as well as direct inhalation, diffuser, and vaporizer.



Ayahuasca, also commonly called yagé, is an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leaf. The brew is used as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the Indigenous peoples of Amazonia.

[Chris Kilham believes that] True healing puts into order the body, mind and spirit with the past, present and future. Ayahuasca, a psychoactive potion indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, and the only combinatory vision-inducing agent in the world. Made from the vine Banisteriopsis caapi (often called caapi) and the leaf [of] Psychotria viridis, (known as chakruna) ayahuasca is both a portal to the spirit world, and an enigma that has baffled scientists and anthropologists for centuries.25

Ayahuasca, traditionally administered in special healing ceremonies by highly trained shamans known as ayahuasceros, is sometimes referred to as a hallucinogen.
While ayahuasca ceremonies vary from one shaman to another and from one tribal tradition to the next, certain features remain constant. A true ayahuasca ceremony brings together the ayahuasca brew, the shaman(s), and the plant spirits. This triune force engages in ceremony to effect healing, and to open up the doors of the spirit world to the participant. Typically an ounce or two of the brew is drunk. The ayahuasca brew is intensely bitter, and the taste is unpleasant, even for those who are experienced drinkers.
In some ceremonies, the shaman(s) sit quietly with the participants in the dark for about forty-five minutes or so, as the effects of the ayahuasca start to come on. However, some shamans begin to sing and make ethereal whistling sounds as soon as the brew has been drunk. Some shamans wave chacapas - noisy leaf fans – and others do not. It is typical and common for the shaman to blow smoke of potent Amazonian tobacco (called mapacho) on participants, to cleanse the atmosphere and to establish an aura of protection. Within about an hour after drinking the brew, visions usually commence. There is a geometry common to the ayahuasca experience, and this geometry is beautifully represented in the textiles and ceramics of the Shipibo native people of Peru. Most people who journey with ayahuasca see that geometry. As the visions increase, the shaman(s) sing healing spirit songs known as icaros.25

“Ayahuasca is the greatest of enigmas. How, in a forest of at least eighty-thousand plants, did anybody figure out to use one particular species of vine and one leaf, cooked down into a concentrated psychoactive potion? The very notion of trial and error falls apart. Shamans uniformly insist that the plants communicate their uses directly.” - Chris Kilham, Ode Magazine25

There are many thousands of cases in which people have been healed of physical, mental and emotional disorders, and many curious cases of recovery from grave and even fatal disorders. There is much to investigate about the healing properties of ayahuasca. A large number of people have been cured of addictions through a few ayahuasca ceremonies, and the cases of post-ayahuasca cancer remission are too numerous to ignore.25

Purging is typical and common in the ayahuasca ceremony. Most participants throw up at some point in ceremony. Some also get diarrhea. The cleansing effects of ayahuasca are well known, and are just part of the ceremony. For most participants, purging is a relief. Typically the purging does not last long, and the ayahuasca experience becomes stronger afterward.25

People see and experience all kinds of phenomena while on an ayahuasca journey. You may see deceased relatives, spirits of every kind, vast landscapes of natural or manufactured forms, animals, insects, serpents, birds, and various creatures of nature. And as you engage in ceremonies over time, you start to learn to negotiate the spirit landscape, and to enlist the aid of certain spirits for your own healing and spiritual awakening.

The vine Banisteriopsis caapi, also known as “the vine of the soul,” contains a group of compounds called harmala alkaloids. These compounds are MAO inhibitors. They prevent the activity of naturally-occurring agents in our bodies called monoamine oxidase. Think of MAO’s as doormen standing in front of the nightclub of your brain. Psychoactive compounds, notably the potent vision-inducing agent DMT, want to get into the club and attach themselves to your brain’s receptors. But the MAO doormen prevent this from happening. The harmala alkaloids in Banisteriopsis caapi, however, tell the doormen to take a nice log coffee break. They do. That’s when the Psychotria viridis, rich in DMT (N,N Dimethyl Tryptamine), comes into play. DMT is the most potent vision-inducing agent known. And oddly, DMT is not only found in many hundreds of plants all around the world, but it is also manufactured in our own bodies. But thanks to MAO’s, we do not trip on DMT all day long.25

DMT is not orally active. You can eat a handful of DMT, and nothing will happen. But if you consume an MAO inhibitor, then the DMT will in fact be orally active. So the enigma of ayahuasca is that somehow, by some means, some native person(s) a long time ago figured out to combine harmala alkaloid-rich caapi vine with DMT-rich chacruna.25


