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. Ginkgo biloba extract is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets.
Ginkgo supplements are associated with several health claims and uses, most of which focus on brain function and blood circulation.
Some specific conditions in which ginkgo extract has shown to reduce inflammation include:
Ginkgo can increase blood flow by promoting the dilation of blood vessels. This may have applications for the treatment of diseases related to poor circulation.
It cannot be concluded that ginkgo treats Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but it might help in some cases. The chances of it helping seem to increase when used alongside conventional treatment. Also, some research shows that ginkgo may improve mental performance in healthy people, but the data is inconsistent.
Some research shows that ginkgo may help treat anxiety and depression though this is likely due to its antioxidant content.
Supplementing with ginkgo may increase blood flow to the eyes but not necessarily improve vision. It even helps with Glaucoma. More research is needed, however.
Because of its ability to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, ginkgo may be an effective treatment for some types of headaches.
Ginkgo might treat symptoms associated with respiratory diseases because of its anti-inflammatory effects.
Research indicates that ginkgo may help treat both the physical and psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Ginkgo may improve symptoms of sexual dysfunction due to its impact on blood flow. However, research is yet to be conducted.
Do not eat raw ginkgo seeds, as they are poisonous.
Possible side effects include:
As with any supplement, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking ginkgo biloba and stop use if you develop any negative side effects or adverse medication interactions.