Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits

Ginkgo biloba, also known as Maidenhair, has been traced back nearly 300 million years making it the oldest surviving tree species on earth! The Chinese have used the plant medicinally for eons but many of the modern applications come from the research of German scientists. Ginkgo is a prescription herb in Germany.

Ginkgo Biloba is especially good when combined with Panax Ginseng.

Ginkgo extract has proven benefits to elderly persons. This ancient herb acts to enhance oxygen utilization and thus improves memory, concentration, and other mental faculties. The herbal extract has also been shown to significantly improve long-distance vision and may reverse damage to the retina of the eye. Studies have also confirmed its value in the treatment of depression in elderly persons. The ginkgo extract may provide relief for persons with headache, sinusitis, and vertigo. It may also help relieve chronic ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.

In studies, Ginkgo biloba has been reported as demonstrating anti-oxidant abilities with improvements of the platelet and nerve cell functions and blood flow to the nervous system and brain. It has also been reported as reducing blood viscosity. It's ability to increase vascular dilation, may help reduce retinal damage due to macular degradation and may reverse deafness caused by reduced blood flow.

Recently, extensive research on the herb has been conducted on the healing properties of the leaf extract. Germany and France have run literally hundreds of studies on the leaf extract. These studies along with similar studies in America, have shown significant results. The extract of Ginkgo biloba has been studied for its effectiveness in the treatment of Acrocyanosis, Alzheimer's disease, Cerebral atherosclerosis, Cerebral insufficiencies, Cochlear deafness, Dementia, Depression, Menopause, Peripheral and cerebral circulatory stimulation, Peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud's syndrome, Retinopathy, Senility, Short-term memory loss, Tinnitus, Vascular Diseases, and Vertigo.

It is said to be effective in improving the blood flow to the hands and the feet as well as stimulating the brain and reducing short-term memory loss. It increases blood flow to the brain, the uptake of glucose by brain cells, and has been said to improve the transmission of nerve signals.


Patients suffering from varying degrees of vascular insufficiency also noted an improvement in mood while taking ginkgo biloba extract. This has prompted a surge of interest in its use as a treatment for depression, especially in the elderly. Many people have found GBE to enhance other depression treatments and to often even prevent the need for pharmaceutical treatments in mild cases of depression. Those under the age of fifty may also benefit from ginkgo biloba's antidepressant effects. So far though, the greatest level of improvement has been noted with older patients.

Alzheimer's & Mental Function

As more than 300 studies demonstrate, ginkgo facilitates better blood flow through out the body, most notably the brain, where it both protects and promotes memory and mental function, even for people with Alzheimer's disease. It also offers a wealth of possibilities in the treatment of many other common ailments.


Since doctors are still not sure what causes Alzheimer's disease, we do not have a definite idea of how ginkgo works to stabilise, and in some cases, improve the quality of life for those suffering from this degenerative disease. Scientists have noted that Alzheimer's is marked by a major loss of nerve cells in the brain, particularly those in areas controlling memory and thinking. Since doctors have found antioxidants to help slow the destruction of nerves, it is not a stretch to see ginkgo's antioxidant properties helping in this area. The disease is also believed to have a connection to decreased blood flow to the brain. If so, ginkgo's vasodilating effects may be a big help in the treatment process. Either way, prominent doctors and scientists believe ginkgo to be the supplement of choice to help hold off and possibly treat Alzheimer's.

Antioxidant Properties

Although oxygen is essential for life, it can have adverse effects on your body. Unstable oxygen molecules can often be created during our body's normal break down and use of oxygen or can form in response to external factors and pollutants. These unstable molecules, called free radicals, can damage cells and structures within cells. If the genetic material in cells is affected and not repaired, it can replicate in new cells, contributing to cancer and other health problems. These free radicals may also weaken artery walls, allowing fatty deposits that can lead to hear disease. As an antioxidant, ginkgo biloba combats free radicals and repairs molecular damage. A great deal of research suggests that antioxidants such as GBE may play important roles in preventing or delaying heart disease, cancer and other ills. Antioxidants may even halt the damage to cells, thereby slowing the effects of aging.


Another use for ginkgo biloba is in the treatment of impotency. The main cause of male impotence is poor circulation and impaired blood flow through the penis, which is often the result of atherosclerosis. Since ginkgo biloba increases blood flow, it's been found to help up to fifty percent of patients after six months of use.

Raynaud's disease

Raynaud's disease is believed to be caused by blood vessels that over react to the cold and spasm, reducing blood flow and there by depriving extremities of oxygen. Ginkgo biloba may help this condition by widening the small blood vessels, which would keep these spasms from completely blocking the blood flow.

Parkinson's Disease

The lack of dopamine is believed to produce the progressive stiffness, shaking and loss of muscle coordination typical in Parkinson's disease. Doctor's theorise that along with other treatments, Ginkgo biloba may help symptoms by increasing the brain's blood flow and thereby allowing more of the depleted dopamine to be circulated to the areas that need it most.

Other Conditions

Other uses for which ginkgo biloba extract is often recommended include depression, diabetes related nerve damage and poor circulation, allergies, vertigo, short-term memory loss, headache, atherosclerosis, tinnitus, cochlear deafness, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and PMS.


