Herb Guide: G - I

Ginkgo, Horse Chestnut




(Ginkgo biloba)

Member of the ginkgoaceae (ginkgo) family

Common names: maidenhair tree, yin-hsing, bao gou (female seeds)

Ginkgo is the only surviving member of the oldest, living tree species on our planet. It dates back to the Paleozoic period. That's more than 225 million years ago! Amazing! This tree must have some really great survival skills.

This herb is widely researched. It increases blood circulation to both the brain and the extremities. Thereby, sharpening mental clarity, warming cold hands and feet, and reducing pain in the the bodies limbs.

Ginkgo is often used to treat the elderly; as it provides support to all of the organs that decline with age. It benefits the eyes (particularly issues related to capillary function), the brain, blood vessels, and the cardiovascular system.

Anyone over 50 years old, even in good health, may want to consider a daily supplement of ginkgo. It is simply good preventative medicine!

Ginkgo is packed full of anti-inflammatories and antihistamines; making it an irreplaceable treatment for both allergies and asthma.

This herb is generally considered safe.

The recommended daily dose of ginkgo is 120 milligrams. Do not exceed this dose; as it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Ginkgo should not be taken with some other medications, these include; blood thinners, MAO inhibitors, and non steroidal anti-inflammatories.


(Aesculus hippocastanum)

Member of the hippocastanaceae family

Common names: Spanish chestnut, chestnut, escine, aescin, buckeye

In days gone by, every part of this beautiful tree was put to use medicinally. This is no longer advised. Some still believe, that if this herb is used under the supervision of a physician, it can be taken internally. I wouldn't risk it.

However, an extract from the seeds of the horse chestnut tree, are amazingly effective as a treatment for hemorrhoids.

Studies have shown horse chestnut seed extracts to be as effective as any other known treatment for varicose veins.

Horse chestnut creams cannot be purchased in the U.S.; as they are not approved by the FDA. They are, however, commonly found in Europe.

Modern herbalists use them to treat sprains, painful joints, and bruising.


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