Ginkgo biloba has a long history in traditional as well as modern medicine. The Ginkgo tree is one of the oldest living trees and one of the most studied. Ginkgo trees can live as long as 1,000 years and grow up to 120 feet tall. Ginkgo biloba supplements are among the most popular herbal medications in the United States as well as in Europe.
Why ginkgo biloba is used
In traditional medicine, ginkgo is recommended to treat circulatory disorders and to improve memory. Ginkgo is believed to improve blood circulation by helping blood vessels dilate. This allows more blood to flow through the vessels. In the brain, this additional blood flow may help improve memory. Ginkgo is also sometimes believed to help relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. These results are not conclusive and other studies indicate that ginkgo is not effective in treating these conditions.
Some people believe ginkgo can also improve vision loss caused by specific conditions. Some studies show that ginkgo may improve vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and some types of glaucoma. Other studies indicate ginkgo decrease loss of color vision in patients with diabetes.
Ginkgo is also sometimes used to treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS), especially breast tenderness. Gingko has also been studied as a treatment for high blood pressure, and to prevent cancer. There is a long list of other conditions that ginkgo has been used to treat. Further study is needed to determine whether ginkgo is effective in treating any of them.
Ginkgo leaves also contain chemicals that appear to be strong antioxidants. Antioxidants work to counteract free radicals in the body that can cause damage to cells. Free radicals occur naturally in the body. They can damage cells by altering DNA which can contribute to a variety of health problems including heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Smoking, radiation, air pollution and other toxins can increase the activity of free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body which can stop them from causing damage to cells.
How ginkgo biloba is used