Ginkgo Biloba has been chosen as one of the main ingredients of the I Coloniali Invigorating & Toning body care line.
Ginkgo Biloba has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to these properties, its extracts have been associated with skin care since ancient times. It is also rich in terpenoids, which are responsible for improving the circulation, and flavonoids, which help protect the skin from the damage caused by the sun and pollution.
Ginkgo Biloba: properties
Ginkgo leaf extract has antibacterial properties, stimulates the production of skin collagen and has a toning and anti-ageing action. In addition, the seeds of the Ginkgo tree contain many nourishing and healing compounds. In Asian countries they are used in many cookery recipes.
The therapeutic effects of its leaf extract are due to a synergy of two different chemicals. Its low molecular weight compounds add to the high value of the extract’s great nutritional power.
The ancient Chinese medicinal writings suggest that Ginkgo has been used for 5,000 years. Early applications included the treatment of asthma, age-related memory loss and headaches. The leaf extract is administered orally. Its main action, which is responsible for its therapeutic effect, derives from its antioxidant effect. This enhances the actions of various detoxifying enzymes. Scientific research has demonstrated that the extract is effective in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. Because it contains lecithin and bilobalide, which can prevent the fragmentation of DNA, it is actually able to improve the memory. Other therapeutic indications include cardioprotection and a chemoprotective action during cancer treatments.
The principles which support the use of Ginkgo extracts in medicine also apply to cosmetic products. The main beneficial effect which results from its use is its super potent antioxidant effect.
Research has shown that flavonoids can improve blood flow which is why they are often used in cosmetic anti-cellulite products. In addition, the presence of more low molecular weight flavonoids promotes healthy cell metabolism and effective skin nutrition. Other studies conducted with healthy volunteers have shown that that Ginkgo extracts are more effective than carotene and vitamin E in reducing the oxidative stress induced by UV rays in epidermal cells. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects have also been identified.
Ginkgo extracts also have an important role in increasing skin hydration and on cellular stimulation, thus they are also used in cosmetic anti-wrinkle products.
Ginkgo Biloba: origins and history
The Ginkgo tree has gained many symbolic meanings around the world because of its hardiness and great antiquity. Originally from China, its cultivation has spread to gardens and parks all over the world. Ginkgo Biloba can grow up to 40 metres high and it can have a long life cycle with some specimens living for over 2,000 years.
Because the male and female reproductive organs are located on separate trees, they are associated with an important duality, the “yin and yang” of plants. The single-lobed eaves are responsible for its name “biloba” and they are the part of the plant with the greatest economic value.
The Ginkgo tree is an actual living fossil, a plant which has survived essentially unchanged from the Jurassic era until the present day. For a long time, it was thought to have become extinct along with many other plant and animal species. This tree’s incredible resistance to those difficult conditions and its remarkable resistance to diseases and parasites are the main reasons for its longevity.
For this reason, Ginkgo is associated symbolically with resistance and vitality, a representation widely found in Chinese literature and art. Chinese monks greatly venerated the tree and it was always found in their monastery gardens as they also considered it to be sacred. Buddhist monks introduced the tree to Japan, where its secular cultivation continued to spread. In Japan this tree was considered a symbol of peace and hope and it was given the name “Hibaku”, which translates as “something very close to a nuclear bomb” because it survived the atomic explosion of Hiroshima. The leaves and seeds had been used for several centuries in traditional Asian medicine and were mentioned in a herb compendium published in 1350 during the Yuan dynasty.
In Europe, knowledge about the Ginkgo tree had been provided by Marco Polo on his return from his long Asian adventure.
Ginkgo biloba is considered an intermediate species between ferns and conifers. It was originally from China, from where it spread to Japan and Korea. The Ginkgo tree is a species which is relatively intolerant to shade and grows better in irrigated environments; in fact, they usually grow near water or near the coast.