First, what is Gingko Biloba? It is a liquid extract from the leaves of a Ginkgo tree. You could say that Ginkgo trees are loners. They are living fossils; that is, organisms or species that don’t have any other organisms or species closely related to them. They are also survivors. The tree species dates back to when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, and they are known to live for at least 1000 years.
Ginkgo Biloba has over forty components, but two in specific—flavonoids and terpenoids—have been found to be beneficial to multiple parts of the body. This article only goes over some of the ways that Ginkgo Biloba can benefit your body.
1. Boosts Circulation
In the distant past, the Chinese used Gingko Biloba to treat certain blood disorders. Since then, Gingko has been partly known for increasing vascular dilation, which is when the blood vessels expand. This expansion allows for better blood flow through the vessels, which increases the amount of blood and oxygen circulating the body. Gingko also makes blood less sticky, which further increases blood flow.
In studies, Gingko has been found to be most helpful to those who have diseases that lead to intermittent claudication, or pain that is caused by restricted blood flow to the legs. In one such study, researchers found that people with intermittent claudication who took Ginkgo Biloba for 24 weeks could walk pain-free more than five times further than those with intermittent claudication who took a placebo.
2. Improves Cognition and Memory
The more efficiently that blood and oxygen flow around your body, the more efficiently the parts of your body will work. This is particularly the case for brain function. The more blood and oxygen you have flowing to your brain, the better it will perform. In fact, its role in improving cognitive functions is probably what researchers have studied Ginkgo Biloba for the most, and is what people use it for the most.
The extracts from the Ginkgo leaves boost your ability to learn and quickly recall facts, as well as preserve the brain’s ability to form and store memories. Studies have even shown that Ginkgo can also help slow the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The findings of these studies suggest that the herb might help Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients with the following:
- Thinking, learning, and cognitive function
- Performing daily activities
- Fewer depressive feelings
One study revealed that treating Alzheimer’s patients with the medication donepezil did not yield many different results than treating them with Ginkgo, other than the finding that Ginkgo had much fewer adverse side effects. This means that Ginkgo is not only a healthy, natural way to improve cognitive function and memory; it is also a safe way to do so.
3. Relieves Stress
Ginkgo is an adaptogen, meaning it increases the body’s coping abilities, especially when it comes to stress and worry. Stress is caused by elevated levels of cortisol in the brain. Ginkgo positively affects the body’s ability to handle stress and helps reduce the levels of stress hormones in the brain.
This is because of three components found in Ginkgo that have mood-boosting qualities that work like Monoamine Oxidase (MOA) inhibitors by increasing the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain.
Ginkgo is gaining traction as an option to alleviate some symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has shown a degree of effectiveness when administered to elderly patients suffering from both anxiety and adjustment disorders. A study showed Ginkgo to also be effective in treating anxiety symptoms in those who have mental decline.
4. Boosts Energy
Fatigue is another area of expertise for this herb. When you are fatigued, you put your adrenal glands under a lot of stress. This can lead to an increase in free radicals, also known as oxidative stress, in your system, which can damage or kill cells within the body when they react with them.
Researchers have found that Ginkgo Biloba can help protect the adrenal glands, the brain, and the liver from free radicals. And with a decrease in oxidative stress, you will have more energy.
5. Improves Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is the most commonly diagnosed disorder among children. The most prescribed medications for treating ADD are Adderall and Ritalin. But the problem with medications such as these is that they can leave children in a fog, not feeling like themselves, and they are not guaranteed to work for every child.
Ginkgo Biloba is a natural substance that helps fill the gaps that medicines and therapies don’t. And because it is natural, there are very few side effects. Because Ginkgo helps improve concentration, cognition, and memory, it is in an ideal position to treat symptoms of ADD, such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity. A German study of 20 children showed that Ginkgo effectively treated their ADD symptoms.
6. Helps Maintain Eye Health
We mentioned earlier that Ginkgo helps improve blood flow. One of the areas of the body that benefits from this increase in blood flow are the eyes. One study has revealed that Ginkgo can help improve the vision of patients with glaucoma. Another study suggests that it may also help lower the risk of macular degeneration.
Because Ginkgo is high in antioxidants, it increases your body’s ability to defend against oxidative stress, which can harm the retina, cornea, and macula, and are the cause of many of the common eye problems seen in older adults. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Beta-carotene can safely interact with the free radicals, preventing damage to your cells.
7. Improves Mood
Another exciting benefit of Ginkgo is that it has mood boosting capabilities.
A group of older volunteers that were studied showed that Ginkgo Biloba could improve both mood and self-assessed-task-performance.
Ginkgo could potentially benefit postmenopausal women as well. Regarding control on cognition and mood, ginkgo was found to have a positive effect.
Ginkgo Biloba has an extensive history of being used for medicinal purposes. It is a natural substance, and as such, it does not have many of the harmful side effects that medications have. It can increase circulation, improve cognition, boost energy; prevent the progression or onset of certain ailments such as glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, and macular degeneration; and treat the symptoms of ADD, asthma, and anxiety.
You can take Ginkgo Biloba a few different ways. It comes in capsules and tablets, soaps and shampoos, or liquid extract. If none of these options suit you, though, there are also many powders and drinks out there that contain Ginkgo Biloba. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking Ginkgo Biloba, though, as it may not react well with some medications.
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