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Ginkgo Biloba, the Japanese nut tree

Ginkgo Biloba, also known as the Japanese nut tree, is a tree in the Ginkgoaceae family. The species originates from China. The plant is considered a living fossil, because this tree is the only one remaining of the genus Ginkgo and even the only one remaining from the entire Ginkgoaceae family. This tree is probably the oldest living plant species around the world.

The Japanese walnut tree does not grow regularly and in a cone shape. The tree grows to about 40 meters high. In the Netherlands and Belgium cultivation forms are used that are less high. In China and Japan, the Japanese walnut tree has been planted as a temple tree for centuries

The Japanese walnut tree is dioecious, which means that both male and female plants of this species exist. The difference between the sexes can only be seen during the reproductive period. The male trees bear cones and the female trees bear seeds that look like fruits. These seeds give off an unpleasant odor, which is why more male than female trees are planted worldwide.

The name of this tree is not a good name, as “Japanese Nut Tree” is quite misleading. The tree is originally from China; and the tree propagates with seeds, not nuts.


There are two veins through the petiole, giving the leaves of the Ginkgo a fan shape. Due to the two veins in the leaf, the left half of the leaf has a vasculature that is not connected to the right half of the leaf. In the middle of the top edge there is often a notch that makes the leaf bilobed, which is what the name biloba refers to. Before the leaves fall off the tree in autumn, the leaves turn to a yellow color.

The fruits of the Japanese walnut tree are botanically the seeds, but because the skin of the seeds is fleshy, they look like fruits. The seeds have the shape of an apricot with a silver glow. This is also where the name Ginkgo comes from, which means “silver apricot”. When the female seeds fall to the ground in the fall, the seeds begin to rot and the skin falls off, releasing butyric acid. The smell of this is very unpleasant.


In China, the seeds of the Japanese nut tree have been used for thousands of years for respiratory problems, bladder and kidney problems, digestive problems, hearing problems and other ailments. The leaves are used, among other things, to improve blood circulation. Due to the improved blood circulation, the glucose and oxygen levels also increase, so that the herb would have a positive effect on memory loss, dizziness and headaches.


Pour a cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves and let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain the tea and add honey or sugar to taste. Drink a cup of Ginkgo tea 2 to 3 times a day.

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