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10 health benefits of Ginkgo Biloba, a herbal supplement for brain and heart

An ancient herbal medicine, Ginkgo Biloba has been used to treat many ailments in the body such as anxiety and heart-related problems.
Ginkgo Biloba leaves is great for treating memory issues as well as keeping anxiety and stress at bay. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Updated: 13 May 2024, 12:56 pm IST
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Ginkgo biloba, also known as maidenhair, is a unique tree special native to China. It not just has multiple medicinal benefits, but also holds cultural significance in societies such as in East Asia. Ginkgo biloba supplements are widely available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts, across the world. These are mostly used to treat memory issues as well as blood disorders. The supplement is considered safe to be consumed, but it should be taken with caution and only after expert consultation.

The Ginkgo Biloba leaf extract, when not taken in the right dosage, may lead to headaches, dizziness, constipation as well as stomach problems and skin reactions. It is also believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Read on to learn more about Ginkgo Biloba, its benefits and the right dosage to consume.

What is Ginkgo Biloba?

The Ginkgo Biloba has been growing in China since the last thousands of years. The leaves and the seeds as well as the leaf extract are used for various medicines by the Chinese. The supplements made from Ginkgo Biloba extracts are said to help in sharpening the brain as well as aiding blood circulation.

What is Ginkgo Biloba used for?

Ginkgo Biloba has been used for generations as a herbal medicine. Some of the Ginko biloba uses include treatment of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as anxiety, depression, and memory-related problems. Besides this, it helps in exercise-induced pain and poor blood circulation in the legs. It also helps to improve cardiovascular function, as well as eyesight, and asthma-related issues.

Health benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

1. Antioxidating effect

Ginkgo Biloba has an antioxidating effect as it contains flavonoids and terpenoids. This helps keep chronic diseases, as well as ageing-related disorders at bay as it prevents the damage done by free radicals. A study, published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicines, suggests that when you combine Ginkgo Biloba extract with other medicinal plants, you can elevate its antioxidating properties.

2. Anti-inflammatory in nature

Ginkgo Biloba has anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent damage to body tissues and DNA. A study, published in Inflammopharmacology, states that its anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent neurodegeneration. It can also help to decrease inflammation in a variety of health issues such as arthritis, cancer, heart disease and stroke. A study, published in Arthritis Research and Therapy, states that the extract helps to prevent the degeneration of ECM components, that is extracellular matrix, molecules that give structure to the cells and tissues of the body, by surrounding them.

3. Helps reduce anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders

Be it dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other diseases related to mental health, the effect of Gingko Biloba on anxiety and depression is amazing. Ginkgo supplements are shown to be effective against these. There is a reduction in the rate of cognitive decline in dementia patients. This study, published in Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, evaluates the results of 21 trials with Alzheimer’s patients and revealed that when Ginkgo Biloba was given, there was an improvement that was spotted in cognitive function and activities of daily living. However, more research is required for the same.

In fact, in a study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, participants with anxiety were administered 240 mg and 480 mg of the herbal extract. The group which got the 480 mg dosage reported reduced anxiety. As far as depression goes, Ginkgo Biloba extract helps to reduce post-stroke depression, reports a study, published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

4. Aids heart health

Ginkgo Biloba extract is shown to increase blood flow in the body. A study, published in Phytotherapy Research, studied the effect of this herbal medication on patients with coronary artery disease. The results indicated an instant increase in blood flow. A 12 percent increase in nitric oxide was also witnessed. This compound helps to dilate blood vessels. Additionally, the herbal extract has protective effects on heart health and is known to prevent strokes as well.

5. Helps sharpen memory and brain function

One of the biggest Ginkgo Biloba extract benefits is that it can help make you remember things better. This study, published in Human Psychopharmacology, states that supplementing with herbal medicine helped in better mental performance, memory as well as attention span. However, more research is needed in this area.

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Ginkgo Biloba extract can help improve eye sight. Image courtesy: Freepik

6. May improve eye health

Increased blood flow to the eye was one of the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba that was observed in this study, published in Current Opinion in Opthalmology. In this study, glaucoma patients were given the herbal extract. However, more research is needed in this field.

7. May help with inflammatory respiratory diseases

Ginkgo Biloba extract helps to improve symptoms of respiratory diseases such as asthma. A study, published in the Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, claimed that when the herbal extract was mixed with glucocorticosteroid medication therapy, a therapy that fights inflammation and helps the immune system, reduced asthma symptoms in patients. Another study, published in the Nutrition Journal, mixed the herbal extract with other Chinese herbs. The participants reported a significant decrease in chronic bronchitis, cough and other respiratory symptoms.

8. May help to manage migraines

Stress-related headaches and migraines can be cured by using the herbal extract. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects help to alleviate the pain. Reduced blood flow also leads to headaches, which can be corrected by consuming the herbal extract.

9. May help with PMS

Physical and psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome can be treated by using ginkgo. A study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, states that there was a decrease in severe PMS symptoms in the group that was given the herbal extract.

10. May help treat sexual dysfunction

Since nitric oxide levels can be improved by the consumption of ginkgo, it leads to better blood circulation. Therefore, sexual dysfunction can be treated with better blood flow to these areas. However, more research is needed in this area.

Side Effects of Ginkgo Biloba

While Ginkgo Biloba has a variety of health benefits, it is very important to consult your doctor before consuming it. While the chances are low, harm can be caused by an inappropriate dosage of Ginkgo Biloba. Side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, Headaches, stomach pain and allergic reactions are observed.

Who should not take Ginkgo Biloba?

Patients who have bleeding disorders should not take the herbal supplement. The supplement should also not be mixed with other medications, especially blood thinners. A study, published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, reports a case study of an elderly patient who mixed aspirin and ginkgo. The patient reported bleeding from the iris to the anterior chamber of the eye. Another study, published in the same journal, reports that the herbal supplement should not be taken with warfarin.

Besides this, pregnant and lactating women should also refrain from taking the herbal supplement, states the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Also, epileptic patients or patients who can get seizures should avoid the supplement.

Summary

Ginkgo Biloba extract is a herbal medication used to treat a variety of illnesses. It is effective in treating anxiety and depression, as well as reducing pain. It also helps improve memory and eye sight. However, it needs to be taken in the right dosage to avoid any side effects.

FAQs

What is the right Ginkgo Biloba dosage?

The National Center of Biotechnology Information in the US suggests that 240 mg/day is the safe dosage of Ginkgo Biloba that must be administered. It also suggests that the herbal seeds must not be eaten raw. Also, it is better to start with a low dosage and build your way up. In either case, do not add this to your diet without doctor’s recommendation.

Ginkgo Biloba helps fight migraines and headaches. Image courtesy: Pexels

Can you take Ginkgo Biloba on an empty stomach?

Ginkgo Biloba is available in the form of capsules, tablets, liquid extracts as well as in the form of Ginkgo Biloba tea made from dried leaves. These ginkgo biloba supplements must be taken with meals.

Can you eat Ginkgo Biloba every day?

Yes, most of the time it is safe to consume the supplement daily. However, you must consult a healthcare professional before starting any sort of dosage.

What is Ginkgo Biloba toxicity?

Consumption of Ginkgo Biloba seeds is harmful as they are poisonous. This can lead to allergic reactions as well as convulsions and seizures. The treatment would be to discontinue the supplement as there is no antidote.

 

 

Anjuri Nayar Singh

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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