5 Important Health Benefits Of Ginkgo Extract
In the form of powdered root and bark, ginkgo has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The ginkgo tree – a large, attractive plant with distinctive leaves – was introduced to Europe around 1730, where it was mostly grown in private arboretums. The ginkgo is a remarkable plant; trees grow to 130 ft. tall and live for over 1000 years, placing them among the most long-lived of earth’s lifeforms. Beside its use in medicine, roasted ginkgo seeds are eaten in China and Japan, and ginkgo leaf extract is regularly used in cosmetics.
It wasn’t until recently that the health benefits attributed to ginkgo extract were scientifically explored in the West. This started with the fad for Chinese medicine in the 1990s, and has since become a mainstream part of the health supplementation market with several well attested health benefits.
1) Eye problems
Ginkgo extract is purported to help a range of eye conditions; notably glaucoma, diabetes-related eye disease and macular degeneration.
2) Mental health conditions
In the broad category of mental health and personality disorders, ginkgo extract has been taken to reduce anxiety in people with schizophrenia, ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome and to alleviate seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
3) Dementia & Alzheimer’s
Age-related dementia, memory disorders and Alzheimer’s disease can all be reportedly treated by ginkgo extract.1
4) Respiratory Conditions
Several common respiratory conditions could potentially be treated by ginkgo extract, including bronchitis, asthma and the respiratory effect of allergies.
5) General Health Benefits
A whole host of general health benefits have been attributed to ginkgo extract. When taken orally it supposedly has a stimulant effect, used to treat chronic fatigue and ME. It has been linked to improved gallbladder and liver function, lower blood pressure and for improving joint pain. It can treat high cholesterol and prevent diarrhoea. It has also been taken to lessen the malaise experienced by people undergoing chemotherapy and by sufferers of long-term Lyme disease. Ginkgo is even linked to improved sexual performance, especially to counteract the unwanted side effects of some SSRI anti-depressants.
How Does Ginkgo Work?
With such a long, diverse list of reported health benefits it is fair to ask what it is about ginkgo that actually helps. A thread running through many of these conditions is that they are age-related. Dementia, heart conditions, macular degeneration and joint pain all occur (or worsen) as people age. All these conditions may be linked to reduced blood flow – as can sexual disorders in men. Ginkgo extract appears to help these conditions by improving blood circulation.
It is important to note that not all the supposed health benefits of ginkgo have been backed up by clinical studies. However, an American study from 19972 did link ginkgo supplementation to improved cognitive function in dementia patients when taken consistently for six months to a year. The same study also concluded that ginkgo supplementation was safe. Subsequent research from 2012, however, questioned the benefits of ginkgo for healthy individuals3, while also ruling out any adverse risk.
In conclusion, ginkgo extract supplements may well have a generally beneficial effect due to a positive improvement of blood flow. This may contribute to the treatment of age-related or chronic health conditions - but it should not be approached as a miracle cure.
We offer a high purity ginkgo biloba extract through our Hellenia online store, available in 120 mg capsules. Explore the benefits of ginkgo for yourself as part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Note: Ginkgo is not compatible with some anti-depressants and anti-anxiety treatments, such as Xanax, as it may reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. Please consult your doctor if in any doubt before taking ginkgo supplements.