Medicinal Value of Ginkgo


Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species. Most Ginkgo products are made with extract prepared from its fan-shaped leaves. Ginkgo biloba is a popular supplement and one of the top-selling herbal medicines. Ginkgo biloba extract is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. People use it for a variety of reasons. The most helpful components of ginkgo are believed to be flavonoids, which have powerful antioxidant qualities, and terpenoids, which help improve circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the "stickiness" of platelets. Ginkgo is commonly available as an oral tablet, extract, capsule or tea. Don't eat raw or roasted ginkgo seeds, which can be poisonous. Most research on Ginkgo focuses on its effect on dementia, memory and pain caused by too little blood flow (claudication).

The benefits may include: improved thinking and memory, better social behavior, better ability to perform everyday tasks. Researchers believe that Ginkgo improves cognitive function because it promotes good blood circulation in the brain and protects the brain and other parts from neuronal damage. Ginkgo may help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. One small study observed improvements in the vision of people with glaucoma who took 120 milligrams a day of gingko over a period of 8 weeks. Some studies have also suggested that gingko may help people with macular degeneration to keep their sight for longer.

Ginkgo seeds contain substances that might kill the bacteria and fungi that cause infections in the body. The seeds also contain a toxin that can cause serious side effects like seizures and loss of consciousness. Ginkgo is possibly effective for anxiety, Alzheimer disease, dementia, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), high blood pressure in arteries in the lungs or pulmonary hypertension, schizophrenia, stroke, tardive dyskinesia and dizziness. It is ineffective for decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age, sexual problems caused by antidepressants, decline in memory and thinking skills in people treated with cancer drugs, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, seasonal depression and ringing in the ears. According to the Institute for Natural Products Research, other traditional uses of Ginkgo biloba include: preventing bed wetting, increasing sexual energy, soothing bladder irritation, treating intestinal worms and treating gonorrhea.

Ginkgo is available in capsule form, as tablets, liquid extracts, and dried leaf for teas. In studies, adults have used between 120 and 240 milligrams a day in divided doses. It appears to take 4 to 6 weeks before improvements are noticed. People who should not take Gingko biloba include: children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with epilepsy, people taking blood thinners. Possible side effects of ginkgo biloba include: nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, stomach ache, restlessness and vomiting. Gingko is known by many other names, including bai guo ye, yinhsing, and fossil tree. But the supplement is most popularly known as Gingko biloba and you will most likely see it on store shelves labeled as such. Many health food markets and vitamin shops sell this product.

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