Forget Me Not for the Past, Present, and Future of the Ginkgo biloba

Forgetting is a natural process, it is impossible to be resisted if it’s time to forget. Forgetting once is human as long as you don’t forget too often. The worst is three types of forgetting: First, if we pretend to forget. Second, it’s hard to forget something that is less pleasing to us. And third is forgeting everything due to neurocognitive or degeneration disorder such as Alzheimer disease, which causes dementia syndrome in more than 60 – 80% of the elderly.

One of the traditional medicines or supplements to fight forgetfulness is Ginkgo biloba. There are two different approaches of using Ginkgoes in Eastern and Western medical literature. The medicinal uses Ginkgo extracts mainly using the seeds in the East, and mainly the leaves in the West. It is well known that these herbs can be used to restore a better memory. Although it has not been clinically proven yet, many people try the Ginkgo extracts, and there are those that are suitable to get the benefits.

Ginkgo biloba is good for two choices of fighting forgetfulness. It seems that the Ginkgo extract is a kind of placebo, a kind of treatment just for pleasure that is more psychologically useful (mental suggestion) than physiologically (bodily functions). The plant tree has existed since two hundred million years ago since the Permian geological period, at the same age with dinosaurs. The remaining plants are more than two thousand years old and are often called living plant fossils because of the disease resistance and long life. Taking Ginkgo biloba extract is more to appreciate this plant, to thin the blood, and if it is suitable it will not cause allergy like itching. Who knows that it will be useful for some of the believers in alternative medicine?

What is very difficult to forget is the smell of female plant flowers (ovules) which fall out of a very smelly, smell like vomit. Male plant flowers (cones) smell neutral and need for pollination. Ginkgo seeds taste good when boiled. If the raw is not processed the seeds are very poisonous because they contain neurotoxins. They look a bit like a pistachio. There are records of the seeds eaten by dogs, badgers, squirrels and others, and they do not feel good afterward, so they vomit. This must be part of a dispersal system of the Ginkgo seeds. Recently there are more likely some mammals died because eat too much the Ginkgo seeds. There is a hypothesis that the Ginkgo seeds smell would have attracted dinosaurs to eat it because it is nutritious like meat.

Every time I was under Ginkgo tree, whether male or female, young or old, I always remember that Ginkgo tree has been passing the long natural selection exposed by the natural harsh weather during the earlier development of earth since many generations and they can survive well until now. Learning from the resilience of Ginkgo biloba, hope that we can pass the climate change, to be strong like a Ginkgo tree with disease and pollution resistances, high adaptation, and long life.

As we are approaching the end of this year, we must not forget that the climate change is getting worse for the sustainability of the young generation. The climate change can affect on earth’s geophysical (e.g. global warming, swift of the magnetic field, extreme or unpredictable weather, earthquakes, etc.), geochemistry (e.g. ozone depletion, drinking water depletion, increasing environmental hazard, etc.), biological (e.g. loss of biodiversity, global spread of infectious diseases, migration, foods shortage, decreasing soil fertility, etc.), ecological system (e.g. floods, drought, forest fires, crops and farms availability, change in land-use, etc.), and disruption of the polar vortex at the earth’s atmosphere that cause cold-snap, tropical cyclone, any kind of storms but not the Winter storm.

Sure, that the Ginkgo tress passed the survival of the fittest against climate change in the past and will survive in the future, but human may suffer seriously if we do not take any action seriously.

The photo above was taken by the author at the Ginkgo Avenue, Hongo campus University of Tokyo. The symbol of the university is a pair of the Ginkgo leaves, from the trees found throughout the area.

-Bintoro Gunadi

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