Ginkgo biloba

Historical note Ginkgo biloba is one of the world's oldest living tree species, earning it the name 'living fossil'. Its existence can be traced back more than 200 million years and it was commonly found in North America and Europe before the Ice Age. Ginkgo was first introduced into Europe in 1 690 by the botanist Engelbert Kaempfer, who described it as the 'tree with duck feet'. Ginkgo has been used medicinally for many centuries and is now one of the most popular therapeutic agents prescribed in Europe by medical doctors. It has been estimated that in Germany and France, prescriptions for ginkgo make up 1% and 1.3%, respectively, of total prescription sales (Pizzorno & Murray 2006). Also popular in the United States, it was the top selling herbal medicine in 1999 with sales of US$148 million.

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