Supplement Review: Ginkgo Biloba

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Source: Wall Paper 222

As one of the top-selling herbal supplements in Europe and the United States, Ginkgo biloba originates from a very old type of tree species. Particularly in Chinese medicine, it has been used in adults since ancient times in the belief that it improves memory and treats blood disorders.  In Chinese medicine, the leaf and the seed from the ginkgo tree are used, but in modern times only the dried green leaves are used to produce a highly concentrated and standardized Ginkgo biloba extract. Even though more than 40 components have been discovered in ginkgo, only two have proven to be medicinal. Those two are terpenoids and flavonoids. Terpenoids dilate the blood vessels and lessen the stickiness associated with platelets, which improves the blood flow. Flavonoids, which are antioxidants, protect the heart muscle, nerves, retina and blood vessels from being damaged.

Although ginkgo is commonly referred to as the brain herb, it is not clear if it improves memory related to typical age-related loss of memory in normal adults. Laboratory studies show that Ginkgo biloba can be benefitial in the treatment of dementia. Besides improving the flow of blood to the brain, it also protects the nerve cells in patients with Alzheimer disease. For people suffering from lessened blood flow going to the legs, ginkgo can be helpful because it improves the blood flow. One type of ginkgo extract, EGB 761, is specially formulated for people suffering from anxiety. According to one study, ginkgo can improve the vision of peope with glaucoma. Gingko is also being tested as a treatment for macular degeneration, premenstrual syndrome and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Gingko biloba can be found in standardized extracts of 24% to 32% flavonoids, capsules, tablets or liquid extracts. It can also be made into a tea by steeping the dried leaves.

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