What is Ginkgo Biloba?

Health Products
Last Updated Jul 20, 2020
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Ginkgo biloba is a well known herbal medicine that is particularly popular for the effect that it has on the brain.  But what exactly is it and what are all the benefits that it has?  Read on to learn more.

What is ginkgo biloba?

Ginkgo biloba, or the maidenhair tree, is native to China, Japan, and Korea.  It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since the 14th century to treat asthma, cough, bladder inflammation, abnormal discharge, and alcohol abuse.  It was introduced to Europe around 1730 and is now widely used as a medicinal plant all around the world.

Benefits of ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba can be used for the following:

  • daily doses of 120 to 240mg of ginkgo biloba extract can improve blood flow, memory performance, and learning capacity within eight to twelve weeks.
  • has powerful antioxidant effects
  • contains compounds that actually absorb toxic chemicals, in turn preventing cell damage and slowing the aging process
  • enhances circulation to the eyes, ears, heart, and appendages, which reduces symptoms such as numbness, coldness, and cramping
  • can be used in treating certain eye disorders such as macular degeneration
  • treating ear disorders and peripheral arterial disease
  • increasing sexual endurance
  • aids in preventing free radical damage which in turn improves blood flow and oxygen to the brain
  • can reduce some side effects of menopause
  • in the treatment of diabetic peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s syndrome, haemmorhoids, and varicose veins
  • reducing tension, anxiety, and restoring energy

Ginkgo biloba is most well known for its effect on the brain.  It is a recognised brain tonic and it can be responsible for enhancing memory, improving both short and long term memory, increasing reaction times, and improving mental clarity.  Because of these benefits of ginkgo biloba, it is now being used to treat people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other cerebral insufficiency symptoms.

There are more than 40 components that make up the ginkgo biloba tree but the two components that are beneficial to people are flavenoids and terpenoids.  These components of ginkgo together protect the nerves, heart muscle, retina, and blood vessels from damage, and blood flow is markedly improved.

Safety of ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is generally very safe to use but there have been some reports of increased bleeding.  For this reason, it is advised that people using anti-coagulant medication should avoid taking ginkgo biloba.  Also, mild gastrointestinal complaints can occur and there have been some reports of blood pressure problems, headaches, allergic reactions, and inflamed veins. 

The standard dosage for ginkgo biloba is 120 to 240mg of dry extract in liquid, tablet, or capsule form, two to three times a day.  Taking ginkgo biloba for less than six to eight weeks has no effect but you generally should not take it for more than three months at a time.

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Originally published on Dec 30, 2008

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