Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ginkgo Biloba growing

I had about given up on the Ginkgo Biloba seed I'd planted in June and here last week a shoot came up with the distinctive little fan leaves. Here in northern Oregon the climate is strange to me. It doesn't rain all summer, maybe we had 2 or 3 showers from June till August. Then in September it starts raining almost every day, but it's usually more of a drizzle. There are no thunder storms. The leaves are turning and then falling off the trees, but the grass and small plants are popping up everywhere and that's when the Ginkgo started growing although I was watering the pot off and on all summer.

Now the more I investigate about Ginkgo, it seems that it needs to be processed to concentrate the beneficial parts of the leaf. Although here is a description of drying the leaves and putting them into capsules, and another place tells you to pick the leaves in the fall when they are turning yellow. But here we have this warning: Don't use unprocessed ginkgo leaves in any form, including teas; they contain potent chemicals (allergens) that can trigger allergic reactions. Stick with standardized extracts (GBE); the allergens are removed during processing.

Well, I'm allergic to only a few things, so I won't worry too much about it. Maybe it's the influence of the supplement making companies so you buy their product. In any case it will be a long time until I can actually use anything from this tree. I wonder if it is a male or female. Since we are renting here, I won't be planting it outdoors.

The Ginkgo pages has lots of interesting stuff about the tree. It's like a living fossil, really interesting. In one of those synergistic ways, as I was just learning all about the Ginkgo, a new shopping mall opened up near here, the Bridgeport Village in Tualatin, and the logo they use is a Ginkgo Biloba leaf. I said to my daughter they must have planted some Ginkgo trees and sure enough we found them near the entrance.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lo Han Kuo

Lo Han Kuo (also spelled luo han guo) is used as a sweetener and also has medicinal and anti-aging qualities. I was going to add this to my list, but reading up on it, I discovered the actual fruit is not very good eating, and they have to process the fruit to make it into a sweetener.

Also I could find no source for buying seeds. They say it is a difficult plant to grow, as it has very special growing requirements having been cultivated on steep mountain slopes with high humidity, little sun, but not freezing temperatures.

At the Shamanshop you can buy a Lo Han Sweetener. It contains Lo han and other sweeteners.

This company, Dragon River, sells Luo Han Guo (they spell it differently) wholesale, and they have a beautiful website.

Update: Found this place, Horizon Herbs, that sells the seeds for this plant. They call it Arhat Fruit.