Ginkgo leaf is a relatively new herbal medicine, used in China only since the fifteenth century. The leaves were traditionally used for 'benefiting the brain', treatment of lung disorders, relief of cough and asthma symptoms, and diarrhea. The leaf tea was applied externally to treat sores of the skin and remove freckles.
Ginkgo leaf extracts are among the better-selling herbal medicines in Europe. Most research has focused on the use of the complex extracts to increase circulation to the extremities as well as the brain, especially in the elderly. Ginkgo extract has also been studied for the treatment of ringing in the ears (tinnitus), male impotence, degenerative nerve conditions such as multiple sclerosis, and other diseases. It has shown potential to relieve difficulties with short-term memory, attention span, and mood in early stages of Alzheimer's disease by improving oxygen metabolism in the brain.
An important effect of ginkgo is its strong antioxidant activity. With its ability to 'scavenge' reactive oxygen forms known as free radicals, ginkgo leaf extract directs antioxidant effects to the brain, central nervous system, and cardiovascular system. This is one of the mechanisms that make it promising in treatment of age-related declines of brain function.
Add loose tea (1 to 2 teaspoons per cup, 250ml) to a teapot, or infuser basket. Pour very hot water (not boiling) over the tea and let it infuse for up to 3 to 5 minutes. Strain leaves from the teapot before pouring. Add honey or a slice of lemon to taste. Enjoy!
Seek professional health advice if pregnant, lactating, suffering from a medical condition or taking medication before supplementing.