Also known as: Ginkgo Tree, or Maidenhair Tree
Benefits: Improves cognitive functions, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Improves Memory, Asthma, PMS, Anxiety and Depression, PMS, Eye Health, ADHD, Dyslexia, Erectile Dysfunction, Headaches and Migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia.
Recommended Usage: For cognitive enhancement, take 120-240mg, one to four hours before performance. To alleviate cognitive decline in older adults, take 40-120mg, three times a day.
What is Ginkgo Biloba ?
Ginkgo Biloba, known as the maidenhair tree, is one of the oldest trees on Earth, once part of the flora of the Mesozoic period. The ginkgo tree is the only surviving species of the Ginkgoaceae family.
Ginkgo Biloba has a long history of use in treating blood disorders and memory issues. It is best known today as way to potentially keep your memory sharp. Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky. It is also an antioxidant.
For those reasons, Ginkgo Biloba may improve vein and eye health. Although not all studies agree, Ginkgo Biloba may help treat dementia (including Alzheimer disease) and intermittent claudication, or poor circulation in the legs. It may also protect memory in older adults.
Other Features of Ginkgo Biloba
What makes Ginkgo Biloba so powerful? Ginkgo Biloba contains two constituents (flavonoids and terpenoids) that have strong antioxidant properties. It’s believed these may help slow down the progression of age-related diseases by combating oxidative stress that usually worsens as someone ages.
While people of all ages seem to benefit from taking Ginkgo Biloba for various reasons, some results suggest that its cognitive-enhancing effects are more likely to be apparent in individuals aged 50–59 years.
For people of all ages, its ability to increase vascular dilation and improve health of blood vessels means it supports brain activity, development, detoxifying mechanisms and immune function. Many of ginkgo’s most prominent benefits are tied to brain function like focus and memory
Top Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba:
Reduces risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Anxiety and Depression
ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism
Why should you consider Ginkgo Biloba ?
Ginkgo Biloba provides blood flow to the brain, and acts as an Anti-oxidant. These effects may translate into some benefits for certain medical problems, but the results have been mixed.
Some studies have found that in healthy people, ginkgo might modestly boost memory and cognitive speed. Other studies have not found a benefit.
Research shows that Ginkgo Biloba can help combat poor concentration, reverse cognitive decline and heal fatigue. It’s even useful for helping to treat cerebral insufficiency — a condition characterized by chronically low concentration, confusion, decreased physical performance, fatigue, headaches and mood changes.
Many of the brain-boosting Ginkgo Biloba benefits that researchers have discovered rest on the fact that it’s an effective anti-inflammatory that increases antioxidant activity, lowers oxidative stress and improves circulation — all important factors for maintaining cognitive health.
A link to a relevant study is provided below as (Effects of Ginkgo biloba on mental functioning….)
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
While not a total cure, overall scientific literature suggests that Ginkgo Biloba benefits people experiencing cognitive decline, including those with dementia of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Certain studies have found Ginkgo Biloba can help improve cognitive performance and memory in both older and younger adults but might be especially useful for age-related mental decline.
Most studies have investigated the effects of Ginkgo Biloba lowering Alzheimer’s symptoms in patients already undergoing standard AD treatment with cholinesterase inhibitor drugs (ChEIs). But when groups of AD patients taking additional ginkgo supplementation have been compared to those not taking ginkgo-combination therapy over at least a one-year period, significant differences in the quality of life have been reported, according to scores on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog) and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Scale. A link to this study is provided below as (Effects of Gingko Biloba supplementation in Alzheimer's….).
Ginkgo Biloba might be able to help people recover from strokes or traumatic brain injuries, too. In extract form, it’s widely used in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in China. When researchers from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine reviewed evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials involving brain injury patients, they found mixed results but reported that Ginkgo Biloba had positive effects on patient’s neurological impairment and quality of life. A link to this study is provided below as (The use of Ginkgo biloba extract in acute ischemic stroke).
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), "Gingko is widely used in Europe for treating dementia." Doctors started to use it because they thought it improved blood flow to the brain, which promotes clear thinking and better memory.
