Ginkgo biloba, also known as the "maidenhair tree" is renowned for its health benefits in East Asia, particularly its ability to improve circulation and heart health.
Ginkgo's benefits for the skin are significant, and are the subject of this article. We include ginkgo leaf extract as one of the five healing herbal plant extracts that go into all our products.
History of Ginkgo
Native to China, ginkgo has been widely cultivated from early on in human history. It one of the oldest living tree species which nearly became extinct, but was saved by Chinese monks who grow it in temple gardens. In East Asia (Korea, Japan, and China) it has various uses in traditional medicine and as a source of food.
Englbert Kaempfer, a German naturalist was the first western scholar to describe the Ginkgo tree in 1691 when he visited Nagasaki, then the only port in Japan open to Dutch and Chinese ships. Due to a spelling error Kaempfer recorded the name "Ginkgo" in his notes. While a more accurate romanization would have been closer to "Ginkyou", the name stuck.
Ginkgo nuts have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lung disease, alcohol abuse, and bladder infection, while the leaves have been used to treat heart and lung dysfunctions, as well as skin infections. However, it is only in the last few decades that it has become popular in the west as a supplement to treat cognitive decline and dementia. Recent studies have shown ginkgo may be useful in treating depression and tinnitus.
Keeping it Local
We source our ginkgo locally from a farm in sunny Marlborough, New Zealand. After being harvested, the ginkgo leaves are dried and processed into an extract which goes into all of our products.
Ginkgo leaf extract benefits for the skin
Numerous studies have examined the health and medical benefits of ginkgo, and the scientific basis for its efficacy. Benefits to the skin include:
Anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. Ginkgo leaf extract contains quercetin and kaempferol, natural plant flavonoids that act as antioxidants, and help fight free radicals. These components may result in anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects.
Depigmentation: Ginkgo contains a powerful inhibitor of tyrosinase, which is an enzyme responsible for the development of pigment in the skin. Hence ginkgo extracts, when applied to the skin may result in a skin lightening effect. This is particularly desirable for consumers who wish to combat pigmentation and age spots, and maintain a lighter skin tone.
Anti-cancer effects: Published research shows that kaempferol and quercetin inhibited cancer cell growth and show promise as anti-cancer agents.
Microcirculatory effects (the ability to dilate and increase blood flow in small blood vessels). Studies have shown the ability of ginkgo to enhance blood flow in the skin. Increased blood flow may help speed up skin healing. This may also result in a local synergistic effect, whereby the availability and impact of other ingredients in the area where it is applied is enhanced.
It is these benefits that have motivated us to include ginkgo leaf extract as one of the five key ingredients that go into all our products. In order to maximize its effectiveness, it is available in a super-concentrated form, in our skin-tonic balm, and serum.
We hope that you find the article informative, as we seek to provide useful information on the effectiveness of our ingredients. We work hard to ensure all our ingredients are sustainably sourced, and obtained from local suppliers wherever possible.