Ginkgo Biloba, a Pre-historic Tree, an Age-Old Natural Memory Aid

Other names:

  • Ginkgo
  • Gingko (occasionally, it's referred to as "ging-ko" - a slight spelling difference)

 

Nutrient Family:              

  • Phytonutrients/Phytochemicals

                > Sub-Group:       Flavonoids


Ginkgo Biloba is the name of the nutrient or supplement, as well as the name of the plant the nutrient is derived from.


Long before it was known for its antioxidant properties, it was already well known for its memory enhancing abilities.

The plant, Ginkgo Biloba thrived around the world until the Ice Age reduced it to a limited area. Today, it’s known as indigenous species to China, Japan and Korea.

It was recorded, 6 Ginkgo Biloba trees survived the Hiroshima atomic bombings, was charred, and regenerated itself, and still thrive till today. If it can protect and regenerate itself, imagine what it might do for us !


Another name for the tree:     Maindenhair Tree.


Ginkgo Biloba's Workings

Fat or Water Soluble Antioxidant: 

  • Water Soluble


As an antioxidant it quenches free radicals, especially those that are naturally produced as a result of our body functions, and monitors the levels of these free radicals to ensure they are  at healthy levels.

 

Some of these free radicals produced from our body functions,  are :

  • Nitric Oxide
  • Superoxide
  • Hydroxyl

 

Other functions besides being an antioxidant :

  • Enable good circulation
  • Anti-inflammatory


Where Is Ginkgo Biloba Nutrient Found Naturally?

Parts of the Ginkgo Biloba plant use for nutritional purposes:

  • Bark
  • Leaves
  • Nuts (... sometimes called “Ginkgo Seeds” or “Ginkgo Fruits”)

 

All of these parts provide the same nutrients or flavonoids but at different levels of potency.


Generally, Ginkgo leaves are safe to consume, but Ginkgo nuts must not be consumed raw and, should be taken in moderation.


Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

Examples of the health benefits of Ginkgo Biloba:

  • Memory Enhancer
  • Brain Booster

                o   Due to its ability to dilate the arteries to allow blood flow and hence, aids blood circulation in the brain

                o   In Europe, it is used to treat mental health problems caused by poor blood circulation in the brain

  • Promote good circulation

                o Due to its ability to dilate the arteries to allow blood flow and hence, aids blood circulation.

  • Prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol
  • Treatment for impotency - at 2 levels :

                o   Prevent male impotency caused by clogged arteries (atherosclerosis)

                o   Regulate the levels of nitric oxide (chemical which aid erection).

                     (Viagara works by stimulating production of nitric acid but nitric acid becomes a damaging free radical if its production is excessive or out of balance)

  • Natural anti-inflammatory

                o   Prevent over active immune response that could lead to inflammation


In France and Germany, Ginkgo is sold as prescription drug.


Some Precautions

  • Excessive intake of its seeds or fruits can become toxic
  • Excessive intake of any forms of Ginkgo Biloba may result in :

                o   restlessness

                o   diarrhea

                o   gastrointestinal disorders

                o   dizziness

                o   headaches

  • Those on anticoagulants/ antithrombotic medicines, including aspirin, should have their doctor adjust their dose or, should avoid ginkgo in order to not cause over-thinning their blood and possible hemorrhaging.
  • Ginkgo should be avoided two days before and one to two weeks after surgery to avoid bleeding complications.
  • Uncooked Ginkgo nuts can cause seizures and death.


Possible Interactions

  • Severe allergic skin reactions, similar to those caused by poison ivy, have been reported after contact with the fruit pulp of ginkgo.
  • Eating even a small amount of the fruit has caused severe gastrointestinal irritation in some persons.
  • People with persistent headaches should stop taking ginkgo.
  • Some patients on medications for nervous system disease should avoid ginkgo.
  • It can interact with some other medicines, but clinical information is still emerging.

 

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