Ginkgo biloba: The Ginkgo is a summer green tree, that is, it throws off its leaves in autumn. It reaches a height of up to 40 meters in about 100 years. Its bark is brown and forms a thick layer, which resembles cork, and is cracked in older trees. The tree has an angular crown and long, somewhat erratic branches, and is usually deep rooted and resistant to wind and snow damage. Young trees are often tall and slender, and sparsely branched; the crown becomes broader as the tree ages.
The parts of the ginkgo biloba which are used are the leaves. The ginkgo biloba leaves are usually 5–10 cm (2-4 inches) long.
Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids, alcohols, pinitol, sugar, acetic acid, caproic acid, ginkgolic acid, ginkgolide, shikmic acid, biflavonoids, proanthocyanidins, terpenes, sitosterol, wax, starch, resin, essential oil.
Is ginkgo biloba good for you?
Benefits of ginkgo biloba – Extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used pharmaceutically. In today’s medicine the ginkgo biloba (seeds and extracts from leaves) are mainly given a blood circulation-promoting effect. Plant parts or extracts are therefore taken for the purpose of mental enhancement by a supposedly improved circulation of the brain. Because of the supposed flow-promoting effect as well as the antioxidative and neuroprotective properties of Ginkgo biloba, extracts of this plant are sometimes also used for the concomitant treatment of glaucoma. For the protection against arteriosclerosis, medical studies with ginkgo extract are also carried out.
Ginkgo leaf extract has been used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus. Ginkgo biloba helps with bleeding disorders, forgetfulness, tonsillitis, headache, memory weakness, stomach problems, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, asthma, bronchitis, dysentery diseases and shop window disease.
Today, people use ginkgo biloba leaf extracts hoping to improve memory; to treat or help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia; to decrease intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries); and to treat sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, and other health conditions.
- How is ginkgo biloba used? Extracts are usually taken from the ginkgo biloba leaf and are used to make tablets, capsules, or teas. Occasionally, ginkgo extracts are used in skin products. Ginkgo biloba leaves were already used in the Middle Ages for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, frostbite, gonorrhea, skin diseases, cough, stomach disorders, tuberculosis and restlessness and were used as healing tea and wound plasters.
- Medicinal uses: Ginkgo biloba supplements are usually taken in the range of 40–200 mg per day. Recently, careful clinical trials have shown Ginkgo biloba to be ineffective in treating dementia or preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in normal people.
- Side effects: Ginkgo may have undesirable effects, especially for individuals with blood circulation disorders and those taking anticoagulants such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or warfarin, although recent studies have found that ginkgo has little or no effect on the anticoagulant properties or pharmacodynamics of warfarin in healthy subjects. Ginkgo should also not be used by people who are taking certain types of antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or by pregnant women, without first consulting a doctor.
Ginkgo biloba side effects and cautions include: possible increased risk of bleeding, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and restlessness. If any side effects are experienced, consumption should be stopped immediately.