What is Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo Biloba is an herb derived from the maidenhair tree. It is well known for its Antioxidant and detoxifying properties.
It has been used for many years as a remedy for various conditions. Both the leaves and seeds were and are still used as an extract to provide the supplement Ginkgo Biloba.
The trees leaves have been used more and more in the expanding market for the use of alternative medicines. In the past the seeds were used more often as a source of extract for the remedy.
Ginkgo is the most widely used phytomedicine that is being sold in Europe, and is one of the top 10 best selling alternative medicines in America.
Ginkgo is also a neroprotective agent which is believed to be where it's actions come from for its benefits as well as its antioxidant properties.
What is the history of Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo Biloba is originally from Asia, derived from the maidenhair tree. This species of tree is known as the 'living fossil tree' as it has no living relatives, and originated from the prehistoric age.
Seven million years ago the Ginkgo tree had disappeared off fossil records, and it was thought that it had become extinct. A German scientist called Engelbert Kaempfer re-discovered the tree in 1691 in Japan, where it was studied for its healing properties.
This Chinese tree could be one of the oldest living seed plants, with its fan shaped leaf and yellowy seeds. This plant has been mostly used in Chinese medicine, and its leaves were used in western medicine. It was researched and published in a book called Chinese medicinal herbs in 1911. The seeds were used to help treat asthma, coughs, and irritable bladders.
After the 1970's botanists and other professionals began to investigate Ginkgo's qualities as a medicine with more intensity. They tried to discover other properties that the Gingko could hold, and what other conditions it could help.
What conditions can Ginkgo Biloba help?
There are various conditions where Ginkgo has been used to help, showing beneficial effects in all, these are;
Arterial circulatory problems -
can cause blood clots and stop or restrict the blood flow to important
parts of the body and organs like the heart. Ginkgo can help to
stop blood clots forming and help to keep a healthy circulation
Cerebral atherosclerosis -
This condition is when
there is hardening and blockages of the arteries. Ginkgo can help
to relieve these symptoms by softening the arteries and helping
to unblock the blood vessels.
Cerebral edema -
This condition is where the body
tissue contains a high amount of fluid. This condition can affect
the vessels, and Ginkgo can help to relieve this fluid tension in
the blood vessels.
Cochlear deafness -
This condition causes progressive
deafness within younger adults, and is usually inherited. When this
condition affects the blood vessels Ginkgo has been known, and suggested
to help the blood vessels return to normal reliving some symptoms
- Sometimes when sight is affected
by blood vessels Ginkgo can help to relieve some blindness that
is suffered. Not many studies have been done on this particular
condition on whether Ginkgo is effective. Ginkgo's qualities
to help blood vessels return to normal could help with particular
Impairment to memory/ability to concentrate -
has been noted in some clinical trials to aid memory. There has
been extensive research on this factor, but many people try taking
Ginkgo to try and help aid their memory. It helps to increase the
blood flow to the brain which is usually the common cause for brain
and memory conditions.
Arterial obstruction -
Ginkgo helps to restore
the natural blood flow in blocked arteries. It is used widely used
to help treat conditions where this appears, and studies have shown
positive effects that Ginkgo has had as a treatment.
Reynard's disease -
This condition is when the
hands and feet are exposed to the cold and can not warm back up
again. This is because the blood vessels are not flowing properly
to these extremities. Ginkgo can help to restore the proper blood
flow which helps the hands and feet to recover from the cold, helping
relieve the symptoms of Reynard’s such as pins and needles
Alzheimer's disease -
This disease takes away the
ability for the person to do every day things. People can lose their
memory through this disease, and is a degenerative disease. Ginkgo
has been used to help the symptoms of this condition, helping to
aid alertness and memory.
Ginkgo has also had positive effects
on helping people who suffer from vertigo, by relieving the dizziness,
What recent scientific tests have been done on Ginkgo Biloba?
There have been many studies done on Ginkgo Biloba and its effectiveness on helping to treat various conditions.
The Journal of the American medical association published a scientific trial which assessed how effective Ginkgo was at helping treat memory disorders including Alzheimer's disease. This 6 week trial showed that Ginkgo didn't help in any way to relieve the symptoms of this disease or any other condition.
Smaller studies have shown otherwise though. Ginkgo has been shown to help to reduce symptoms after six weeks, it might be suggested that Ginkgo may only be effective after six weeks treatment.
Other studies have also shown that Ginkgo is effective in helping to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders, as well as other conditions which involve the blood vessels.
NCCAM (National center for complementary and alternative medicine) is currently holding a clinical trial consisting of 3,000 volunteers. This trial is trying to determine whether or not Ginkgo can help to prevent the on-set of Alzheimer's disease and other conditions similar to it.
The NCCAM are also conducting trials to see whether Ginkgo can help to ease the symptoms of asthma, multiple sclerosis, vascular function, and cognitive decline. They are also looking at possible reactions between Ginkgo and prescription drugs.
There has also been other trials conducted in the 1970's on the healing properties of Ginkgo, it has been used for many centuries to help ease many conditions such as asthma, and eczema.
Is Ginkgo Biloba safe to take?
All herbal products are
There has been some evidence to show that Ginkgo Biloba could increase some bleeding risks, as its properties involve helping the blood flow. People on anticoagulant drugs or who are scheduled for surgery or dental appointments should be careful as it may cause extra bleeding, due to thinning of the blood.
Ginkgo's uncooked seeds contain a chemical called ginkgotoxin. This chemical has been known to cause seizures when taken in large amounts over a long time period. The Ginkgo leaf on the other hand contains little of this ginkgotoxin chemical. Most extracts are taken from the leaf to produce the supplement.
Who should not take Ginkgo Biloba?
People on blood thinning medication should consult their doctor before taking Ginkgo as it can help to thin the blood, which could cause serious problems. Also people who are waiting for surgery or any dental operations should not take Ginkgo Biloba due to the same reasons that it helps to thin the blood, causing excessive bleeding.
You should always consult your doctor or physician before taking Ginkgo Biloba if you are on any medication, to assure that it is safe to take with that drug or drugs.
Is Ginkgo Biloba safe to take with other products?
Ginkgo, can although a natural product, cause some reactions with certain drugs. You should always consult your doctor before taking this product as it is not completely known what drugs Ginkgo will and won't react with.
What is doctors
responses to Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo is one of the top 10 selling herbal remedies within the United States. There have been over 120 articles published on this product, from clinical trials mostly conducted in Europe, by doctors, scientists, and physicians.
Doctors have agreed that Ginkgo is a useful treatment for certain symptoms and conditions, especially in older people. Some doctors have accepted that for the elderly this herbal treatment is very useful and can make a real difference to their lives.
Many doctors and physicians have been prescribing Ginkgo for Alzheimer's patients and people suffering from dementia, as it has shown good results in some people. Most doctors are open to alternative treatments and should be consulted before taking Ginkgo Biloba.
much should I take, and who can take it?
The correct dosage of Ginkgo Biloba is different for different people, and depends on what you are taking the product for.
Many supplement companies will have different strengths of purity of the herb in their tablets. A 500mg strength tablet could contain only 50mg of pure herb extract; this is quite a low dose. While a 6000mg tablet could contain 120mg of pure herb extract, which is a high strength of Ginkgo. To make sure you know the real strength of the Ginkgo you should ask your supplement company or your doctor.
There is no particular strength that is recommended for this product, as lower strengths can work brilliantly for some people and have no effect on others, but you should be careful when taking high doses, and always consult your doctor about what strength to take.
Most people can take Ginkgo Biloba with no problems, but if you experience any side effects you should stop taking the supplement straight away, and consult your doctor. People on any type of medication should always consult their doctor first before taking Ginkgo, and children should only take it when prescribed by a doctor or physician.
Are there any side effects or warnings?
Ginkgo has been known to cause some side effects in some people these are; headaches, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, allergic skin reactions, and gastrointestinal upset. Some more severe allergic reactions have also been reported when taking Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo can also cause bleeding, so people with blood disorders, or taking blood thinning medication should not take Ginkgo or consult their doctor before taking it. Anyone waiting for surgery or dental surgery should also avoid taking Ginkgo Biloba.
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