Yam: Dioscorea villosa

In the 18th and 19th centuries, herbalists used wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) to treat menstrual cramps and problems related to childbirth, as well as for upset stomach and coughs. In the 1950s, scientists discovered that the roots of wild yam -- not to be confused with the sweet potato yam -- contain diosgenin. Diosgenin is a phytoestrogen, or plant-based estrogen, that can be chemically converted into a hormone called progesterone. Diosgenin was used to make the first birth control pills in the 1960s.18

Early Americans used wild yam to treat colic, a reason for another name for the plant, colic root. Traditionally, it has been used to treat inflammation, muscle spasms, and a range of disorders, including asthma. However, there is no scientific evidence that it works. Several studies show wild yam has powerful antifungal properties and may help fight yeast and other fungal infections.18

Although herbalists continue to use wild yam to treat menstrual cramps, nausea and morning sickness, inflammation, osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms, and other health conditions, there's no evidence to show it works for these uses. Several studies have found that it has no effect at all. That is because the body cannot change diosgenin into progesterone; it has to be done in a lab. Wild yam, by itself, does not contain progesterone.

Chinese yam, also known as Dioscorea opposita or Shan Yao in Pinyin, has long been used as a congenital and acquired tonic, earning it the name “fairy food.” Among all cooking methods, stir-fried thick yam slices and yam stew are the most common practices. Well, what is Chinese yam good for? From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese wild yam is credited with tons of health benefits since it is good at tonifying kidney and spleen. [Traditional Chinese Medicine] believes that the kidney is the congenital origin and in charge of heredity and fertility while the spleen is the acquired foundation and responsible for digestion and absorption, which thus is the main source of body’s nutrition. So to speak, it benefits both the root of innate and acquired constitution, which is quite rare in dietary therapy.

Wild yam was used as a medicinal herb by the Mayans as the Aztecs, possibly as a pain treatment. In North America, the herb is known by the English common names “colic Root” and “rheumatism Root”, suggesting that the Native Americans and the first European settlers primarily used it as a remedy for colic and gout.

Dioscorea strydomiana is a recently discovered yam from South Africa. It is critically endangered and one of the most unusual yam species anywhere in the world.21

Only two populations totaling about 200 plants are known in the wild. This species is believed to provide a cure for cancer in the region where it grows, and is consequently under threat from over-exploitation by medicinal plant collectors, who remove parts of the tubers.21

Dioscorea strydomiana is used locally with another species of Dioscorea to treat cancer. Its efficacy is unknown. The related species D. elephantipes and D. sylvatica are known to contain high levels of steroidal compounds which can be used to reduce inflammation, for example in the treatment of arthritis or for the promotion of healing.

Dioscorea composita or barbasco is a species of yam in the genus Dioscorea, native to Mexico.
Before becoming used industrially the tuber was used by Chinantec healers in northern Oaxaca as an abortifacient and in cures for aching joints. It was also used by chinantecs as a poison for fishing in the Papaloapan river, and is also mentioned in use for this purpose in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the K'iche maya.

Native American Indians used Wild Yam for colic and also to relieve the pain of childbirth. Traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo) used Wild Yam for many centuries to treat infertility.


Birthwort: Aristolochia

For centuries, birthwort has been used in traditional medicine in China (and ancient Greece before that) to treat arthritis and ease childbirth, among other conditions. (The flower is shaped like a uterus.) Today aristolochic acid is found in supplements for weight loss, menstrual symptoms, and rheumatism. It’s widely used in Asia, where it’s added to medicinal wine, ointments, and diet pills. One study found that between 1997 and 2003, fully one-third of Taiwanese were prescribed birthwort supplements by a Chinese medicine practitioner.

[The use of birthwort is] One of the best examples of the problems arising from the belief that the look of a plant determined its use medicinally[(because it is shaped like a uterus, it was assumed that it could help with childbirth amongst other related things)]. May have been responsible for many thousands of deaths since, at least, Roman times. Its poisonous component, aristolochic acid, continues to kill as a result of upper urinary tract cancers resulting from its use in Chinese medicine.

Madagascar Periwinkle

Madagascar Periwinkle: Catharanthus roseus

In traditional medicine, Madagascar periwinkle has been used to treat a variety of ailments in Madagascar as well as in other parts of the world where the plant has naturalised.

