Ginkgo Biloba Introduction
Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest tree species on earth. This plant originates from parts of Asia but it has also been found in Europe and the US from the 1730s. Ginkgo Biloba has been used for medicinal purposes for more than two centuries. The plant is very common in Chinese herbal treatments for different ailments.
Due to its wide usage and huge demand in recent times, several studies have been carried out to pinpoint the efficacy of the plant and whether it can harm the body. All of these studies have confirmed the medicinal benefits of this tree. Before we get into these benefits, let’s first try and understand what this plant is and how it works.
What is Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo Biloba is an extract from a Chinese plant known as Ginkgo tree or maidenhair tree. This extract is scientifically referred to as Salisburia Adiantifolia.
This tree has been subjected to so many clinical trials in different countries and the one thing they all pointed out is the plants remarkable benefits particularly in matters of the cognitive and circulatory system. The Chinese have been enjoying this and more benefits from dried ginkgo leaves but recent research shows that standardized ginkgo biloba extract is just as effective.
The best part about this extract is that we can enjoy their benefits without having to worry about any major adverse reactions.
How does Ginkgo biloba Work?
Ginkgo contains two key ingredients; terpenoids and flavonoids. These compound have antioxidant properties that protect the cells of your body. They help in preventing oxidative stress which is usually rampant among the aged. In general, this slows down the aging process and diseases that come with it.
According to the University of Maryland, the antioxidant properties of Ginkgo offer effective protection to the heart muscles, nerves, retina and blood vessels. Additionally, they reduce the dilation of blood vessels and prevent platelets from becoming sticky.
People of different ages have been able to enjoy the cognitive benefits of Ginkgo but recent trials show us that the aged (50-59 years) are the ones who are likely to witness more enhanced brain performance than younger individuals. This is why there is even a report in the International Journal of Physiotherapy and Psychopharmacology explaining that the tree is the leading herbal remedy for Alzheimer’s diseases and other cognitive disorders.
Ginkgo Biloba is also believed to boost brain performance by increasing the uptake of glucose by the brain cells. As more sugars are broken down and absorbed by the brain cells, transmission of nerve signals becomes more efficient and this results in better memory, heartbeat, mood, eye health and overall performance of the body.
Proven Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba
If online articles and publications are anything to go by, then Ginkgo Biloba can treat virtually anything. Most, if not all, online retailers, will publish anything about this herb just to get you into clicking that “Place Order” button. The truth, however, is that Ginkgo Biloba cannot do most of the things that are claimed online.
The following, are some of the proven benefits of this extract and this is based on independent clinical trials done on humans.
- Improves Concentration
There is more than one research confirming Ginkgo’s ability to treat cerebral insufficiency. This is a disease that results in confusion, low concentration, fatigue, headaches, mood swings and poor physical performance. By reducing oxidative stress, improving circulation and increasing antioxidant properties, the extract is able to maintain optimal cognitive health.
One key study that proves this benefit is from the University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Psychology. Their trial involved healthy adults who were placed under a monitored dosage of ginkgo for four weeks. At the end of the research period, the researchers found that there was a significant improvement in the mental health and overall quality of life among the individuals taking the extract compared to another placebo group. The adults under ginkgo supplementation enjoyed better emotional health and motor performance with zero side effects.
This study didn’t just prove the ability of ginkgo to improve one’s concentration but also confirmed the safe nature of this tree.
- Prevents Anxiety and Depression
Ginkgo improves your body’s ability to deal with stressors and prevents the increase of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This assists in getting rid of depression, mood swings, and nervousness.
Generally, anxiety disorder patients taking ginkgo have been able to adapt to troubling and worrying situations in a more calm way. If you are one of the individuals that have to deal with seasonal depression, social phobias, and panic attacks then this extract is your ultimate solution.
- Protects you from Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Ginkgo does an incredible job of improving mental functions. Individuals experiencing mental performance decline due to aging stand a better chance of enjoying this benefit than anyone else and this is why the extract is very useful when it comes to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
You should understand that ginkgo biloba is not really a cure for Alzheimer’s. Research on how this extract can eradicate Alzheimer’s is still ongoing. Instead, the extract helps to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Research shows us that ginkgo does an even better job when it is used alongside other Alzheimer’s drugs and this has been confirmed by going through the Activities of Daily Living and Alzheimer’s disease Assessment Scales.
- Treats Traumatic Brain Injuries and Stroke
In China, ginkgo has successfully been used to treat acute ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injuries. The Beijing University of Chinese Medicine carried out 14 randomized trials involving subjects with brain injuries. In 9 out of the 14 studies, ginkgo biloba extracts were found to have had a positive effect in improving neurological impairment and overall quality of life.
Another study was done in seven Chinese hospitals within the Jiangsu Province. In this study, ginkgo was used with aspirin on 438 patients with neurological and cognitive deficits caused by acute ischemic stroke. The test group was treated with 450mg of ginkgo biloba and 100mg of aspirin daily while the control group was only given the aspirin. At the end of the study, the scientists recorded a significant difference in cognitive controls between the two groups and this was attributed to ginkgo supplementation.
The ability of this extract to improve cognitive performance has also led to the exploration of its potency in treating psychological disorders such as schizophrenia. A few studies looking into this report that using the extract with antipsychotic drugs can help in reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia. More studies are needed to conclusively prove this.
- Reduces PMS Symptoms
PMS and the post-menopause period is marked with lots of symptoms that women usually find annoying. Headaches, mood swings, anxiety, muscle pain, fatigue are just but a few of the problems that ladies have to deal with during this period.
Ginkgo biloba offers a natural solution to all these symptoms. In 2008, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a report involving a study of two similar groups of women with PMS symptoms. One group was given 40mg of ginkgo extract daily while the other was used as a control. After six months, the group taking ginkgo experienced less painful psychological and physical symptoms compared to their counterparts.
In overall, the more you take ginkgo biloba extracts the more you are likely to enjoy its benefits. However, the recommended dosages range from one individual to another depending on the condition in question.
- Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems should be treated with divided daily dosages of 120-240mg.
- Asthma, PMS, fatigue, pains and other inflammatory diseases should be treated with 120-240mg per day.
Take note that ginkgo needs between 4-6 weeks before you start noticing its impact. The effects may come sooner but don’t panic or stop using the extract if the benefits delay.
Ginkgo Biloba is a very safe natural remedy with no severe side effects linked to it. For patients taking other types of medications, consulting with your physician before using this extract is a good idea. Children should avoid taking ginkgo supplements.
Natural herbs are much better than pharmaceutical drugs. An effective natural remedy will provide more than one benefit in the safest way possible. Ginkgo Biloba is one of such remedies. The extract has undergone robust clinical studies proving both its benefits and safety. Just imagine how well your life will get when you live a depression-free life with better brain performance!