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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Ginkgo Biloba: The Chemistry behind the Ancient Medicinal Plant

The Ginkgo biloba extract is a dried leaf extract extracted from the Ginkgo species. Flavonoids and terpene lactones are the main components and have a range of health roles. It is commonly used in cosmetics and food. Ginkgo biloba leaf originated in China as a medicinal plant, and it is commonly known as maidenhair. 

The Chemical composition of Ginkgo Biloba leaf:

The Ginkgo biloba leaf has a complex chemical structure. People have found out more than 140 forms of compounds from it. Flavonoids and terpene lactones are the two major functional elements. Ginkgo extract flavonoid is also known as a single flavonoid, specifically as the glycosidase form of isorhamnetin, quercetin, and kaempferol. Ginkgolides belongs to the terpene, consisting of abundant terpene lactones and diterpene lactones, mostly ginkgo esters and ginkgolides. 

ginkgo leafHowever, it is difficult for people who do not understand chemistry to figure out what those major components do. Ginkgo biloba has a lot of benefits, which mainly include blood circulation and stress relief. However, we need to know the different plant sources from which ginkgo Biloba extracts are available. 

Sources of plants from which ginkgo Biloba extracts are available:

Ginkgo leaf has a variety of sources from where it can get extracted. Ginkgo biloba is a relic genus of ancient and primitive larvae. It has been developing as a “living fossil” on earth for around 200 million years. China is the hometown of a ginkgo leaf, with 70% of the world accounted for by existing Chinese ginkgo Biloba leaf wealth. Ginkgo biloba extract is a Chinese herbal medicine folk use, first appeared among people in the fourteenth century, and primarily used to treat cough, asthma, and inflammation

ginkgo bilobaGinkgo biloba is deciduous trees as high as 40 m, also known as duck feet or maidenhair tree.  It has an upright trunk, and the bark is grey. It has short and long branches, with short branches clustering on the leaves and long branches alternating. The name of the ginkgo Biloba seed is “Baguio”. The leaves are almost 4 to 10 centimeters wide. 

Ginkgo biloba trees can be found at a temperature of around 14 ° C ~ 18 ° C. it does not do well in colder temperatures where it is more prone to damage. Ginkgo biloba trees can be found widely distributed in China. Regions of Liaoning, Guangdong, Taiwan, and Qinghai are populated with the Ginkgo biloba tree.  Gingko Biloba leaf is also found in Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang, and Hubei provinces. Japan and the United States have also introduced Gingko Biloba leaf in their country and started planting them. 

Ginkgo biloba extracts: how is it sourced from the main tree?

There are many ways in which ginkgo Biloba extracts are sourced from the ginkgo Biloba leaf. The several ways that we know of are mainly-

  • Ethanol extraction and resin separation are mainly the most common way to separateginkgo biloba extract ginkgo Biloba extracts from the leaf. The leaves are made free of impurities and then put through various chemical processes to extract the main component of the Ginkgo Biloba leaf
  • Lead hydroxide precipitation with acetone is another process where the ginkgo Biloba leaf is used in conjunction with acetone and put through several chemical processes to extract the end product. 

Ginkgo biloba uses, and its side effects are also many. Therefore it is always advised to consult a doctor before one inculcates into their routine. Ginkgo biloba leaf extracts are widely used in many industries, and much more research is needed in this area. 



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Aurora Chowdhury
Aurora Chowdhury is a Business Psychology Graduate from Kingston University, London. She has expertise in domains like Business Psychology, Management, Strategic Management, and Business Strategy. She has a growth mindset and strongly believes in perseverance. She regularly writes for various websites and also conducts counselling sessions.

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