Ginkgo has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to cure many ailments but recently studies have shown that has promise in treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
This herb which is sometimes called ginkgo biloba, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot or just simply ginkgo comes from the leaves of the ginkgo tree which is one of the oldest trees in the world said to have been growing on earth for over 150 million years. Ginkgo leaf extracts can be seen today in the form of tease tablets or capsules but in traditional Chinese medicine proceeds were most often used.
Traditionally Ginkgo has been used to treat conditions such as tinnitus, bronchitis, asthma and fatigue but today it is finding uses in treating dementia, multiple sclerosis and sexual dysfunction as well as tinnitus and a host of other health problems.
In recent times over 300 studies have been done on ginkgo and there is evidence that it helps many health problems and particularly those to do with the brain. This is because ginkgo works to increase the blood flow to the brain having positive effects in the cerebellum in particular. It is said to enhance memory and may help counteract mental fatigue and lack of energy which we take for granted as signs of aging.
Due to its benefits of increased circulation, ginkgo is also used to relieve anxiety and tension. It is also a powerful antioxidant and may help prevent cholesterol from turning into plaque which can then attach itself to artery walls constricting blood flow. This herb has also been used to treat hemorrhoids, varicose veins Raynaud’s syndrome and can slow retinal deterioration since it increases blood flow to the retina. In addition to treating Alzheimer’s disease and the elderly is also shown promise in treating hearing loss and can improve circulation to the feet and hands. In addition, it is being studied as a potential treatment for preventing the ejection of transplants, asthma and toxic shock syndrome.
Like any other herb, ginkgo does have side effects which include stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness or skin problems. Some data suggests that it can increase the risk of bleeding so anyone who takes anticoagulants or has surgery or dentistry scheduled should tak to their doctor about using ginkgo. while it’s true that seeds were used in ancient Chinese medicine, uncooked seeds contain a chemical (Ginkgotoxin) that can cause seizures and eating a lot of seeds could cause death so it’s advisable to avoid the seeds. The leafs and extracts from the leafs which is what is in most of today’s herbal medicines contains very little of this toxin.
You should discuss taking this or any other herb with your healthcare provider before you start taking it to ensure that it will interact safely with other drugs you may be on or health conditions you might have.