Herb of the Month: Ginkgo Biloba

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Ginkgo biloba

We’re all familiar with Ginkgo biloba. We have heard the praise of this amazing herb, which has been used in many categories—memory support, circulation, breathing and lung support, support for equilibrium, and just as an herbal tonic for overall health and wellness. Also known as gingko, or the maidenhair tree, it is the last survivor of the Ginkgophyta division.

Ginkgo has been found in fossils dating back 270 million years. The tree is native to central China, and it has long been used in traditional medicine. It is also used as a food source—the leaves for tea, and the bitter, sometimes even toxic nuts or seeds as food.

Ginkgo was first used in the later part of the 15th century in China, and in countries like Germany and other parts of Europe, it has been used for medical purposes since the mid 1960s. Ginkgo is even categorized as a medicine in many parts of Europe because of its success and benefits that have been and are being studied around the world.

Today’s studies show it to be a safe and effective herb for supporting many bodily functions and for supportive body repair. Terpenoids and flavonoids, both strong antioxidants, make up a large portion of this herb’s neurosupport benefits, as well as its protective antioxidant properties. And researchers reporting in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology note that Ginkgo biloba is the most investigated herb for cognitive disorders (1).

Today, Ginkgo’s popularity has grown. Consumers worldwide are using Ginkgo for cognitive function; focus; concentration; balance with vertigo and equilibrium; breathing and lung support; motor performance; and for symptoms related to anxiety and PMS.

Is it effective in all of these categories? Feedback is quite positive around the world, but of course as with all herbal medicines, reviews are mixed. That said, when you think about the vast amount of studies and feedback (both written and verbal), it seems like it is well worth a try. This herb has been used for over a 1,000-year period, with written articles and dated books stating it’s possible benefits, so we may need to give kudos where kudos are due.

People who are interested in trying it should talk to a medical practitioner before starting Ginkgo as a supplement—and those who are presently on blood thinners, anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, or who have a tendency towards bleeding need to discuss this, as Ginkgo biloba can thin the blood and interfere with some medications.

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24548724 Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, ISSN: 1618-095X, Vol: 21, Issue: 6, Page: 888-92 “Effects of Ginkgo biloba supplementation in Alzheimer’s disease patients receiving cholinesterase inhibitors: data from the ICTUS study.”

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