Introduction

Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living plant species. Dating back more than 250 million years, it is often referred to as "a living fossil." Ginkgo is a very hearty plant, and in fact was the only flora to resprout in the spring following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is thought that ginkgo trees generated naturally in America, Asia and Europe, but then disappeared from America and Europe until being cultivated again in the 18th century. Over the past few years, ginkgo has ranked first among herbal medicines sold in health food stores in the United States (Blumenthal, 2000).

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