Standardized extracts are currently used for treating of a wide range of conditions including memory loss, concentration problems, mental confusion, depression, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, and headache.
Inflammatory Diseases (Asthma, PMS, aches or pains, fatigue)
Ginkgo Biloba provides better blood flow to the brain, and acts as an anti-oxidant. These effects may translate into some benefits for certain medical problems, but the results have been mixed.
Some studies have found that in healthy people, Ginkgo Biloba might modestly boost memory and cognitive speed.
The link to a study relevant to this is provided below as (Effects of Ginkgo biloba Extract on Inflammatory…..).
Another link to a study regarding the effects of Ginkgo Biloba on Asthma is provided below as (Effects of Ginkgo Biloba on airway histology…..).
Anxiety and Depression
Research suggests Ginkgo Biloba benefits the body’s ability to handle stressors and counteracts the effects of high levels of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline.
Known as an adapotgen herb that naturally raises the body’s ability to cope with trouble and worry, it might be especially helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and possibly seasonal depression, panic attacks and social phobias, too.
PMS – Premenstrual Syndrome
Some studies have shown positive effects of taking Ginkgo Biloba on reducing PMS symptoms, including mood swings, headaches, anxiety, fatigue and muscle pain. It also appears to have beneficial effects on mood and cognition in postmenopausal women and can help improve similar symptoms.
One study compared the effect of Ginkgo Biloba on two groups of women that were similar in terms of demographic characteristics and baseline overall severity of PMS symptoms. After a six-month intervention with ginkgo, there was a significant decrease in the overall severity of physical and psychological symptoms in both the group taking 40 milligrams daily of ginkgo extract and the placebo group.
A link to this study is provided below as (A randomized, placebo-controlled….)
While more evidence is still needed, Ginkgo Biloba appears to be beneficial for eye health since it improves blood flow to the eyes and fights free radical damage that can harm the cornea, macula and retina. It might be especially beneficial for older adults in preserving vision and lowering UV damage or oxidative stress to eye tissue.
The links to the abstracts of two studies regarding Ginkgo Biloba’s effect on Macular Degeneration are provided below as : (Ginkgo Biloba extract for age-related macular….) and (Use of Gingko Biloba, an extract from……).
ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism
Certain studies using combination therapies that include Ginkgo Biloba have found relief and improved concentration for people with ADHD symptoms. And because it can improve concentration, memory and task performance, it can possibly also reduce symptoms in people with dyslexia. While more research is still needed, there’s also some early evidence that Ginkgo Biloba can help reduce behaviors and symptoms of autism, making it a potential natural treatment for autism.
Improved Libido, Erectile Dysfunction, and Reproductive Health
It is believed Ginkgo Biloba has positive effects on hormonal imbalance - especially serotonin levels, blood pressure and circulation — therefore it might help some people struggling with erectile dysfunctin and libido. Ginkgo Biloba has the potential to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow to the genitals, which is important for reproductive health.
Some reports show it’s potentially effective in treating antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction predominately caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Reference to a research study regarding Ginkgo Biloba’s effect on erectile dysfunction is provided below as (Ginkgo Biloba for antidepressant-induced…..).
Headaches and Migraines
Ginkgo Biloba might be an effective way to naturally treat frequent headaches and reduce the rate and severity of migraines since it reduces pain, increases blood vessel dilation and combats stress that can all trigger an attack. Headaches can be triggered by stress, fatigue, allergies, eyestrain, poor posture, alcohol or drugs, low blood sugar, hormones, constipation, and nutritional deficiencies. The amazing benefits that Ginkgo Biloba has on our stress and fatigue, goes hand in hand with its ability to lessen headache tension.
An example of a research study regarding the effects of Ginkgo Biloba to treat migraines is referred to below as (Efficacy of Ginkgolide B in the….).
Ginkgo Biloba may be used as a natural remedy to treat Multiple Sclerosis. Referenced to a WebMD article regarding this is provided below as (Ginkgo May Boost Mental Function in MS).
