I'd like to extend a big thank-you to everyone who joined our Ginkgo biloba research project. I’d originally planned to work with 10 volunteers, but since more people expressed an interest in the essence, I expanded the group to 30. I’m very grateful for the fantastic feedback!
Getting to know the depth and range of an essence is an ongoing process, one that’s never really finished. Even essences that I’ve used for years and think I know well continue to reveal new dimensions in different situations over time. The information that I’ve collected here is just a preliminary look at Ginkgo biloba based on the experiences of a small group of people, but it will give us a little insight into what the essence has to offer.
Ginkgo biloba, also known as the Maidenhair Tree, is sometimes referred to as a living fossil as it’s one of the very oldest tree species on earth, dating back 200 million years to the Mesozoic Era - the age of the dinosaurs. According to fossil records, the trees we see lining our city streets today are not markedly different than their ancient predecessors.
About 2.5 million years ago, Ginkgos almost went extinct. Glaciation killed off all but one type of Ginkgo tree which managed to survive in what is now central China. As a result of this close call, our modern trees stand alone as a species with no living plant relatives. They are the only remaining botanical link between conifers and ferns.
Ginkgos can live an incredibly long time - well over 1000 years. Some of the oldest trees on the planet are located on the grounds of Buddhist temples in China and Japan. Their longevity is due in large part to their ability to continue producing protective chemicals as they age, substances that safeguard them from diseases and harsh environmental conditions.
The following story is one of the most compelling demonstrations of Ginkgo’s resiliency that I discovered in my research. At the end of WWII, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing thousands of civilians and decimating the landscape. A collection of Ginkgo trees - all quite close to the epicenter in Hiroshima - were stripped of their leaves, badly burned and irradiated. By all accounts, they - like every other living being in the area - were dead.
I've read a couple of different reports about what happened next. In one, the “dead” Ginkgos started producing leaves the following spring. In another, the trees sent out green shoots only a few weeks after the bombing. Either way, the trees (known in Japan as hibakujumoku or A-bombed trees) survived one of the most destructive episodes in our global history. They were able to regenerate thanks to pockets of highly organized living cells that remained intact, deep within their trunks.
Ancient Chinese texts suggest that Ginkgos have been used medicinally for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ginkgo nuts are a kidney yang tonic that can increase sexual energy and balance bladder issues like frequent urination and incontinence. Boiled into a tea, the nuts can also help relieve lung congestion and clear excess mucus.
Active compounds in Ginkgo leaves (ginkgolides and terpenes) have quite a few beneficial effects as well. Herbal tinctures and supplements made from the leaves can:
Making the Essence
The Ginkgo tree that I used to create the essence is located on a piece of land in my town in Massachusetts - a 21-acre meadow that, in 1893, was transformed into a public park. The area’s home to quite a few large trees including Copper Beech, Norway Spruce, Hemlock and Red Maple, many of which could certainly date back to the 1800s.
Ginkgo trees are dioecious - meaning, they’re either male or female. The Ginkgo that I worked with was a young male tree. In May, it produced clusters of catkin-like “flowers” - also called pollen cones or pollen sacs - that I used to make the essence.
There are three Ginkgos in the park. The tree that I ultimately chose struck me as the most communicative and seemingly eager to participate. Whenever I make an essence, I try to follow the subtle currents of energy coming from different plants and trees, and I always ask for a plant’s permission before starting the process. When I approached this particular Ginkgo and stood with it for a while, I experienced unusual waves of joy, enthusiasm, openness and forward-flow which I interpreted as a green light to go ahead with the project.
Processing the Feedback
I received written feedback from 28 of our 30 volunteers. This report is an overview of Ginkgo’s most commonly-experienced effects. The primary areas of influence that I’ll be highlighting came up for at least 5 participants and sometimes many more.
This particular study presented some new challenges for me in managing a larger volume of feedback. My brain felt overloaded as I began reading through people’s accounts of the essence. A day into the process, I started taking 3 drops of Ginkgo before sitting down to read or write, and I noticed that my brain felt less foggy. I was able to see themes running through the data and write summaries more easily. The fact that I finished this report I owe in large part to the essence I set out to explore.
Italicized text = quotes from participants
1. Mental Clarity
The Ginkgo essence appears to help clear, calm and focus the mind. Eighteen participants mentioned that they noticed a shift in their mental experience while taking Ginkgo during the 7-day trial period. According to their reports, the essence seemed to quiet mind chatter and anxious thoughts as well as enhance feelings of presence and peace.
The Ginkgo’s mind-clearing effects seemed to play out for people in a few different ways.
Several participants reported that they felt more focused and productive and were better able to manage demanding mental tasks. They noticed an increase in cognitive stamina and could complete items on their to-do list with greater ease.
For others, having a clearer mind seemed to go hand-in-hand with feelings of relaxation which sometimes resulted in better sleep.
Quite a few mentioned that Ginkgo’s clearing effects allowed them to better see and assess situations in their lives, cut through mental interference and take appropriate action. Having this kind of perspective helped several people feel more capable and secure.
One woman felt that the essence’s clearing qualities helped her see and more easily follow her true path in life.
