plantmate of the month: miss april

This month, we’re spotlighting the daddy of the medical ethnobotany world. The oldest tree in the world, this ancient plant once coexisted with dinosaurs and presently has a lifespan of over one thousand years. Medicinally, it has been used by humans since 1505 A.D. If you’ve ever stepped foot near an apothecary store or walked down a street in NYC, you’re bound to have come across the magical, mysterious Ginkgo biloba.

A symbol of longevity, the Chinese have traditionally used Gingko to treat various diseases, including physiological and psychological disorders. However, Ginkgo’s modern rise to fame came after it first became commercialized in France in 1974 to improve memory function, later becoming one of the world’s best-selling herbal remedies.

So, what is Ginkgo used for today? And should you try it?

Ginkgo biloba is still promoted as a treatment for a wide range of medicinal uses. Some of the conditions it is used for include Reynaud’s phenomenon, dementia, Alzheimer’s, allergies, anxiety, and eye problems, to name a few. However, the results in clinical trials have been mixed and largely inconclusive. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is a small amount of evidence that suggests Ginkgo has beneficial qualities for the following diseases: anxiety, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, peripheral artery disease, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), schizophrenia, and vertigo.

Take note that Ginkgo may also interact with any medicines that you are currently taking, so if you are taking other treatments, be sure to double-check that no negative interactions will result from its use. It also may be unsafe during pregnancy. Furthermore, Ginkgo seeds’ skins contain toxins, so it’s never a good idea to eat it unprocessed.

To summarize, Ginkgo does it all. PMS? Gingko can help with that. Memory improvement? Yup. Circulation? You bet. No matter what you need, it’s likely one of Miss April’s uses. 

Nothing’s sexier than all-around support. And in terms of availability, you’re likely to find Miss April at just about any grocery store near you.

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