The herb ginkgo is the leaf of Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree. Because this tree is the oldest species of plant known with no surviving close relatives,gingko is referred to as a living fossil.
Native to China, gingko has been used in food and medicine for centuries. It is said that the elephant's long memory is due to eating gingko leaves. You'll enjoy the mildly sweet leaf as tea.
Imagine a plant that has existed for over 190 million years. The ginkgo tree has been around that long and is considered the oldest tree on earth. Much research has been done about this plant that's been used since ancient times in China.
The ginkgo tree grows as high as 100 feet. It is native to China and is also grown in Japan, France, and South Carolina. The leaves and the fruit containing the seeds are removed from the tree in the fall.
Do not take more than the recommended dose of Ginkgo as too much may cause toxicity. In some countries the use of this herb
is restricted. Consult your health care provider before beginning use of any
Potential medicinal uses
Extracts of ginkgo leaves contain flavonoid glycosides (myricetin and
quercetin) and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used
pharmaceutically. These extracts are shown to exhibit reversible,
nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibition, as well as inhibition of reuptake at the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine
transporters, with all but the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition fading in chronic exposure.Ginkgo extract has in addition been found to act as a selective 5-HT1A receptor agonist in vivo. Ginkgo supplements are usually taken in the range of 40–200 mg per day. In 2010, a meta-analysis of clinical trials has shown Ginkgo to be moderately effective in improving cognition indementia patients but not preventing the onset of Alzheimer's disease in people without dementia. In research not yet confirmed by clinical or governmental agencies, ginkgo may have some efficacy in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia.
As a memory and concentration enhancement
Ginkgo is believed to have nootropic properties, and is mainly used as memory and concentration enhancer, and antivertigo agent. However, studies differ about its efficacy. The largest and longest independent clinical trial to assess Ginkgo biloba published the finding in 2008 that the supplement does not reduce incidence of all-cause dementia or Alzheimer's disease in adults 75 years or older who had normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment when given a twice-daily dose of 120 mg extract of G. biloba. However, a similar trial published in December 2010 concluded the same extract formulation of G. biloba (EGb 761), when given as a single 240-mg daily dose, "was found significantly superior to placebo in the treatment of patients with dementia with neuropsychiatric symptoms" in a trial with 410 out-patients.
According to some studies, Ginkgo can significantly improve attention in healthy individuals. In one such study, the effect was almost immediate and reaches its peak 2.5 hours after the intake.
One study suggests ginkgo's purported effect on cognition may be attributable to its inhibitory effect on norepinephrine reuptake.
Nonetheless, a meta-analysis in 2012 reported zero effect sizes for the impact of Ginkgo biloba on memory, attention and problem-solving in healthy individuals.
In other symptoms.
Of the many conflicting results from basic research, ginkgo extract may have three effects on the human body: improvement in blood flow to most tissues and organs, protection against oxidative cell damage from free radicals, and blockage of many of the effects of platelet-activating factor (platelet aggregation, blood clotting) that have been related to the development of a number of cardiovascular, renal, respiratory and central nervous system disorders. Ginkgolides, especially ginkgolide B, are potent antagonists against platelet-activating factor, and thus may be useful in protection and prevention of thrombus, endotoxic shock, and from myocardial ischemia.
Ginkgo may have undesirable effects, especially for individuals with blood circulation disorders and those taking anticoagulants such as aspirin or warfarin. Check with your doctor.