Until the Song dynasty [960-1279 AD], the Chinese name for Ginkgo was ‘duck foot’ 鴨腳, referring to the shape of its leaves. The kernel was called ‘duck foot seed’ 鴨腳子. The name was changed to ‘silver apricot’ 銀杏 for the purpose of presenting tribute to the imperial ruler, presuming that ‘silver’ sounded more auspicious than duck foot. During the Ming period [1368-1644], the term for the shell-like sclerotesta and inner parts was ‘silver fruit’ 銀果 or Yin Guo and white fruit 白果, Bai Guo, which remains Ginkgo’s name today.
Pictured are a few of the fetid-smelling, squishy, picture-perfect Ginkgo berries I collected from a female tree during the second week of December, 2014. The nuts have a slightly poisonous quality and thus, should not be taken in large quantity nor for prolonged periods of time. The medicinal nature of Bai Guo astringes, stabilizes and binds, treating Lung and Kidney with their sweet, bitter, astringent, neutral properties. In Chinese medicine, Ginkgo is helpful in nourishing cognitive and nervous system disorders, while calming Shen and nourishing Jing.
Wellness Best Wishes to All