Some studies have found that supplementing with CoQ10 and ginkgo together improved quality of life for people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder of the nervous system. Fibromyalgia is a widespread muscle pain typically accompanied by fatigue; headaches; and difficulty with sleep, anxiety and depression. Ginkgo Biloba can be used as a natural Fibromylagia treatment.
Reference to a research study on the effects of Ginkgo Biloba on Fibromylagia is included below as (An open, pilot study to evaluate the potential benefits….)
Instructions for use: The effects of Ginkgo Biloba seem to be doseage dependent, so the more you take the bigger results you may see — although you still should carefully stick to recommended values. Depending on the condition, doses can range from 40 to 300 milligrams daily. Some people have reported results in lowering pain and nervousness while taking lower doses around 40 milligrams daily, while other studies have found better cognitive improvements at around 120 milligrams daily. Higher levels are likely needed for older adults and those who have existing hormonal imbalances, inflammation-related symptoms, cognitive impairments and mood disorders.
Some suggested doses:
Memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease: 1 - 2 grams daily in divided doses, standardized to contain 24 percent to 32 percent flavone glycosides (flavonoids or heterosides) and 6 percent to 12 percent triterpene lactones (terpenoids).
Low concentration or fatigue (such as for ADHD, depression, mood changes): 1 - 2 grams per day.
Inflammatory diseases and those requiring improved blood flow (asthma, PMS, aches or pains, fatigue, fibromyalgia): 1 - 2 grams per day.
At this time, there is not enough research available to recommend Ginkgo Biloba to be taken by children.
Allergies: Suitable for vegetarians and contains no yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, corn, soy or wheat. Contains no sugar, starch, salt, preservatives, or artificial color, flavor or fragrance.
Warnings: In rare cases, Ginkgo Biloba may cause side effects. These include upset stomach, headaches, and allergic skin reactions.
Talk to your healthcare provider before taking ginkgo if you take any other medicines. It may interact with other medicines, especially blood thinners (anticoagulants).
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any herbal medicines.
Links to various abstracts/studies regarding Ginkgo Biloba:
Ginkgo biloba extract for age-related macular degeneration. – 2013 Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, ICEH, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
Use of Gingko biloba, an extract from the leaves of the maidenhair tree, for slowing the progression of age‐related macular degeneration – 2012 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 1.
Effects of Ginkgo biloba on mental functioning in healthy volunteers – 2003 Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Munich, Germany.
Effects of Ginkgo biloba on mental functioning in healthy volunteers. – 2003 Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Munich, Germany.
Effects of Gingko biloba supplementation in Alzheimer's disease patients receiving cholinesterase inhibitors: data from the ICTUS study. - 2014 Memory Clinic, Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, "Sapienza" University, Rome, Italy;
The use of Ginkgo biloba extract in acute ischemic stroke. – 2006 Beijing University of Chinese Medicine's Evidence-based Chinese Medicine Center for Clinical Research and Evaluation
Ginkgo May Boost Mental Function in MS – 2002 WebMD Archives
Effects of Ginkgo biloba Extract on Inflammatory Mediators (SOD, MDA, TNF-α, NF-κBp65, IL-6) in TNBS-Induced Colitis in Rats – 2006 Department of Gastroenterology, Renmin Hospital, Wuhan University, Hubei Province, Wuhan, China
Effects of Ginkgo Biloba on airway histology in a mouse model of chronic asthma. – 2009 Department of Pediatric Allergy, Dokuz Eylul University Hospital, Balcova, Izmir, Turkey
General information on Ginkgo Biloba from the University of Maryland.
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba L. in treatment of premenstrual syndrome. – 2009 Nursing and Midwifery School, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. – 1998 University of California, San Francisco, California.
Efficacy of Ginkgolide B in the prophylaxis of migraine with aura. – 2009 Headache and Cerebrovascular Center, Villa Margherita Neurology Clinic, Arcugnano, 36057, Vicenza, Italy
An open, pilot study to evaluate the potential benefits of coenzyme Q10 combined with Ginkgo biloba extract in fibromyalgia syndrome. – 2002 Phylax Ltd, Beaconsfield, UK.