The herb Ginkgo Biloba has been used in Chinese medicine since 2800 BC and has become as increasingly popular herb around the world over recent decades. It is most commonly associated with increasing memory, but has many other applications due to its positive effect on the immune and circulatory systems.
Ginkgo's healing properties are attributed to the presents of flavone glycosides and terpene lactones. Flavones provide antioxidant effects and terpene lactones, such as ginkgolides and bilobalide, increase blood circulation to the brain and body as a whole. The Gingko tree is believed to be one of the oldest living trees, species living up to 1,000 years. Geographically, the tree can be found in China, Korea, Southern France and southern and eastern areas of the United States. The leaves are used to make extracts and tinctures and the herb Ginkgo Biloba can be found in capsule or tablet form.
Conditions that can be treated by the herb Ginkgo Biloba include:
Memory Loss (Short and Long Term)
Ginkgo has been proven effective in the treatment of Age-related cognitive decline (ARCD), early-stage Alzheimer's disease, certain types of Glaucoma and Intermittent claudication, characterized by leg cramps associated with poor circulation. Ginkgo decreased the platelet activity factor (PAF), similar to the anti-coagulant effects of aspirin. Too much PAF in the blood increases the risk of heart disease, brain damage, hearing disorders and immune system diseases. Some believe Ginkgo relaxes constricted blood vessels and inhibits arterial plaque formation. An increase in vascular dilation can also reduce retinal damage associated with macular degeneration and reverse deafness associated with diminished blood flow. The herb Ginkgo Biloba increases metabolism, regulates neurotransmitters and increases the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood, which also increases oxygenation in the brain. In addition to age-related cognitive disorders, Ginkgo also helps with the physical signs of aging. Its powerful antioxidant properties fight against free radicals, which can show as skin damage, wrinkles and lines. Antioxidants also help protect against cancer, heart disease, ulcers and glaucoma. Some researchers believe Ginkgo is beneficial to people who have suffered strokes and that its anti-oxidant and circulatory benefits can help prevent future strokes as well as inhibit free-radical damage associated with strokes.
Ginkgo is also used in the treatment of ADHD due to its enhancement of long and short-term memory and increase in mental clarity. Ginkgo Biloba has anti-inflammatory effects that may help with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and asthma and may help with anti-rejection of organ transplants.
The herb Ginkgo Biloba has many benefits, but also has potential side effects and should be used with caution under certain circumstances. Ginkgo should be used with caution with people with known blood circulation and clotting disorders, as there is an increase risk of bleeding. Those taking daily anti-coagulation medications such as Aspirin and Coumadin should consult his/her physician before taking Ginkgo Biloba. Ginkgo should be avoided in persons taking a class of anti-depressant drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). Side effects include:
In some individuals, side effects are dosage related and will cease with a lower dose. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid Ginkgo.
The herb Ginkgo Biloba is most associated with memory improvement and the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The herb can be used to treat a wide-range of medical issues including circulatory disorders, heart disease, ADHD, certain forms of deafness, retinopathy, symptoms of menopause and PMS, impotency, depression, vertigo and tinnitus. Ginkgo should not be taken if you have certain conditions or in conjunction with certain medications; you should consult your doctor before introducing Ginkgo Biloba into your daily regime.