A traditional Chinese herb dedicated for coughs and combating aging, Ginkgo nuts, or Bai Guo, are one of the most popular and famous supplemental options. Thanks for the renowned title of anti-aging herb, it was long ago chosen as a royal tribute in Song Dynasty. It consists of outer fleshy seed coat, middle sclerotin seed coat, internal membranous seed coat, and kernel. As for methods of preparing gingko nuts, there are many excellent options out there, such as frying, roasting, boiling, accessories to main ingredients, cookie, preserved fruit, can, beverage, and liquor, etc.
What are ginkgo nuts?
Actually they refer to the seeds of ginkgo tree, also known as Ginkgo biloba in Latin and Yin Xing in Chinese. This is one of rare Deciduous Trees with orange-yellow drupe fruit, which blossoms in May and matures in October. As the oldest existing plant seeds of the relict plant, it is the only one survivor in this genus. Ginko biloba grows slower but life is way much longer, even up to thousands of years. Currently the oldest ginko tree is found in Di Lin Temple, which locates in Fu Lai Mountain, Ri Zhao, Shangdong province. It is said that it dates back to Shang dynasty, more than 3,500 years ago.
The earliest evidence about Gingko biloba was found in Carboniferous nearly 3.5 billion years go. They were ever widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and America in the northern hemisphere during Jurassic Period of Mesozoic but later declined gradually in Cretaceous Period. About half million years ago, Quaternary glaciation began and the cold killed most of the ginkgopsida. Somehow only some species in China survived this disaster. Also called as living fossil and panda plant, wild Gingko biloba communities are found in just a few places in China. Due to small population and dioecious nature in the wild, to protect this rare species now most of maidenhair trees are cultivated. No doubt, all of them worldwide are all originated from China, directly or indirectly.
Ginkgo nuts are oval or subglobose, 2.5 to 3.5 long, and about 2cm in diameter. Its outer fleshy seed coat is with white powder, faint yellow or orange-yellow when ripe; middle sclerotin seed coat is white, with 2 to 3 ridges; internal membranous seed coat is with rich endosperm.
What are they used for?
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is sweet, bitter, puckery, neutral and with mild toxicity in nature. And it goes to meridians of lung and kidney.
Main uses and indications are asthma, cough with abundance of phlegm, vaginal discharge, cloudy urine, spermatorrhea, frequency of urination, swelling due to unknown toxin, acne rosacea, and psoriasis.
And regular dosage is 6 to 10 grams, or 5 to 10 pieces.
Related Chinese herbal formulas
As mentioned previously, TCM practitioners use it to descend the Lung-Qi and stop wheezing. Ding Chuan Tang, from She Sheng Zhong Miao Fang (Well- Known Formulas for Preserving Health), is dedicated for asthma. Other main herbs include Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica), Su Zi (Purple Perilla Fruit), Gan Cao (Licorice Root), Kuan Dong Hua (Coltsfoot Flower), Xing Ren (Apricot Seed), Sang Bai Pi (Mulberry Root Bark), Huang Qin (Baical Skullcap Root, Scutellaria), and Ban Xia (Pinellia Rhizome).
It is also an excellent herbal supplement and antioxidant, which contains rich ingredients like crude protein, crude fat, reducing sugar, nucleoprotein, minerals, crude fibre, and multivitamins etc. According to reliable analysis, every 100g of fresh nuts contains 13.2g protein, 72.6g carbohydrate, 1.3g fat, vitamin C, riboflavin, carotenoids, various microelements like Ca, P, Fe, Se, K, Mg, and 8 amino acids. In addition, ginkgo leaf and kernel have flavonoid glycosides and ginkgolide, which improve circulation to the coronary artery and the brain, fight against aging, sharpen memory, and help treat Alzheimer’s disease and CCCI.
Ginkgo nut recipe
Soup and porridge are two popular forms to consume as they are very simple to make. Recipe of this herbal cuisine consists of 5 ginkgo nuts and 100g rice. The preparing process is quite straightforward – clean the nuts with water, peel and take the kernel, place them into pot along with rice, add appropriate water, boil them for enough time, and serve when it is ready. That is it.
This herbal cuisine is good for all, especially weak children and the eldly. Long-term consumption helps nourish yin, maintain youth, fight aging, expand capillaries, improve metabolism, prompt ruddy and healthy look, provide extra energy, and grant longer and healthier lives.
Possible side effects and contraindications
Ginkgo seeds contains poisonous ingredient of 4-O-methylpyridoxine, also known as ginkgotoxin. So uncooked or over-dose of cooked may both lead to poisoning. It is especially common in children who take them accidentally. The over dose is 7 to 150 pieces for children and 40 to 300 pieces for adults. Poisoning time is 1 to 12 hours after consuming. Symptoms and signs is mainly focusing on central nervous system, including vomit, coma, drowsiness, fear, convulsions, lags in response, increased temperature, difficult breathing, dark-purple complexion, contracted or dilated pupil, slowness in reacting to light, stomachache, diarrhea, rising counts of white blood cell and neutrophilic granulocyte. Generally the cause and the degree of poisoning are closely associated with age, physique, and intake quantity.
Else, in terms of TCM practice, ginkgo nuts should be avoided by those suffering from excessive pathogenic factors. Typically it won’t go wrong if used in the reasonable way and if in doubt consult your Chinese physician please.