Autumn leaves that turn yellow from the ginkgo tree with medicinal benefits , simply describes ginkgo biloba. It has many health benefits and most often used to treat mental health conditions, fatigue, and Alzheimer's disease. Here Ansley Hill, RD, LD, reflects on benefits of ginkgo biloba, side effects and dosage:
“Ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair, is a tree native to China that has been grown for thousands of years for a variety of uses.
Because it’s the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants, it's sometimes referred to as a living fossil.
While its leaves and seeds are often used in traditional Chinese medicine, modern research primarily focuses on ginkgo extract, which is made from the leaves.
Ginkgo supplements are associated with several health claims and uses, most of which focus on brain function and blood circulation.
Here are 12 benefits of ginkgo biloba.
Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Antioxidants combat or neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals.
Free radicals are highly reactive particles that are produced in the body during normal metabolic functions, such as converting food to energy or detoxification.
Yet, they also have the potential to damage healthy tissues, contributing to accelerated aging and disease development.
Research on ginkgo’s antioxidant effects is promising. However, it remains unclear exactly how it works and how effective it may be at treating specific diseases.
Can Help Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to injury or invasion by a foreign substance.
In the inflammatory response, various components of the immune system are recruited to fight against the foreign invader or heal the injured area.
Some chronic diseases trigger an inflammatory response even when there is no illness or injury present. Over time, this excessive inflammation can cause permanent damage to the body’s tissues and DNA.
Years of animal and test-tube research shows that ginkgo extract can reduce markers of inflammation in both human and animal cells in a variety of disease states (2Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Some specific conditions in which ginkgo extract has shown to reduce inflammation include:
- Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
- Heart disease
While this data is encouraging, human studies are needed before drawing concrete conclusions about ginkgo’s role in treating these complex diseases.
Improves Circulation and Heart Health
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginkgo seeds were used to open “channels” of energy to different organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, brain and lungs.
Ginkgo’s apparent ability to increase blood flow to various parts of the body may be the origin of many of its supposed benefits.
One study in people with heart disease who supplemented with ginkgo revealed an immediate increase in blood flow to multiple parts of the body. This was attributed to a 12% increase in levels of circulating nitric oxide, a compound responsible for dilating blood vessels (7Trusted Source).
Similarly, another study showed the same effect in older adults who were treated with ginkgo extract (8Trusted Source).
Additional research also points to ginkgo’s protective effects on heart health, brain health and stroke prevention. There are multiple potential explanations for this, one of which may be the anti-inflammatory compounds present in the plant (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
More research is needed to fully understand how ginkgo affects circulation and heart and brain health.
Reduces Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders and Dementia
Ginkgo has been repeatedly evaluated for its ability to reduce anxiety, stress and other symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline associated with aging.
Overall, research results are inconsistent in this area.
Some studies show a marked reduction in the rate of cognitive decline in people with dementia using ginkgo, but others fail to replicate this result.
A review of 21 studies revealed that when used in conjunction with conventional medicine, ginkgo extract may increase functional capabilities in those with mild Alzheimer’s (12Trusted Source).
Another review evaluated four studies and found a significant reduction in a spectrum of symptoms associated with dementia when ginkgo was used for 22–24 weeks (13Trusted Source).
These positive results could be related to the role that ginkgo may play in improving blood flow to the brain, especially as it relates to vascular types of dementia.
Overall, it’s too soon to definitively state or refute ginkgo’s role in treating dementia, but recent research is beginning to make this piece clearer.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ginkgo-biloba-benefits#section4
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