Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo biloba), native to Japan and China, is one of the world’s oldest living tree species. It bears distinctive fan-shaped leaves that contain many constituents, including diterpenes, flavonols, flavones, biflavones, catechins, and proanthocyanidins.1 Dried ginkgo leaves are crushed and put through an extraction process. The liquid extracts are typically concentrated to 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.

Health Benefits

Ginkgo extract has been used traditionally to treat tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, asthma, bronchitis or fatigue.1,2 There are some supporting studies that Ginkgo may improve mental function in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of cognitive impairments and improve vision problems in people with diabetes.1,2 Ginkgo biloba treatment has shown to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms in patients with cerebral insufficiency.3 Cerebrovascular insufficiency is an arterial blockage that inhibits the supply of blood to the brain, possibly causing strokes.4 Supplementation of Ginkgo biloba may aid in increasing cognitive and social function in individuals with dementia.5 Ginkgo treatment has shown to increase walking distance in patients with peripheral arterial diseases.6 It has been suggested in a preclinical study that Ginkgo may work as an anti-inflammatory agent and reduce pain with inflammation.7

Cautions

Ginkgo biloba may cause allergic skin reactions, headaches, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness in some individuals.8

References

  1. Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract. American Botanical Council. Assessed in July 2015. http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/GinkgoBilobaleafextract.html
  2. Ginkgo Biloba. MedlinePlus. NIH. Accessed in July 2015. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginkgo/ataglance.htm
  3. Eckmann F. [Cerebral insufficiency–treatment with Ginkgo-biloba extract. Time of onset of effect in a double-blind study with 60 inpatients]. Fortschr Med. 1990 Oct 10;108(29):557-60. German. PubMed PMID: 2242846.
  4. Cerebrovascular Insufficiency | Johns Hopkins Cerebrovascular Center. Accessed in July 2015. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/cerebrovascular/conditions/cerebrovascular_insufficiency.html
  5. Le Bars PL, Katz MM, Berman N, Itil TM, Freedman AM, Schatzberg AF. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. North American EGb Study Group. JAMA. 1997 Oct 22-29;278(16):1327-32. PubMed PMID: 9343463.
  6. Schneider B. [Ginkgo biloba extract in peripheral arterial diseases. Meta-analysis of controlled clinical studies]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1992 Apr;42(4):428-36. German. PubMed PMID: 1386514.
  7. Thorpe LB, Goldie M, Dolan S. Central and local administration of Gingko biloba extract EGb 761® inhibits thermal hyperalgesia and inflammation in the rat carrageenan model. Anesth Analg. 2011 May;112(5):1226-31. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182117440. Epub 2011 Apr 7. PubMed PMID: 21474665.
  8. Herbs at a Glance: Ginkgo. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2005. Accessed in July 2015. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ginkgo/ataglance.htm