Ginkgo trees, one of the oldest species of trees cultivated in China, are believed to be 150 to 200 million years old. The tree can grow 100 – 120 feet and are very resistant to pollution, infection and hardly suffer any disease. Insects rarely attack these plants. As a result, these trees are most tolerant even in urban conditions and are grown as shade trees.

ginkgo biloba treeGinkgo biloba extracts is made from various parts of these trees. Chinese has used ginkgo biloba for the centuries for treating various ailments. It is the most researched herb used by most countries as herbal medicine. Ginkgo leaves contains two groups of active components known as flavonoid glycosides and ginkgolides. These active ingredients helps in increasing blood flow to the brain and improving overall network of blood vessels, and consequently increases the inflow of oxygen and essential nutrients to brain and other important organs of the body and simultaneously helps controlling in allergic inflammation and asthma.

1. GINKGO BILOBA BENEFITS

From evidences, Ginkgo biloba has the following benefits:

  • It has a positive effect on vascular system and it allows the system to act more efficiently by allowing more blood flow and consequently n:ore oxygen to the vital organs of the body including brain.
  • Brain, being the highest oxygen consumer (20%) of the total oxygen requirement of the human body, regulates the body more efficiently.
  • The improved blood circulation to brain including microcirculation in smaller capillaries increases memory and metabolic efficiency including neurotransmitters regulation.
  • Ginkgo biloba is useful for relaxing coronary arteries constricted by cholesterol.
  • Ginkgo biloba is also useful for relieving tension and anxiety.
  • Ginkgo biloba is also beneficial to elevate mood and restore energy.
  • Ginkgo biloba controls platelet activity factor (PAF)). Excessive platelet factor (PAF) in the body may cause physical stress, brain disorder, and skin problem including psoriasis, cardiovascular disease and other hearing disorders.
  • Ginkgo biloba is beneficial for treating vertigo and tinnitus.
  • Ginkgo biloba acts as an antioxidant and inhibits free radical formed in the body. Antioxidant plays a vital role for protecting cardiovascular and central nervous system (CNS). The combined effect of improved circulatory system and antioxidant improves blood flow to retina and controls retinal deterioration causing an overall improvement in visual activity.
  • Ginkgo biloba is beneficial for treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Ginkgo biloba is also used as supportive herbal medicine for treating infertility disorder in males.

2. GINKGO BILOBA SIDE EFFECTS

Undoubtedly, there exist some slight effects but which are minor compared to the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba. Ginkgo Biloba mostly certainly is an herbal medicine with a doctor’s supervision recommended. It should not be used with aspirin, heparin, warfarin or some different medicine as there can be humongous damage such as intracranial hemorrhage. It is recommended that breastfeeding and pregnant should stay away from ginkgo preparations to avoid serious bleeding during delivery motions. Ginkgo Biloba seed or fruit should not be swallowed as it can have human toxic reactions. It should be avoided with anticonvulsant medications, antidepressant medications, antihypertensive medications, anti-coagulating medications, blood sugar decreasing medications, trazodone, monoamine oxidase inhibitors {MAOls), cyclosporine, and thiazide diuretics.

3. WHAT IS GINKGO BILOBA

Ginkgo biloba is one of the longest living tree species in the world. It is a most extensively studied tree specie, and is among the oldest species. Many herbs and other plants are used in natural form but these leaves are used in a standard concentrated extract. The Ginkgo Biloba extract is produced from dried leaves. Ginkgo Biloba can be used in aiding problems due to loss of blood flow to the brain. It can act as a dilator and by increasing the size of arteries it can improve the blood flow. It can prove ta he a free radical remover, antioxidant, membrane stabilizer, platelet activation factor and a neuro-protection agent. Ginkgo Biloba can also help to enhance the memory which is the reason it is added to nutrition bars.

4. GINKGO BILOBA USES

Highly effective uses are given below:

  • ginkgo biloba leaves, herb, capsulesIt can be used to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Evidences have proven it effective for mental function.
  • Ginkgo leaf extract have proven to improve, alzheimer’s, vascular, or mixed dementias.
  • Effective for vision problems in people with diabetes.
  • It reduces leg pain when walking due to poor blood flow (peripheral vascular disease).
  • It is effective for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Also reduces symptoms of Schizophrenia, adverse effects associated with the antipsychotic medication, haloperidol.
  • It can reduce the severity of tardive dyskinesia symptoms in people with schizophrenia who are taking antipsychotic drugs.
  • It improves symptoms of vertigo and dizziness.

It is possibly ineffective for:

  • Age-related memory loss: Ginkgo does not seem to prevent age-related memory loss from developing.
  • Sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressant drugs.
  • Multiple sclerosis: Taking ginkgo leaf extract or ginkgolide B, a specific chemical found in ginkgo extract, does not improve mental function or disability in people with multiple sclerosis.
  • Seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder): Taking ginkgo leaf extract by mouth does not seem to prevent winter depression symptoms in people with seasonal depression.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus): Taking ginkgo leaf extract by mouth does not seem to improve ringing in the ears.

