I just returned from an amazing trip to Louisiana, enjoying time with people who love WishGarden Herbs as much as I do. I met amazingly warm and loving individuals, all of whom were happy to share with me the affection they have for their home. Knowing my love for all things herbal, many folks suggested I visit the "Tree of Life" at the Audubon Park in New Orleans. This amazing Live Oak was breathtaking! I nestled into its trunk and remained safe and dry while a thunderstorm rolled through. There are estimates that the tree is over 600 years old, and as I sat there thinking about the wisdom of a tree that has reached that age, I started to think about other trees that become elders of the forest, such as the Redwood and Ginkgo trees.
Ginkgo biloba, or the Maidenhair Tree, is considered a true living fossil. Some say that the Maidenhair is the oldest living tree species on the planet, and can live to be over 2500 years in age.
MaidenHair Tree in AutumnThis tree is often used as a fine example of the Doctrine of Signatures, which holds that plants that resemble various parts of the body can be used for that part of the body. The Maidenhair tree, for example, is said to support memory and concentration. If you look at the leaf of the plant you will notice something called dichotomous venation, where the veins of the plant are continuously branching off of each other to the outer edges of the leaf. It also has two hemispheres as the name bi-loba suggests. That, and the fact that the Gingko nut looks very similar to an actual miniature brain, explains why this plant has been seen as "brain food" for centuries. Gingko is also an antioxidant and supports healthy circulation and vision and can help soothe symptoms of inner ear disorders.
Gingko Leaf and Nut
Trees such as the Live Oak mentioned above have to have some pretty amazing abilities to weather the changes wrought by time, and the Gingko tree certainly has longevity in its limbs. It is one of few trees that can survive being planted in a very small space with limited soil access, there are few insects that bother it, it has no known disease problems, and it is very resistant to pollution. There lives today Gingko trees that were the only plant life to survive Hiroshima; they were badly burned and damaged, but were thriving again after only a few years. Clearly these elder trees have secrets we would all like to know, and I'm happy that they pass a little bit of their wisdom to us in the form of herbal medicine.
WishGarden Herbs' formulas containing Gigko Biloba: