Ginkgo biloba is an herb and it is gathered from one of the oldest living trees in the world today. The ginkgo biloba tree can live to be a 1,000 years old and it can grow 120 feet tall. The branches are short and the leaves are fan-shaped. The fruit of the ginkgo biloba tree is inedible and it has an offensive odor. Some reports have said that the seeds of the ginkgo biloba are poisonous, but Chinese herbal medicine have been using the seed for thousands of years. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center the leaves from this tree are one of the most extensively studied botanicals in use today.
Ginkgo biloba has many medicinal qualities used to treat circulatory disorders. It also helps to improve the brain’s thinking capacity in young and older people and it may help people with macular degeneration.
Ginkgo biloba supplements are made from the leaves of the ginkgo tree. There are over 40 components of the ginkgo tree, but so far only two of thse components hold the medicinal qualities that people need. These are the flavonoids, which are plant-based antioxidants which protect the nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels and retina. The other component is the terpenoids and these help improve blood flow. Terpenoids dilate your blood vessels and helps to get rid of the sticky platelets.
Helps Slow Down Alzheimer’s
One of the major reasons that people take ginkgo biloba is because it helps improve their memory. Because the ginkgo biloba improves the blood flow to the brain, it helps the brain to function better. When people have Alzheimer’s the nerve cells become damaged, but test and studies are showing that ginkgo biloba may help protect those nerve cells from the effects of this disease. Clinical studies are being done on the use of Ginkgo biloba and people with Alzheimer’s disease. They are finding that this simple herb may be beneficial in delaying the symptoms of dementia and improving the Alzheimer’s patients in their thinking, learning and memory. It may also help improve their activities of daily living, social behavior and as well as improving their mental outlook on life with fewer feelings of depression.
If you are trying to improve your memory or cardiovascular function, take 120 mg daily in divided doses. Check the label of your ginkgo and it should read 24 to 32 percent flavonoids and 6 to 12 percent terpenoids.
For serious Alzheimer’s or dementia, take up to 240 mg daily in 2 or 3 divided doses.
If you have intermittent claudication, which is a clinical diagnosis given for muscle pain, take 120 to 240 mg daily.
Some people, when taking ginkgo biloba, have reported an upset stomach, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat and skin allergies. Because ginkgo thins the blood, it can decrease the blood’s natural clotting ability. Some people have reported bleeding in the eye or brain.
Do not take ginkgo biloba if you are going to have surgery, because of the risk of excessive bleeding. You need to stop taking ginkgo at least 36 hours to 2 weeks before your scheduled surgery date or dentist appointment. Be sure to tell your doctor or dentist before the procedure that you take ginkgo biloba.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking ginkgo is unsafe because it could cause you to go into early labor. You may also have excessive bleeding during the delivery. If you are trying to become pregnant, discuss this with your doctor, because ginkgo biloba may interfere with your ability to become pregnant.
If you are a diabetic, check with your doctor first. You need to monitor your blood sugar more closely while taking this supplement.
Do not take ginkgo biloba if you have ever had a seizure or bleeding disorders.
Do not take ginkgo if you are taking blood thinners or other herbal supplements such as devils claw, garlic, ginger that thins your blood. By combining ginkgo with these drugs and/or herbs, can cause your body to bleed or hemorrhage uncontrollably.
Check with your doctor if you are taking metabolism drugs processed by the enzyme cyp3A4.
It is not recommended to take ginkgo if you are on antidepressants, some antibiotics, or drugs and herbs that suppress your immune system. If you are taking thiazide diuretics, do not take ginkgo biloba, because you run the risk of high blood pressure.
University of Maryland Medical Center on Ginkgo Biloba
Web MD: Ginkgo Biloba
Mayo Clinic: Ginkgo Biloba