Ginkgo Biloba, also known as maidenhair tree, is a popular and best-selling herbal supplement that has been around for centuries.
It is believed that the ginkgo tree has inhabited the earth for over 150 million years and is one of the oldest living tree species, therefore considered a living fossil tree.
So imagine its long history, especially as a natural remedy in the treatment of various health problems.
Fast forward to today, it is one of the highly recommended traditional drugs for improving cognitive functioning and other beneficial effects.
But not only that, as more and more research has been developed, it has been discovered that the use of ginkgo biloba has many benefits.
Read this article to find out what they are.
History of Ginkgo Biloba
Having existed for millions of years, Ginkgo Biloba was originally cultivated for medicine and consumption.
It is an ancient plant first discovered to have medicinal properties in ancient China.
It was first introduced to the Western world in the 1600s by European Engelbert Kaempfer, and later Linnaeus gave it its name meaning “double-lobed silver plume” in 1771.
It was William Hamilton who imported Ginkgo Biloba to the United states in 1784.
Today, due to its proven benefits and uses, pharmaceutical companies sell Ginkgo Biloba in different forms, such as extracts, tablets, and capsules.
But most modern research focuses their clinical studies on the benefits and uses of Ginkgo extract, which is made from seeds and ginkgo leaves.
Many health food stores and online stores also sell Ginkgo Biloba dietary supplements due to their health claims, such as improved blood circulation and cognitive functioning.
What is Ginko Biloba Used For?
Here are some of its well-known uses and benefits.
1. May Contain Powerful Antioxidants
Ginkgo Biloba has been found to contain high levels of two powerful antioxidants namely terpenoids and flavonoids.
When consumed, these antioxidants can inhibit growth and neutralize free radicals in the body, which are the ones that cause abnormal metabolic functions turning food into detoxification.
Free radicals are also one of the factors responsible for the development of many serious health diseases, tissue damage and the acceleration of age.
So with these antioxidants present in this plant, there is so much hope for those at risk.
This research study indeed gives hope to many people at risk.
Nonetheless, more research studies are needed to prove its effectiveness in treating specific diseases.
2. Ability to Reduce Inflammation
When a foreign substance invades our body, the natural response would be inflammation.
This signals us that our body is under attack, where all of its fighting forces are fighting against the foreign invader in the affected areas.
Especially for patients with chronic diseases, the inflammatory response is always seen as a way for their body to fight the abnormalities.
While the body fighting off these invaders is a good sign, excessive inflammation can cause permanent DNA and tissue damage.
The good news is that Ginkgo Biloba extract has been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in animals and human cells according to test tube and animal studies.
It has been found specifically to reduce inflammation in people with cancer, arthritis, heart disease, irritable bowel disease, and stroke.
As these are very complex diseases with no conclusive evidence yet, more studies are needed.
3. Improves Circulation and Heart Health
As a traditional Chinese medicine, Ginkgo Biloba has been used to improve blood circulation in the body.
Ancient Chinese civilization especially used ginkgo seeds to open energy channels throughout the body, including the lungs, kidneys, brain, and liver.
Modern science also supports this claim, as a small study was conducted among people with heart problems and high blood pressure.
They were supplemented with Ginkgo and the result was a 12% increase in nitric oxide which caused the blood vessels to dilate immediately, increasing blood flow to several parts of the body.
Other research studies have been done, especially on the significant effects of ginkgo extract on older adults with stroke and brain problems.
While the results of these studies were promising, more research studies are needed to fully understand the effects of ginkgo on heart and brain health.
4. Reduces Symptoms of Dementia and Psychiatric Disorders
Since then, Ginkgo biloba has been used to improve cognitive functioning among elderly people, particularly the treatment of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and other mental health issues associated with aging.
More research studies have been conducted to prove its effects on psychiatric problems and people with chronic stress and anxiety.
One example is a systematic review of the effects of ginkgo leaf extract on people with Alzheimer’s disease.
It has been discovered that when used with conventional medicines, gingko can improve the functional abilities of these patients.
The same result was seen in another study where a group of people with dementia were assessed using Ginkgo extract for 22-24 weeks.
The result was a significant reduction in symptoms.
While there could be a lot of explanation as to why this herb works for these types of ailments, it is still too early to make any definitive claims just yet.
Nonetheless, the results have led to many more clinical trials to make the pieces clearer.
5. Improves Brain Function and Well-Being
There have been a handful of claims regarding the positive effect ginkgo supplements can have on our brain health.
Some believe that taking ginkgo supplements has improved their brain function and well-being, including preventing cognitive decline and improving focus, memory and attention span, while others don’t feel the same after taking the supplements.
Due to the chemical compounds found in this plant, it is possible that it could improve mental abilities even for healthy adults, but due to the inconsistencies in the result, more studies are needed.
6. Can Reduce Anxiety
As a herbal medicine containing powerful antioxidants and other medicinal properties to improve cognitive function, it is also good to assume that this herb may also help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
In fact, according to several animal studies conducted, ginkgo biloba has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety.
The same result was observed after evaluating 170 people with generalized anxiety.
Those who received high doses of ginkgo showed a 45% reduction in symptoms compared to those in the placebo group.
This is one of the reasons why ginkgo supplements are becoming a hit these days.
However, keep in mind that more research studies are still needed, so substituting your medical treatments for these supplements is strongly discouraged.
Gingko Biloba is a potent alternative medicine due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
It can prevent, treat and fight pathogenic viruses and bacteria, including free radicals.
Although it has been around for centuries and is used in many parts of the world, it is not yet fully understood.
Most of the research studies conducted have resulted in some inconsistencies, so it is best to use it with the side effects and allergic reactions in mind, just like with other herbal products.
If you plan to include it in your diet, it is best to consult your healthcare provider first for medical advice.