The medicinal herb Ginkgo as an alternative herbal remedy – The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgos are medium-large deciduous trees, normally reaching a height of 20–35 m (66-115 feet), with some specimens in China being over 50 m (164 feet). A combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes ginkgos very long-lived, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old: A 3,000 year-old ginkgo has been reported in Shandong province in China.Common Names–ginkgo, ginkgo biloba, fossil tree, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot, baiguo, bai guo ye, kew tree, yinhsing (yin-hsing)
Latin Name–Ginkgo biloba
- Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) is particularly renowned for its content: flavonoids, terpenoids, and organic acids. Researchers have studied its benefits in supporting all phases involved in sexual desire. An open study on 63 subjects found that the percentage of women responding to the benefits of Ginkgo biloba was higher than that of men, with relative success rates of 91%! Ginkgo biloba was reported to have a positive effect on all four phases of the sexual response cycle: desire, excitement (lubrication), orgasm, and resolution (afterglow). Theories for the results include the maintenance of circulation to the genitals and norepinephrine receptor-induced effects on the brain. (Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. “Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction”. J Sex Marital Ther. 1998;24:139–143).
What Ginkgo Is Used For
- Ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and cooked seeds are occasionally eaten. More recently, ginkgo leaf extract has been used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Today, people use ginkgo 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.
Herbal Remedy Products with Ginkgo as part of the ingredients
How Ginkgo Is Used
- Extracts are usually taken from the ginkgo leaf and are used to make tablets, capsules, or teas. Occasionally, ginkgo extracts are used in skin products.
What the Science Says about Ginkgo
- Numerous studies of ginkgo have been done for a variety of conditions. Some promising results have been seen for Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, intermittent claudication, and tinnitus among others, but larger, well-designed research studies are needed.
- Some smaller studies for memory enhancement have had promising results, but a trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging of more than 200 healthy adults over age 60 found that ginkgo taken for 6 weeks did not improve memory.
- NCCAM is conducting a large clinical trial of ginkgo with more than 3,000 volunteers. The aim is to see if the herb prevents the onset of dementia and, specifically, Alzheimer’s disease; slows cognitive decline and functional disability (for example, inability to prepare meals); reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease; and decreases the rate of premature death.
- Ginkgo is also being studied by NCCAM for asthma, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, vascular function (intermittent claudication), cognitive decline, sexual dysfunction due to antidepressants, and insulin resistance. NCCAM is also looking at potential interactions between ginkgo and prescription drugs.
Side Effects and Cautions of Ginkgo
- Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. More severe allergic reactions have occasionally been reported.
- There are some data to suggest that ginkgo can increase bleeding risk, so people who take anticoagulant drugs, have bleeding disorders, or have scheduled surgery or dental procedures should use caution and talk to a health care provider if using ginkgo.
- Uncooked ginkgo seeds contain a chemical known as ginkgotoxin, which can cause seizures. Consuming large quantities of seeds over time can cause death.
- Ginkgo leaf and ginkgo leaf extracts appear to contain little ginkgotoxin.
- It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including ginkgo. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.
The wise man says:
January 12, 2024
The best diet is “just eat to maintain” and only indulge once a week.