– The ginkgo biloba tree is exceptionally hardy. Its deep roots make it resistant to the wind and enable it to find moisture in harsh environments. The ginkgo biloba tree has existed for millions of years and is not similar to any other living species of tree, making it unique. Some of the ginkgo biloba trees alive today are over a thousand years old. The species is native only to China, but is widely cultivated across the globe due to its popularity as a culinary delicacy and herbal supplement.
The seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree are prized as a delicacy in Asian cuisine. They are served on special occasions, such as weddings and Chinese New Year celebrations. Ginkgo biloba supplements are generally made from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree.
Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids which have antioxidant properties that protect the body cells from free radical damage, a by-product of normal metabolic reactions in the body that may build up as we age. Free radicals can also develop in the body as a result from exposure to environmental pollutants, including cigarette smoke. Laboratory studies have shown that flavonoids play a role in protecting the nerves and blood vessels from damage. READ MORE ABOUT GINKO BILOBA »
In addition to flavonoids, ginkgo biloba contains high levels of terpenoids which also have antioxidant properties. Some researchers believe terpenoids help improve circulation by dilating the blood vessels. Terpenoids may also reduce the tendency of platelets to adhere to one another and to the walls of blood vessels, helping blood to flow more freely. These findings prompted studies to evaluate the effects of ginkgo biloba in claudication, a condition in which there is reduced blood flow in the legs causing pain. In some clinical studies, ginkgo biloba was shown to alleviate the symptoms of intermittent claudication by increasing blood flow, enabling participants in the study to walk further than before without pain. However, results have been mixed and the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association believe that the benefit has not yet been established for ginkgo biloba in the treatment of claudication.
Research has also examined the benefit of ginkgo biloba for its potential positive effect on memory and thinking in patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Some scientific studies have shown that ginkgo biloba may have the potential to help mitigate the effects of memory loss by protecting vital nerve cells. Other studies have found contradictory results. As a result, there is no conclusive evidence regarding the efficacy of gingko biloba for the treatment of these conditions at this time. Ginkgo is also sometimes suggested in the prevention of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease however results from many studies have shown it to be ineffective.
There are a variety of ginkgo biloba supplements available at drugstore.com including tablets, capsules and liquid extracts. Consult with your physician first before incorporating any supplements or herbs into your diet. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, herbal and dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional. You should read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before adding ginkgo biloba into your diet. BACK TO TOP »