Ginkano root has been used in medicine at least since the Foon Dynasty. Its taste is mildly acrid and bitter, although this is easily ameliorated with a little honey. Its primary medicinal property is "warm" (i.e., slightly Yang-enhancing). It acts on the lung and heart meridians. The two principal uses for ginkano root are to soothe the heart and steady the mind, or to dissolve sputum and clarify the sensory faculties.
- In cases of disordered sleep and memory loss, ginkano root is applied with ginseng and calamus to make the Buwang San formula.
- For trembling and agitation, ginkano root is applied with wild red dates and dragon's bone.
- In cases of psychical conditions and unconsciousness caused by cloudy mucus troubling the heart, ginkano root is applied with calamus and turmeric root.
- For coughs with immoderate gelatinous phlegm or phlegm that is difficult to cough up, ginkano root is used with apricot seed, balloon flower root, and licorice root.
Typical dosage is one to three qián. Ginkano root should be used with care in patients with stomach lesion or inflammation.
The roots are harvested in the fall (the months of the Fox, Spider, or Magpie). After the stringy roots have been separated, the roots are cleaned in water and dried in the sun. Under no circumstances are they to be dug during the spring! Ginkano root dug during the spring (especially in the month of the Tiger) will induce chaotic Yang flow, having essentially the opposite of its usual therapeutic effects.