Ginkgo biloba, which is also known as maidenhair, is an ancient plant extract that has been used in China medicinally to heal various health ailments for thousands of years. Ginkgo, which goes by the scientific name Salisburia adiantifolia, has been widely studied for its effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, platelet-forming and circulation-boosting effects. According to current research, ginkgo biloba benefits include improved cognitive function, positive mood, increased energy, improved memory and reduced symptoms related to multiple chronic diseases.
Ginkgo leaf is often taken by mouth for memory disorders like Alzheimer's disease. According to a report in the International Journal of Phyotherapy and Phytopharmacology, ginkgo biloba is “currently the most investigated and adopted herbal remedy for cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).” Ginkgo leaf is also used for thinking disorders related to Lyme disease, chemotherapy, and depression. Ginkgo might be able to help people recover from strokes or traumatic brain injuries. Some studies have even found that in combination with antipsychotic drugs, ginkgo might be an effective supplemental treatment for people with schizophrenia and serious mental disorders.
Many of the brain-boosting effects of ginkgo biloba that researchers have discovered rest on the fact that it is an effective anti-inflammatory agent that increases antioxidant activity, lowers oxidative stress and improves circulation — all important factors for maintaining cognitive health.
Some people use ginkgo to treat sexual performance problems. Sometimes it is used to reverse the sexual performance problems that can be caused due to taking certain antidepressants known as SSRIs.
Some people use it for other problems related to poor blood flow in the body, including leg pain when walking called claudication and Raynaud's syndrome, which is a painful response to cold, especially in the fingers and toes.
It is also used for conditions that seem to be caused by reduced blood flow in the brain, especially in older people. These conditions include memory loss, headache, hearing disorders, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vertigo, difficulty concentrating and mood disturbances.
Some early research has shown positive effects of taking ginkgo 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.
Ginkgo appears to be beneficial for eye health since it improves blood flow to the eyes and fights free radial 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. Some studies have found ginkgo to be effective at lowering the risk for age-related macular degeneration thanks to its platelet-activating factors and prevention of membrane damage caused by free radicals.
Ginkgo helps treat and prevent ADHD. Certain studies have shown that gingko can improve concentration in people with ADHD. Since it can improve concentration, memory and task performance, it can also possibly reduce symptoms in people suffering from dyslexia.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, gingko lowers inflammation, improves antioxidant activity and has positive effects on nerve functioning. This helps lower symptoms of asthma and several people have reported less difficulty in breathing while taking ginkgo.
Anxiety. Research shows that taking a specific ginkgo extract for 4 weeks can reduce symptoms of anxiety. Mental function. Although some conflicting evidence exists, most research suggests that ginkgo can slightly improve memory, speed of thinking, and attention in healthy adults. Doses of 120-240 mg per day seem to be as effective as or more effective than higher doses up to 600 mg per day. Dementia. Some evidence shows that taking ginkgo leaf extract by mouth modestly improves symptoms of Alzheimer's, vascular, or mixed dementias. However, there are concerns that findings from many of the early ginkgo studies may not be reliable. Although most clinical trials show ginkgo helps for symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, there are some conflicting findings, suggesting it may be hard to determine which people might benefit.
Ginkgo is considered to be safe for most people. It can, however, cause some minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions. There is some concern that ginkgo leaf extract might increase the risk of liver and thyroid cancers when consumed in extremely high doses. Ginkgo fruit and pulp can cause severe allergic skin reactions and irritation of mucous membranes. Ginkgo might cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, mango rind, or cashew shell oil. Eating more than 10 roasted seeds per day can cause difficulty breathing, weak pulse, seizures, loss of consciousness, and shock. The FRESH SEED is even more dangerous. Fresh seeds are poisonous and can cause seizures and even death. Ginkgo is unsafe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Consuming excess amounts can increase risks of bleeding in those suffering from bleeding disorders or reduce clotting during surgeries.
Ginkgo is native parts of Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea, but it has been grown in Europe since around 1730 and in the United States since around 1784.Ginkgo biloba trees require well-draining soil to thrive. They grow in heavy clay, loam or light, sandy soil, but of all these soil types, sandy soil is best for the ginkgo tree. Regular watering and a well balanced fertilizer regime is also recommended, at least until maturation — about the time it reaches 35 to 50 feet tall. Male trees should be planted to avoid the smelly fruit. However, trees from seed may take more than 20 years to flower and reveal their gender.