Gingko Biloba is likely considered ineffective for heart disease as it does not reduce the chance of having a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke in elderly people.

Insufficient evidences have shown both its effectiveness and ineffectiveness for the following:

  • Age-related vision loss (age-related macular degeneration): There is some early evidence that ginkgo leaf extract might improve symptoms and distance vision in people with age-related vision loss.
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis): Early research shows that applying specific eye drops (Trium, SOOFT) that contain ginkgo extract and hylauronic acid three times daily for one month can reduce eye redness, swelling and discharge in people with swollen eyes due to seasonal allergies.
  • Altitude sickness: Research on the effects of ginkgo leaf extract on altitude sickness is inconsistent. Some research suggests that taking ginkgo leaf extract can reduce altitude sickness symptoms when taken 4 days before climbing but does not prevent altitude sickness.
  • Asthma: Research shows that taking two capsules of a specific product containing ginkgo extract, ginger, and Picrorhiza kurroa (AKL1, AKL International Ltd) twice daily for 12 weeks does not improve lung function or asthma symptoms in adults with asthma.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is early evidence that a specific combination product (AD-fX, CV Technologies, Canada) containing ginkgo leaf extract, in combination with American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), might help improve ADHD symptoms such as anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness in 3 to 17 year-old children.
  • Autism: Research shows that taking a specific ginkgo extract (Ginko T.D. Tolidaru Pharmaceuticals) daily for 10 weeks along with conventional medication does not improve autism symptoms in children.
  • A lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Research shows that taking a specific product that contains ginkgo extract, ginger, and Picrorhiza kurroa (AKL1, AKL International Ltd) twice daily for 8 weeks does not improve lung function in people with COPD.
  • Cocaine addiction: Research suggests that taking a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761 twice daily for 10 weeks does not help people with a cocaine addiction.
  • Colorectal cancer: Early research suggests that using a specific ginkgo leaf extract (EGb 761, ONC) intravenously (by IV) together with anticancer drugs might benefit people with colorectal cancer.
  • Dyslexia: Early research suggests that taking a specific ginkgo leaf extract (EGb 761) can help reduce dyslexia in children aged 5-16 years.
  • Fibromyalgia: Early research suggests that taking specific ginkgo leaf extract tablets (Bio-Biloba, Pharma Nord) together with coenzyme Q-10 capsules (Bio Quinone Q10, Pharma Nord) by mouth might increase feelings of wellness and perception of overall health and reduce pain in people with fibromyalgia.
  • Stomach cancer: Early research suggests that taking carbohydrates from the outer layer of the ginkgo fruit by mouth twice daily for 30 days might reduce tumor size in people with stomach cancer.
  • Hearing loss: There is some early evidence that taking ginkgo might help short-term hearing loss due to unknown causes. However, many of these people recover hearing on their own. It is hard to know if ginkgo has any effect.
  • Hemorrhoids: Early research suggests that taking a combination of ginkgo and certain conventional medications might decrease some symptoms of hemorrhoids, including bleeding and pain.
  • Migraine: Early research shows that taking ginkgolide B, a chemical found in ginkgo leaf extract, might help prevent migraines in children and women.
  • Ovarian cancer: Evidence suggests that using ginkgo leaf extract is associated with a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer: Early research suggests that taking a specific ginkgo leaf extract (EGb 761) intravenously (by lV) together with anticancer drugs might slow the progression of pancreatic cancer in some people.
  • Ginkgo biloba and quality of lifeQuality of life: Early evidence suggests that taking ginkgo extract (LI 1370, Lichtwer Pharma) might improve quality of life measures such as activities in daily living, mood, sleep, and alertness in older people.
  • Radiation exposure: Early research suggests that taking a specific ginkgo leaf extract (EGb 761, Tanakan Ipsen) might reduce some of the negative effects of radiation on the body.
  • Skin toxicity caused by radiation: Early research suggests that applying a specific cream product (Radioskin 2, Herbalab di Perazza Massimiliano Company) that contains ginkgo extract, Aloe vera, and metal esculetina along with another product (Radioskin 1, Herbalab di Perazza Massimiliano Company) might improve skin moisture and reduce toxicity in breast cancer patients receiving radiation treatments.
  • Blood vessel disorder (Raynaud’s syndrome): Some research suggests that taking ginkgo leaf extract by mouth can decrease the number of painful attacks per week in people with a blood vessel disorder called Raynaud’s syndrome. However, other research suggests that ginkgo is not beneficial or is less effective than drugs such as nifedipine.
  • Sexual dysfunction: Some research shows that taking ginkgo leaf extract daily for 8 weeks does not improve sexual function in women with sexual arousal disorder. However, taking a specific combination product containing ginkgo, ginseng, damiana, L-arginine, multivitamins, and minerals (ArginMax for Women) appears to improve sexual satisfaction in women with sexual dysfunction.
  • Stroke: There is contradictory evidence about the effectiveness of ginkgo for improving recovery in people with strokes caused by a clot. Some evidence suggests that people may improve more after a stroke when treated with ginkgo. However, other research shows no benefit.