Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest species of trees on Earth. It is also referred to as the Maidenhair Tree. The tree relic is considered a living fossil due to the fact that it house outlived extinction level events.
Commonly referred to simply as Ginkgo, this relic herb has become one of today’s top selling herbal supplements within the United States and Europe. Due to its unique herbal, medicinal and therapeutic properties, the Ginkgo Biloba Tree has been used for thousands of years.
This plant has been lab studied for its ability to improve blood circulation. This is due to its blood thinning effects and ability to open blood vessels. As a result, the herb has a long history of treating blood disorders, as well as memory issues. It is also an antioxidant.
The aforementioned benefits of Ginkgo, it has alo been used to improve vascular (vein) and ocular (eye) health. Some studies indicate its benefits for improving dementia (i.e. Alzheimer’s Discease), as well as poor leg circulation, though there is conflicting reports. In addition, it holds possible benefits in protecting memory in advanced aged adults.
Ginkgo Biloba, or Ginkgo Tree
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is among the oldest species of trees with a single tree capable of living up to 1,000 years and reaching 120 feet in height. The fruit bearing tree has fan-shaped leaves protruding from its short branches. The inedible, bad smelling fruit contains a poisonous seed in the center. Strong and hardy, it is often planted in United States urban areas with the leaves changing to vivid colors during fall months.
Traditional, the Chinese used herbal medicine created from both Ginkgo seeds and leaves for thousands of years. Modern medicine has created Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE). This extract is created from dried leaves, making a highly concentrated dose of nutrients used to treat various health issues, primarily problems with circulation.
What Comprises Ginkgo?
Studies have discovered over 40 components to Gingko Biloba. Of these 40, there are two (flavonoids and terpenoids) which are deemed as medicinal. Flavonoids are plant based antioxidants. Clinical tests have indicated that flavonoids are able to protect nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels and retina from damage. The Terpenoids, like ginkgolides, have been shown to reduce platelet stickiness and are able to dilate blood vessels for improving blood flow.
Medicinal Uses Include:
1. Dementia And Alzheimers
- Improved Cognitive Function (thinking, learning and memory)
- Ease of time performance daily activities
- Enhancement of social behavior
- Reduces feelings of depression
2. Intermittent Claudication
- Expanded blood vessels to improve circulation
- Reduces stickiness of blood (acts as a blood thinner)
- May help in reducing pain from activity
5. Memory and Thinking
- Counters age related memory loss
- Improves thinking capabilities
- Useful in treating ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
6. Macular Degeneration
7. Premunstrual Syndrome (PMS)
8. Raynaud’s Phenomenon
How To Take Ginkgo Biloba
It is not advised for kids under the age of 18 to take Ginkgo
For memory, Alzheimer’s and intermittent claudication, Ginkgo has been shown to be effective when taking 120-240 mg daily in divided doses. It make takes between 4-6 weeks for Ginkgo effects to become evident. For better understanding of proper dosage regimens, consult a physician.
Precautions And Possible Interactions
Although this herb is time honored for its health benefits, it can have some side effects and may trigger negative effects when interacting with certain medications. If intending to use Ginkgo Biloba daily, be sure to use caution and pay close attention to any potential side effects.
Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects May Include:
- Skin Reactions
- Upset Stomach
Due to Ginkgo’s blood thinning effects, you should not take this supplement for 1-2 weeks before surgery to reduce risk of excessive bleeding. In turn, alert your dentist if about your Ginkgo supplementation. People who are epileptic, pregnant, breast feeding or diabetic should not take Ginkgo.
DO NOT eat the Ginkgo biloba seed or fruit.
Gingko Biloba Drug Interactions:
- Medications processed in the liver
- Seizure Medications (anticonvusants)
- Blood Pressure Medications
- Blood-Thinning Medications
- Blood Sugar Medications
- Cylosporine (Treatment Drug)
- Thiazide diuretics (water pills)
Available Forms Of Ginkgo
Ginkgo biloba comes in many different forms. Extracts are standardized to contain 24-32% flavonoids and 6-12% terpenoids. They can come in capsules, tablets, liquid extracts (i.e. tinctures, fluid extracts and glycerites) and dried leaf for teas.