Using Leaves from a Ginkgo Tree
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Barb
Posted on: March 30, 2002

How do you get from the Ginkgo tree in the backyard to the tablet you purchase in the store? I am thinking of getting a tree and using it for my own treatment and I would like to find out how. I don’t want to make pills or anything but I know you dry, steep etc. leaves of some herbs to use.

Typically, the ginkgo tablets or capsules sold in the stores are standardized to a certain set level of flavonoid glycosides, the presumed active constituents of the herb. To standardize ginkgo the leaf is extracted and then the tablets or capsules are made with the extract.

But there is no reason why the raw leaf can’t be used also. It can be used in the fresh or dried forms. Dr. Jim Duke, in his book, "The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook" (available from Richters), says that a daily dose of three 40 mg capsules standardized at 24% flavonoid glycosides is equivalent to 1-2 tablespoons of fresh ginkgo leaf.

In a cautionary note, Dr. Duke writes that side effects from ginkgo are rare and mild but can include diarrhea, skin reaction, upset stomach, headache, or insomnia. Because ginkgo is a blood thinner it should be taken with care if you have a blood clotting disorder or if are taking blood thinning medication.

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