Whilst researching the anti-diabetic properties of the plant in the 1950s, scientists discovered the presence of several highly toxic alkaloids in its tissues. These alkaloids are now used in the treatment of a number of different types of cancer, with one derived compound, called vincristine, having been credited with raising the survival rate in childhood leukaemia from less than 10% in 1960 to over 90% today. Powerful medicinal plants such as the Madagascar periwinkle remind us of the need to conserve and study the increasingly threatened plant habitats of the world.

Long before modern researcher learned of the plant's valuable and varied properties, people in faraway places were using the Madagascar periwinkle for a host of medicinal purposes.
  • In India, they treated wasp sting with the juice from the leaves.In Hawai'i they prescribed an extract of the boiled plant to arrest bleeding.
  • In Central America and parts of South America, they made a gargle to ease soar throats and chest ailments and laryngitis.
  • In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other islands, an extract of the flower was commonly administered as an eyewash for the eyes of infants.
  • In Africa, leaves are used for menorrhagia and rheumatism.
  • Surinamese boil ten leaves and ten flowers together for diabetes.
  • Bahamians take flower decoction for asthma and flatulence, and the entire plant for tuberculosis.
  • In Mauritius, the leaves infusion s given for dyspepsia and indigestion.
  • In Vietnam, it is taken for diabetes and malaria.
  • Curacao and Bermuda natives take the plant for high blood pressure.
  • Indochinese use the stalks and leaves for dysmenorrhea.
(Duke,J.A.Handbook of Medicinal Herbs.1985;Magic and Medicine of Plants.1993).



In the tropical regions of West Africa, traditional herbal medicine practitioners have discovered numerous uses of strophanthus. They prepare a massaging compound with the leaves of this plant to alleviate fevers. They also crush the leaves and apply them externally to the affected areas to heal wounds, skin ulcerations and parasites, while a decoction prepared from the leaves is used as a medication to treat the sexually transmitted disease (STD) gonorrhoea. However, a substance obtained from strophanthus seeds called ouabain is the most widely used product of this plant by the natives of West Africa. This toxic substance is employed as a source of arrow venom, used for hunting as well as in combats. Interestingly enough, the use of ouabain by the natives drew the attention of the Western science towards this herb.15

Way back in 1861, renowned explorer and missionary Dr. David Livingstone had noticed the natives of tropical West Africa hunting with a poison arrow that had been created from the seeds of an intimately related plant - a genuine vine known as S. Kombe. Afterwards, he provided details of the substance saying that it was a supposed stimulant for the heart. This report prompted the scientists to undertake studies on several comparable species, among which S. gratus proved to be of utmost value.15

It may be noted that the fast action of ouabain is the foremost quality of this natural chemical which differentiates it from other slow-acting, digitalis-type of cardiac stimulants. In addition, while digitalis constricts the peripheral blood vessels, ouabain does not do this. Nevertheless, there are dangers of using ouabain too. For instance, it is not possible to administer this medication orally, but it needs to be administered in the form of an injection in small and cautiously measured doses. In addition, ouabain cannot be administered to any patient who has endured a heart attack lately. Also, ouabain cannot be given to any patient who has taken digitalis within a week. Despite such constrictions, ouabain is still an extremely important medication for treating heart ailments as well as to cure low blood pressure (hypotension) due to administration of anaesthesia medicaments prior to undergoing a surgery.

Ginkgo Biloba

Maidenhair Tree: Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba has a long history of cultural importance in Asia. Confucius was said to have given his teaching whilst sitting under a ginkgo tree, which is one of the reasons the species is revered in Chinese tradition.10

Ginkgo biloba has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries. Today, it is also cultivated for use in Western medicine. The leaves are used in herbal remedies for cognitive complaints, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and vertigo. The phytochemistry and bioactivity of Ginkgo biloba have been the subject of extensive research.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species. It is also one of the best-selling herbal supplements in the United States and Europe.11

Ginkgo has a long history of use in treating blood disorders and memory issues. It is best known today as way to potentially keep your memory sharp. Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky. It is also an antioxidant.

The healing traditions of the ginkgo were recorded from thousands of years ago when the seeds were used in medicinal preparations to strengthen the kidneys, improve digestion, and help strengthen people who were recovering from many kinds of illnesses. The seeds were often added to popular dishes, considered both delicious and healing.