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Gingko Leaf Tisane

September 06, 2007

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Gingko Leaves Yesterday’s scientific experiment was a determination of whether gingko tea could eliminate headaches. I had both a headache and a tin of Tao of Tea’s 100% organic gingko tisane at hand, so it was the optimal time to test my theory. Gingko has properties that act on the brain – the opening up of blood vessels is the primary of its effects – and it is reputed to be a remedy for headaches and migraines. It also has been known to cause migraines, which is not surprising, but an indication of what parts of the body its properties act upon.

The tisane is entirely gingko leaves – unrolled, unprocessed, just dried. The brew has a kind of strange, slightly bitter taste, but it is not unpleasant. It is not a terribly strong flavor, but it is interesting. The effect that I experienced was one of a slight increase in mental clarity. This is not a stimulant feel, like caffeine, but more like what I can only think to call an “openness” inside the head. I did find that the headache I had been trying to eliminate was largely gone after 2-3 cups, but it seemed that this particular method of ingesting gingko is not concentrated enough to have a dramatically marked effect physiologically. Capsules of concentrated gingko are much more noticeable in their effect on the body.

Tao of Tea’s description

Introduction: The Chinese name for Ginkgo, ‘Yinxing’, means ‘Silver Apricot’ and refers to the appearance of the fruit. Ginkgo biloba is the world’s oldest living tree species, and is indigenous to China, Japan and Korea. The trees are deciduous with a lifespan as long as 1,000 years.

A Unique Tree: The Ginkgo has no close relatives in the plant kingdom. It is so unique it is classified in its own division, the ‘Ginkgophyta’ with just one species.

Since 2800 B.C.: The medicinal use of Gingko biloba has been traced back to the oldest Chinese materia medica in 2800 B.C. In the western world, gingko leaf has been used since the 1960s. It is believed to improve circulation and blood flow to the brain.

Flavor Profile: A pale brew yet well rounded flavor. Autumnal, woodsy aroma with a lingering, herbaceous taste.

Here is a source with respectable scientific information on the medicinal properties of the gingko tree, quoted below:

Ginkgo has been used in traditional medicine to treat circulatory disorders and enhance memory. Scientific studies throughout the years lend support to these traditional uses. Emerging evidence suggests that GBE may be particularly effective in treating ailments associated with decreased blood flow to the brain, particularly in elderly individuals. Laboratory studies have shown that GBE improves blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of blood platelets.

I would love to have a little bonsai gingko forest in my garden. Bonsai Boy sells the beautiful Gingko bonsai pictured below.

Bonsai Gingko Tree

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