Ginkgo biloba has been used for 5,000 years in China for a variety of conditions such as memory loss and respiratory ailments. Today, ginkgo is one of the most widely recommended herbs in Europe and the US where it is taken to boost memory, improve mood and alertness, stimulate brain function and to delay the effects of aging. Physicians in Europe routinely recommend ginkgo to their patients. Every year, physicians around the world write over 10 million prescriptions for ginkgo, and in Germany it is the most widely prescribed herb. Now physicians and researchers in the US are uncovering the medical properties of this amazing herb and are strongly recommending it to their patients.
Ginkgo is one of the most well-known and researched herbs with over 1,000 studies to date. Numerous studies have shown that Ginkgo improves circulation to the brain, ears, eyes and other parts of the body. By improving circulation, ginkgo increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the brain leading to an improvement in short term memory, alertness, and the ability to concentrate. Evidence suggests that ginkgo also directly enhances communication between brain cells. Ginkgo is the ideal herb for those who have experienced a decline in mental function or for those who simply want to boost their brain power.
Because of its ability to increase blood flow to all parts of the body, ginkgo can benefit those conditions that are related to poor circulation including tinnitus (ringing in the ears), impotence due to low blood flow and poor circulation to the extremities. Ginkgo may also help prevent conditions caused by poor circulation including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, stroke and heart disease.
Ginkgo is considered by many to be the perfect natural substance to protect against the effects of aging. Ginkgo has strong antioxidant properties that may help protect the brain and nervous system from age-related declines in mental function. The brain and nervous system are particularly vulnerable to free radical damage. Free radicals are free-roaming, unstable molecules that invade and destroy cells. Free radical damage is widely accepted as being a major factor in the aging process and in age- related deterioration such as in Alzheimer's disease. Studies show that substances in ginkgo combat dangerous free radicals and help to protect the brain and nervous system. Several well-designed studies, including a multi-center study published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association, have documented the benefits of using ginkgo in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Research into the circulatory effects of ginkgo have shown that it acts to thin the blood by inhibiting a substance known as platelet-activating factor (PAF). PAF is a chemical released by cells that causes blood platelets to stick together and clot. High levels of PAF are associated with damage to nerve cells, poor blood flow to the brain and aging. By inhibiting PAF and thinning the blood, ginkgo may help protect against heart attacks and stroke. Research has shown that ginkgo can protect the brain and nervous system from periods of hypoxia (lack of oxygen). This indicates a usage for ginkgo in stroke patients.
In considering a ginkgo supplement, it is important to choose a high quality standardized extract. The product should be standardized to 24 % flavonglycosides and 6 % terpene lactones. This is the standard used in scientific studies. The usual dose is 60 mg twice a day.