The ginkgo tree, Ginkgo biloba (GB) L., is the last remaining member of the Ginkgoaceae family, which once included many species (1). It has survived unchanged in China for more than 200 million years, and was brought to Europe in 1730 and to America in 1784. Since then, it has become a popular ornamental tree worldwide. Individual trees may live as long as 1000 years, and grow to a height of approx 125 feet (2). GB fruits and seeds have been used in China for their medicinal properties since 2800 bce (1). Traditional Chinese physicians used GB leaves to treat asthma and chilblains (swelling of the hands and feet from exposure to damp cold) (2). The ancient Chinese

From Forensic Science and Medicine: Herbal Products: Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology, Second Edition Edited by: T. S. Tracy and R. L. Kingston © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

and Japanese ate roasted GB seeds as a digestive aid and to prevent drunkenness (2). GB use had spread to Europe by the 1960s.

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