Ginkgo biloba, commonly called the maidenhair tree, has been grown in China and Japan since ancient times. It is usually found near palaces and temples as a cultivated plant, and is considered to be a sacred plant in China. The tree was introduced to Europe in 1730 and grows well in temperate climates, to a height of 100 to 120 feet. The tree is popular because it is resistant to disease and draught, and partly also because it is able to tolerate the smoke and fumes of city life.
Ginkgo biloba is a gymnosperm. It is a seed plant and may be legitimately
regarded as a living fossil, having grown almost unchanged for more than
two hundred million years. The tree was formerly found in prehistoric times in Europe, North America and Asia, but it is not now found in a truly wild state. But for the attention given to it by Buddhist priests, it would probably have become extinct centuries ago.
My interest in this tree was aroused in 1966, when I picked up a newspaper-
one evening and read that researchers in Germany had used the essence from the leaves of this tree to cure bronchitis. The article claimed that in patients suffering from bronchitis, the catarrh ceased and areas of inflammation disappeared almost immediately. Ginkgo was found to be beneficial in bronchitis and hayfever, and in the treatment of chronic asthmatics. It was further claimed that microbes died within seconds and the bronchial and nasal passages were able to expand again, to permit normal respiration. The leaves had been found to contain constituents beneficial to the circulation of the blood.
Ultimately, in 1971, I found a Ginkgo biloba tree and selected some leaves for trituration. The leaves were crushed and macerated, and a Mother Tincture prepared. At the time of preparation, I felt a certain heaviness of the head, but decided the sensation was unimportant. Within a day or two, however, my head began to feel unbearably heavy. The neck muscles felt so weak that it was necessary for me to support my head ‘with one hand. The cervical vertebrae began to crack with head movements, particularly when turning the head to the left, and I felt overcome with exhaustion. The muscles of the arms began to feel unbearably weak, so that any form of manipulation became a great effort. Even moving the fingers and lifting the arms was exhausting.
As I had suffered an early reaction whilst preparing the tincture, I decided
to wait until the symptoms subsided before attempting a proving. Three
months after the initial reaction, I began to take two doses of Ginkgo 6 daily,
beginning on 3 July 1971.
The results of the proving with Ginkgo 6 were to some degree disappointing.Symptoms throughout were slow to develop, except for the head symptoms which came on rapidly. As symptoms developed, the dosage was reduced from twice daily to once daily, and finally discontinued when symptoms became intense. The last dose was taken on 12 September 1971. By that date there was intense muscular weakness which made it almost impossible for me to attend to patients.
The following symptoms were noted, in order of onset:
- Severe heaviness of the head due to intense weakness of the neck muscles.Could not keep the head up, except by manual support. Felt stuffy and oppressed. < humid weather. Desired open air and rest.
- Stiffness of the neck muscles. Torticollis. Severe pain on turning the head to the left side. Constant locking and cracking of cervical vertebrae when turning head to the right.
- Intense muscular weakness over the whole body. Intense physical tiredness.Lifting arms or even moving fingers caused exhaustion. Symptoms < humid weather or warm atmosphere. Desire for open air.
- Head felt full and thick. Weakness of intellect. Too tired to think. Tiredness caused disinterest in work and reduced application. Memory weak and thinking difficult.
- Ears felt blocked, and hearing was reduced.
- Skin felt dry and body felt dry, but there was no thirst.
- Pressing soreness in the left chest, alongside sternum and level with the heart. Numbness of left arm.
- All symptoms < warm humid weather.
- The nose was dry throughout the proving.
Clinically it was noted that any minor cold caught from patients was over-
come by the next day. Whenever I noticed a sniffle or sneezing, one dose of
Ginkgo 6 removed the symptoms immediately. Ginkgo could prove a good
remedy for nasal colds with a watery, running nose, sneezing, < humid weather and warmth, and some dryness of the throat, especially on the right side.
After the proving was terminated, the symptoms were repertorized to
discover suitable remedies. The following remedies could prove effective
antidotes: Lach., Calc. c., Gels., Sulph. in the first line, and also Phos., Bry.,
Con., Phos. ac. and Pic. ac. Nit. ac. also proved beneficial. However, I chose to take Physostigma which rapidly restored my equilibrium. X-rays had similar symptoms, and a dose of Sabin Polio Vaccine 30 helped to overcome the neck weakness.
This was a simple proving carried out on myself alone. It would require
verification. The sphere of action appears to be two-fold:
- Nasal colds.
- Severe muscular weakness of the neck muscles and the muscles of the upper limbs. Though there was general bodily weakness, the effect on the neck muscles and arm muscles was prostrating and almost amounted to paralysis.
REFERENCE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
1 Auckland Star of 2 November 1966.
Bean, W. J. (1951) Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles. 7th edn. Vol. II, pp. 66-7.London: John Murray.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Vol. 10, p. 423. Chicago, London, Toronto: William Benton.
Novak, F. A. Pictorial Encyclopaedia oj Plants and Flowers. Pp, 95-7. London: Paul Hamlyn.
Author: E. G. McIVOR, B.D.S.
(AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND)
Source: The British Homoeopathic Journal, April 1975.