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Ginkgo is the oldest surviving species of tree and is often referred to as “the living fossil”. Fossil records indicate that it probably originated during the Permian period about 250 million years ago. Because Ginkgo is the only living species of its family speaks of the tree's hardiness. The first green growth to emerge in the city of Hiroshima after the atomic blast was Ginkgo. The properties of Ginkgo were first recorded around 2,800 BC. In Chinese folk medicine the leaf was used to support the respiratory system. Modern day uses of Ginkgo are well established. In Europe it is used extensively to support cognitive function. Ginkgo and its constituents are the subjects of over 400 scientific publications, making it one of the most researched herbal products. Numerous clinical trials have documented Ginkgo's positive effects on cognitive function. Ginkgo has been shown to affect recall, recognition memory, reaction time, attention, concentration, mood, and energy levels. Many diverse actions contribute to the overall effectiveness of Gingko. However, not all of these mechanisms have been elucidated. Actions that possibly contribute to its effectiveness include direct and indirect antioxidant activity, optimal blood flow, and neuroprotective actions. The combined therapeutic effects are probably greater than that of an individual mechanism and are perhaps the result of the synergistic effects of multiple constituents of the total extract.