Ginko Biloba is a popular Chinese herb with numerous reported health benefits. As an herb, it is often classified as an adaptogen, which means that it is an herb that benefits the body overall, particularly in managing stress and rejuvenating the brain. Ginko is a source of antioxidants and improves circulation throughout the body. It is most widely used for memory enhancement and energy but has other applications as well. In China, the cleaned seeds are roasted and eaten. Raw seeds are surrounded by a flesh that can cause itching, so gloves should be worn when handling them. As a plant specimen, ginko is distinguished by its fan-shaped leaves. It is a dioecious species, meaning that plants are either male or female and cannot pollinate themselves. Ginko is also an important symbol of Buddhism and Confucianism and was historically cultivated in Japanese temple gardens. Its cold hardiness and disease and pest resistance has helped ginko become one of the oldest living plant species. One specimen in China is believed to be 3,000 years old! Unlike many plants, it is apt for growth urban areas because of its resistance to adverse conditions. Mature trees can reach 120 feet, but ginko is also a popular plant for bonsai.
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