Ginkgo Biloba is a popular supplement and one of the top-selling herbal medicines.
Ginkgo Biloba extract is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. People use it for a variety of reasons.
The therapeutic properties of the ginkgo plant are said to include treatment for blood disorders and memory problems, enhancement of cardiovascular function and to improve eye health.
Gingko contains high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids, antioxidants that provide protection against oxidative cell damage from harmful free radicals. In this way, antioxidants are believed to help reduce the risk of cancer.
Also known as the maidenhair tree, ginkgo is one of the oldest species of tree in the world. The trees can grow more than 130 feet tall and can live for over 1,000 years. Some trees in China are said to be over 2,500 years old.
The tree is considered to be a "living fossil," meaning that it has continued to survive even after major extinction events.
The extract can be taken as a supplement, and the dried leaves of the plant can be used to make tea.
Fast facts about Ginkgo Biloba
- Ginkgo Biloba is a top-selling supplement containing an extract that comes from a tree.
- It may help with cognitive function.
- Traditional uses include soothing bladder infection and increasing sexual energy.
- People who use some types of antidepressants should not use this supplement.
Ginkgo Biloba may offer a range of health benefits, including improving cognitive function. Traditional uses are wide-ranging, but not all of them have been confirmed by research.
Memory enhancement, dementia, and Alzheimer's
Ginkgo Biloba special extract EGb 761 may assist with dementia, but more research is required.
There is some evidence indicating that ginkgo can help people with dementia, although more studies are required to confirm this.
The benefits may include:
- improved thinking and memory
- better social behavior
better ability to perform everyday tasks
One study found that an extract of Ginkgo Biloba, known as EGb 761, was clinically effective in treating Alzheimer's dementia.
Other research, published in JAMA, similarly concluded that EGb 761 was safe to use and possibly effective in stabilizing and possibly improving cognitive and the social functioning patients with dementia for between 6 and 12 months.
Researchers believe that ginkgo improves cognitive function because it promotes good blood circulation in the brain and protects the brain and other parts from neuronal damage.
However, other research suggests that ginkgo may not improve memory among people who are healthy.
Ginkgo may help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, found that people with a generalized anxiety disorder who took ginkgo experienced better anxiety relief than those who took a placebo.
However, people who take Xanax for anxiety should not use ginkgo, because ginkgo may reduce the drug's effectiveness.