Ginkgo Biloba, or ginkgo (also known as the maidenhair tree), is the only existing member of the ginkgoaceae family. A deciduous tree growing to 30m tall the ginkgo tree is one of the best known examples of a living fossil.
Ginkgo has a long history as in traditional chinese medicine and recent research has discovered a range of compounds in the leaves that may be of medicinal interest. Ginkgo is the only known plant to contain ginkgolides, which are used in treating asthma. The cooked seed is used as a sedative and can also be used to treat phlegm heavy coughs, asthma, and urinary incontinence. The seed is said to have a similar taste and texture to a pine nut, however due to some levels of toxicity it is best to cook the seeds before ingesting. It can also be baked or boiled - making a pleasant addition to porridges or soups. An oil extracted from the seed produces a useful lighter fluid.