Ginkgo or ginkgo biloba is a unique species called the maidenhair tree and is native to China.
The large non-flowering tree has been existing for a long time and is used in traditional medicine and as a food source. It is also a living fossil similar to fossils that existed 270 million years ago. The tree can reach over 100 feet in height, the highest being 164 feet, and has erratic branches and deep roots. The trees are long living , some reaching 2500 years, due to its insect resisting wood and its ability to form aerial roots and sprouts. The tree has fan shaped leaves with veins and can reach up to 15 centimeters in length.
What are the ginkgo health benefits?
The extracts of the ginkgo biloba leaves are known to provide reversible and nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibition. It can also improve blood flow to tissues and organs while protecting against oxidative cell damage and blocking effects of platelet aggregation. It also prevents blood clotting leading to renal, respiratory, nervous system and cardiovasculard disorders and avoiding thrombus, myocardial ischeamia and endotoxic shock.
Ginkgo has been proven to be safe and effective for improving cognition in dementia patients but some researches say it may not prevent Alzheimer’s disease in persons without dementia. Nevertheless, this herb can help correct normal memory loss in old people and can even improve the thinking capability of younger children.
People who experience leg pains when walking due to bad blood flow can find relief in taking ginkgo biloba and allows them to walk farther.
It can also ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, improve color vision of diabetics, help people with macular degeneration and reverse the sexually-related side effects of depression medicines.
Ginkgo is considered helpful for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mountain sickness, and those suffering from hardening of the arteries.
Ginkgo is safe for many if used correctly. The safe dosage for supplements ranges from 40 to 200 milligrams per day.
Warnings on over-dosage
However, just like any supplements, taking ginkgo extract has side effects such as stomach upset, dizziness, headache, constipation, allergic skin reactions and heartbeat.
There is also concern that it might increase risk of bleeding and bruising while thinning the blood and reducing its capability to form clots. Excessive bleeding after surgery and bleeding in the eye and into the brain are reported in a few people taking ginkgo.