Gingko Biloba

Gingko biloba is a deciduous tree some 30-40 meters high, 1-1.5m in diameter, that may live for a thousand years or more. Believed to have existed some 200 million years ago and once common in Europe and North America, it seems to have been generally destroyed during the Ice Ages except in China, where it has been cultivated as a sacred tree, and where its use may be traced back to the earliest Chinese materia medica ca 2,800 BC. The active ingredients of the ginkgo leaves are ginkgo flavone glycosides like kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, various proanthocyanidins, ginkgo heterosides which are flavonoid molecules with attached sugars unique to ginkgo, several terpenes equally unique to ginkgo like ginkgolides, bilobalides, and various organic acids.

  • Antioxidant. This effect is derived mainly from the flavone-glycosides, some like quercetin being many times more powerful than vitamin E
  • Circulatory stimulant. Ginkgo has a pronounced capillary dilating effect, which improves blood circulation, particularly in the extremities of the body. Research shows the herb is effective in cases of peripheral arterial disease.
  • Impotence. Most cases of impotence involve erectile dysfunction, caused by impaired blood flow to the tissues. Recent evidence shows that ginkgo may be highly beneficial in the treatment of impotence.
  • Mental tonic. The herb is known to increase cerebral blood flow and improve vascular function in the brain. Ginkgo increases the rate at which information is transmitted at the nerve cell level, having a positive influence on neurotransmitter function. Clinical tests show that the herb improves short term memory, mental alertness and overall cognitive performance, and therefore of help in Alzheimer’s disease, age related depression and senility.

Caution: The herb is not recommended for those taking aspirin and the anticoagulent warfarin, unless monitored by a qualified and experienced health professional.