Names: maidenhair tree; Icho, Ityo, Pai Kuo, Yin Hsing, Yin Kuo, ying xing, hai guo
Properties: seed: astringent, expectorant, sedative, antitussive, Antiasthmatic; Antibacterial; Antifungal; Digestive; Infertility; Ophthalmic; Tonic; Vermifuge; Root: tonic; astringent.
History: The ginkgo is the world’s oldest living tree species dating to the Permian period, 200 million years ago. No one knows when ginkgos last grew wild, but for centuries, Chinese monks have grown ginkgo as a sacred tree and are credited with keeping the tree in existence. It was first brought to Europe around 1730, and its interesting leaves made ginkgo a cultivated favorite. The name come from the Chinese yin-hing, meaning “silver apricot,” and refers to the resemblance of the orange fruits to miniature apricots. The leaves look like maidenhair fern leaves, giving it another name, the maidenhair tree.