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Herbs & Supplements «Ginkgo Biloba Benefits and Information»

Many scientists believe that ginkgo biloba is one of oldest living species of tree. These amazing trees can live up to 1,000 years. Ginkgo grows most predominantly in the southern and eastern United States, southern France, China, and Korea. The leaves of the tree are used for their medicinal effects.

Although the Ginkgo tree has been around for many millions of years, it has only been during the last few decades that its true value has been recognized. Among it medicinal uses ginkgo biloba shows most promise as a circulatory aid, helping to increase blood flow to the brain which may be useful for memory loss, vertigo, tinnitus, disorientation, headaches, and depression, especially in the elderly and the elderly not responding to antidepressant drugs. Increasing amounts of evidence show that gingko may in deed help to relieve cerebral insufficiency, which is defined as a decrease in blood supply to the brain.

Many individuals suffering from other circulation related conditions such as leg cramps have also reported to have experienced favorable results from using ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo offers antioxidant effects as well, which may protect both the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system from the negative effects of aging, specifically age-related mental deterioration. Some study results offer additional evidence that the antioxidants in ginkgo may also help to inhibit high blood pressure. However, no studies have provided conclusive evidence supporting many of the claimed benefits of ginkgo biloba.

More recent studies have provided promising evidence that ginko may provide beneficial effects in connection with the following conditions:
  • Age-related cognitive decline (ARCD)
  • Alzheimer's disease (early-stage)
  • Glaucoma (normal tension glaucoma)
  • Intermittent claudication
Researchers attribute the medical effects of Ginkgo biloba extract primarily to two categories of active constituents: flavone glycosides and terpene lactones. Ginkgo flavone glycosides are primarily responsible for ginkgos antioxidant effects while the terpene lactones, also known as ginkgolides and bilobalide, are believed to be responsible for ginko's ability to increase blood circulation to the brain and other parts of the body.

Ginkgo's antioxidant effects may also inhibit platelet stickyness which can decrease the risk of circulatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis.

Ginkgo may also enhance cognitive performance in healthy older adults and in people suffering from age-related cognitive decline.

Dosage and Administration

Because there are no known scientific reports about the use of ginkgo in children, we cannot offer any dosage recommendation for this age group.

General dosage recommendations for adults are 120 mg daily in two or three divided doses of 50:1 extract standardized to 25 flavone glycosides. For adults initial results often take four to six weeks, but should continue to accumulate beyond that period. You may not see any dramatic changes for six months.

Supporting Literature

Adams LL, Gatchel RJ and Gentry C. Complementary and alternative medicine: applications and implications for cognitive functioning in elderly populations. Altern Ther Health Med. 2001;7(2):52-61.

Christen Y. Oxidative stress and Alzheimer's disease. Am J Clinical Nutrition. 2000;71:621S-629S.

Drieu K. Preparation and definition of Ginkgo biloba extract. In: Rokan: Recent Results in Pharmacology and Clinic. Fünfgeld EW, ed. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 32-36.

Mashour NH, Lin GI, Frishman WH. Herbal medicine for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(9):2225-2234.

Mix JA, Crews WD. An examination of the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba extract on the neuropsychologic functioning of cognitively intact older adults. J Altern Complement Med 2000;6:219-229.