Scientists continue to study the prevention and treatment benefits to stroke patients that are attributed to GBE. It's believed that by preventing blood clots from developing and increasing the blood flow to the brain, ginkgo biloba may help stop strokes from occurring. It's also believed that the herb inhibits free-radical damage of brain cells after a stroke.

Multiple sclerosis & Organ transplant

GBE also appears to have an anti-inflammatory action that may make it valuable in the future for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and organ transplants.

Ginkgo Biloba Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names

Ginkgo biloba, Salisburia adiantifolia, Salisburia macrophylla

Common Names

Bai Guo, Ginkgo Nut, Japanese Silver Apricot, Kew Tree, Maidenhair Tree, Yinhsing


Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Improves blood flow, Strengthens blood vessels, Relaxes the lungs, circulatory system tonic, vasodilator

Indicated for

Acrocyanosis, allergies, Alzheimer's & Mental Function, asthma, cerebral atherosclerosis and/or insufficiencies, cochlear deafness, cramp from walking, dementia, depression, diabetes related nerve damage and poor circulation, diabetic retinopathy, erectile function, headaches, impotency, improving circulation to the brain in the elderly, improving deafness, improving long-distance vision and possibly reversing damage to the retina, intermittent claudication, leg ulcers, macular degeneration, menopause, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, peripheral and cerebral circulatory stimulation, peripheral vascular disease, PMS, poor circulation, Raynaud's disease, senile dementia, short-term memory loss, sinusitis, strengthening memory, strokes, tender or painful breasts, thrombosis, tinnitus, varicose veins, vertigo, white finger and spontaneous bruising.

Ginkgo should be discontinued after three months if ineffective.

Ginkgo can interfere with platelet aggregation and, as such, individuals taking anti-coagulants (blood thinners) or antithrombotic medicines, including aspirin should seek professional guidance.

Individuals who take medications to prevent seizures and individuals who have ever had a seizure should avoid taking ginkgo.

Ginkgo should be avoided two days before and one to two weeks after surgery to avoid bleeding complications.

Ginkgo is not recommended during pregnancy, breast-feeding, or early childhood.

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Jen 's avatar  Jen 21/07/2012 15:27

I just started taking Ginko for Tennitis. I notice about an hour after I take a dose (60mg) I get very warm.  Is this normal?

60 people liked this.
Student 's avatar  Student 24/06/2011 18:47

A question for a Natureopathic Doctor. Is it safe for me to take Ginko, Ginseng, Gotu Kola, Fo-ti and aloe vera together (not necessarily at the same time)? I have just started my studies for a CPA exam (extremely deficult / less then 10% pass rate) and I wanted to something natural to help me study and remember. My full time job and family make things a bit stressful somethime to study. Can a Natureopathic Doctor help?

30 people liked this.
jatt 's avatar  jatt 05/01/2011 15:40

I started using Ginkgo Biloba(5ml) intake everyday and it has greatly increased my libido and enhanced my intercourse performance...I am taking it alongwith Ginseng(5ml). I am very happy about the results which were noticable after mere 3 days of intake.

28 people liked this.
Vonda 's avatar  Vonda 17/11/2013 18:07

my 17 year old daughter is worried about her memory and focus, is she too young to start Ginkgo as a supplement?

21 people liked this.
James 's avatar  James 29/10/2010 21:06

I just started taking Ginkgo for sleep attacks during the day which created negative thinking and a depressed CNS. So much in fact I have been avoiding work for years and other simple tasks. When this sleepiness hits I would be totally wiped out. I started to feel Ginkgo's effects after two doses (60mg). Today is my first full day without fatigue (two days after starting). The same degrading thought process is hanging on cause of years of conditioning but without the emotional impact. It is as if I feel numb inside to the thoughts. Strange but it is similar to the feeling I get a half hr after jogging. I will still jog when I can but for other reasons at this point. To be honest I have not read anything close to what is happening to me now relating to Ginkgo. Its like an emotional dimmer is slowly being turned down and tiredness is losing its power. This is freeing up space in my head for concentration and focus. Sleep to is uninterrupted and better. I seem to need less yet get great results. In the past I have tried many antidepressants and even Ritalin. Ritalin worked well but nothing like Ginkgo. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will continue. I would like to see more studies done on Ginkgo.

20 people liked this.
Rodolfo Sámano L 's avatar  Rodolfo Sámano L 04/02/2013 07:11

I would appreciate to inform me if I can take ginkgo biloba, since I'm diabetic and I take 850mg metformin and losartan hydrochlorothiazide 50 mg and aspirin 100 mg protection, the above to improve my circulation in my lower extremities and above. I appreciate your comments.
les agradeceria que me informaran si puedo tomar el ginkgo biloba, ya que soy diabetico y tomo la metformina de 850mg, así como el losartán de 50 mg con hidroclorotiazida y la aspirina protec de 100mg, lo anterior para mejorar mi circulacion en mis extremidades inferiores y superiores. les agradeceré sus comentarios

16 people liked this.
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