For several others, Ginkgo’s clarifying effects weren’t all that comfortable. Sweeping away distractions and mental clutter focused some participants’ attention on aspects of themselves or their lives that had fallen out of balance and were calling for a change. (I’ll say more about this in the next section).
For a few people, Ginkgo offered a sometimes painful clarity regarding the shape of their lives - highlighting traumas, patterns, past choices and limiting beliefs that were out of balance and needed their attention. Overall, the essence seemed to draw people’s awareness to what wasn’t serving them - which sometimes stimulated intense emotional reactions.
The essence’s rebalancing qualities were not turbulent for everyone. Several people mentioned feeling more aware of their own natural limits while taking the essence and experienced a gentle pull towards self-care.
One participant remarked that Ginkgo felt adaptive, offering her whatever support she might need in a particular moment to maintain a balanced state.
Another person mentioned that the essence helped her find a more comfortable balance with established coping strategies/addictive patterns.
In all cases, the spirit of the essence seemed to carry a protective quality, showing us where we might need to work on restoring emotional, physical or energetic equilibrium. One participant summed up Ginkgo’s rebalancing effects with the following observation:
As noted above, not only does Ginkgo help to return us to balance, it also helps to restore and strengthen a sense of connectedness - both within our bodies and with our environment.
Connecting the Energy Body
After taking doses of the essence, seven participants reported feeling an influx of energy that moved up and/or down through their core. This energy seemed to widen the central channel and connect and align the chakras. This process often released emotions or sensations stored in the energy centers.
Curiously, the participants who found themselves engaging in the deepest life reviews during the week had the opposite experience - they described feelings of disconnection either within themselves or with people in their lives. One woman felt disconnected both emotionally and physically.
Again we see Ginkgo’s protective effect at work. It can, if necessary, separate us from patterns, relationships, etc. that may not be truly beneficial for us. The essence’s detaching action, though uncomfortable, may be a first step in helping us to reorient, realign and re-establish stronger connections both within ourselves and with others.
Connecting the Breath
Quite a few people mentioned that they were more conscious of their breathing and/or started breathing more deeply after taking the essence. Returning to the breath - to this essential life-sustaining rhythm - felt like another expression of Ginkgo’s balancing and connecting influence.
Connecting the Brain
David Dalton sampled the essence during the trial period and noted another dimension of Ginkgo’s connecting signature - which may offer more insight into its mind-boosting effects. He intuited that Ginkgo could improve connections between different parts of the brain, supporting enhanced functionality and right brain/left brain communication.
Connecting Through Time
Several people in the study said they felt a deep connection to time (past, present and future) while taking the essence. The essence’s energetic signature seems to express something of the tree’s incredible history/longevity, helping us connect to a vast expanse of time and find our place within it.
Connecting To Nature
Eight participants mentioned that they felt a strong urge to visit Ginkgo trees in person during the study. Many people also shared fond memories of Ginkgos that they’d seen and loved in the past. The essence seemed to invite people into more of a relationship with the tree itself, inspiring everyone to explore their own sense of the tree's energy and purpose in their lives. The urge to reach out in this way - to spend time in the company of these trees and develop a more personal connection - felt notable to me and unique to this study. Other tree research projects I’ve offered haven’t inspired the same desire to connect.
A few people mentioned that the Ginkgo essence helped them connect to other dimensions of the natural world - specifically, enhancing their sensitivity to plants.
Eleven participants said that they felt more peaceful and stable during the trial, and many mentioned they felt noticeably calmer right after taking a dose.
Several people specifically said that the essence helped them remain calm in situations that they would usually find triggering. They felt better able to take life turbulence in stride, stay out of reactive states and maintain their energy in the face of challenges.
A number of people reported that they were better able to maintain a calm state because they felt more assured of their basic safety. Some described the Ginkgo essence as a protective ally and others felt that it awakened a peaceful warrior energy within them.
A couple of volunteers specifically mentioned Ginkgo as a protective force in situations involving imbalanced or destructive masculine energy, helping to set clear and decisive boundaries.
While taking the essence, another participant found that she was able to relax emotionally-defended parts of herself. For her, the essence’s protective energy felt less like a warrior and more like unconditional love.
As an ancient and amazingly resilient tree, Ginkgo shows us not only how to survive but how to thrive - offering us gifts of clarity, balance, connection and calm to help us on our journey. The essence invites us to tap into our own inner strength and stability, occasionally nudging us to rebalance when we’ve veered a bit too far from our center.
I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite stories to come out of this research project, relayed by a participant whose daughter happened to be working on a new drawing as the Ginkgo study was getting underway.
Ginkgo biloba ~ I am clear, balanced, connected and calm.
1. For those who feel mentally foggy or overwhelmed; supports clear thinking and easy focus
2. For those who are experiencing an imbalance in some aspect of their lives; helps to restore emotional, physical or energetic equilibrium
3. For those who feel out-of-sync with themselves or with others; a connecting force to support alignment and flow in our bodies and our lives; opens us to new energy and new possibilities
4. For those who feel vulnerable, nervous or agitated; calms and protects
Thanks again to all the volunteers who took the time to explore the essence!
If you have any questions about Ginkgo or would like personalized suggestions on how to use it, please leave a comment here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase the Ginkgo essence, click HERE.
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