An ode to this beautiful tree which is the star of my homegrown garden, standing proud in the middle of the edible lawn, she gracefully sheds her golden leaves each winter, littering the ground with her iconic & uniquely shaped leaves.
Ginkgo biloba is the sole remaining survivor of the oldest known tree genus, Ginkgoaceae, with leaves found fossilized in prehistoric rock dating back to the Permian period over 250 million years ago. This really is a plant containing years of memories.
Referred to as yín xìng in Chinese medicine, the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree have long been used by herbalists for their effects as a brain tonic, improving memory and the ability to concentrate. It's also long been used to relieve asthma, lung congestion, increase sexual energy and promote general longevity.
It's one of the best herbs for the circulatory system, serving as a cardiac tonic, increasing the strength of arterial walls. It's used for promoting blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body therefore helping all organs that have a rich blood supply including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and spleen.
Ginkgo is an antioxidant useful against free radicals, substances that damage cellular health and accelerate aging.
Ginkgo is an adaptogen, which helps to increase your body's resistance to both mental and physical stress.
Acting as a natural anti-depressant, it helps to uplift ones mood, alleviate anxiety and tends to encourage a general sense of well being.
The easiest way to consume Ginkgo is to use the fresh leaves in an infusion. Pick them when they are still green but about to turn yellow (so you will need to wait until next Autumn). They have a mild green/grassy like flavor, I like to combine them with ginger or lemongrass to give a bit of flavor.
I really did buy my house because of this tree. When I first came to view the property I stood on the driveway for most of the 'open home' just gazing at this tree in awe. I decided right then & there that this was my new home. After exploring the garden thoroughly & envisioning many hours spent gardening there, I took a quick peek at the house, which ticked enough boxes. I have no regrets, I still cherish this tree daily, for her stunning golden show in the depths of winter, the abundant shade which she graces us with in Summer. The kids climb her daily, and the acrobatic silk hangs from her branches. We sip her medicine all year round, both internally, and by spending time together.
When the leaves fall in June & July I rake them all up to mulch my garden borders, they break down over winter keeping the soil warm and feeding the subsoil with nutrient rich compost.