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Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo biloba)
The use of Ginkgo biloba leaf as a medicine was first recorded by the Chinese in 2800 BC. Clinical data shows that Ginkgo is effective in increasing blood flow to the limbs and brain. Ginkgo leaf is also shown to alleviate the adverse effects of platelet-activating factor (including the inflammatory reactions involved in the immune response).
Ginkgo biloba is traditionally used in the treatment of arterial insufficiency (low blood flow rate) by helping to improve circulation to all parts of the body including the brain, hands and feet. Ginkgo also helps to prevent the adverse effects of platelet-activating factor (PAF) in a number of body tissues. Improvements in the allergic response (e.g. Asthma) have been demonstrated.
Part of the herb used: LEAF.
LEAF EXTRACT, 80-150 mg daily.
Ginkgo biloba has been used for circulatory problems and related conditions such as Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), Alzheimers, dizziness, Raynauds syndrome, numbness and tingling, Migraine, erectile dysfunction, Inflammation, mental and brain function.
Poor Brain Circulation:
Ginkgo biloba helps maintain circulation to the brain at intakes of at least 120mg of extract daily for about 1 year. This showed significant reductions in vertigo, Headaches, tinnitus and mood disturbances (1).
Memory and Concentration:
Ginkgo biloba extracts of at least 150mg daily were found to increase memory in a double-blind placebo controlled trial - this is relevant to people with impaired memory function which is found in dementia (2,3). More studies confirm that ginkgo increases memory and hearing ability in older age. Ginkgo may also be used for ringing in the ears and can improve ability to concentrate (4). Recent studies have also found ginkgo biloba to be therapeutic for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as multi-infarct dementia (5,6,7).
Poor Leg Circulation:
Studies show that ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the lower limbs giving improvements in pain-free walking time and walking distance (8).
Inhibition of PAF/Anti-Allergy:
Platelet Activating Factor (PAF) is responsible for allergic-type immune reactions such as fluid build-up, Skin flares, difficulty breathing and other severe inflammatory events. High PAF levels are also linked to nerve cell damage and poor blood circulation in the central nervous system (9). Ginkgo has been studied in people with allergies to dust and pollen and people with Asthma (10).
Ginkgo biloba extract has been show to possess antioxidant properties and efficiently protects membrane polyunsaturated fatty acids (11). It is active in the brain, retina of the eye, and the cardiovascular system (12). Ginkgo biloba has been shown to be therapeutic for macular degeneration, which causes loss or decrease of vision (13). It has also been found to help diabetic retinopathy (14). In the brain, ginkgo biloba may help prevent age-related decline in cognitive function.
Tinnitus(ringing in the ears) and balance:
Ginkgo biloba may be used to alleviate Tinnitus and balance problems, as demonstrated in controlled studies (15,16).
SIDE-EFFECTS AND PRECAUTIONS
No significant side-effects have been noted for ginkgo biloba. No significant adverse reactions were noted from trials in which patients ingested as much as 600mg of leaf extract in a single dose. Mild adverse reactions include gastro-intestinal upset and Headaches.
Ginkgo biloba is not recommended for use by children.
N.B. Clinical research shows there were no changes in heart rate, blood pressure and blood concentrations of cholesterol or triglycerides (TAG) in those receiving ginkgo therapy.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS
Ginkgo supplements should be avoided by those taking blood thinning medication for example warfarin and heparin.
1. Vorberg G. Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE): A long term study on chr9nic cerebral insufficiency in geriatric patients. Clin Trials J, 2:149-157, 1985.
2. Hindmarsh SZ. The psychopharmacological effects of Ginkgo biloba extract in normal healthy volunteers. Int J Clin Pharmacol res, 4:89-93, 1984.
3. Le Bars PL et al. A placebo-controlled, double blind randomised trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. JAMA, 278;16:1327-1332, 1997.
4. Anonymous. Extract of Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761). Presse Med, 15;31:1438-1598, 1986.
5. Le Bars PL, Katz MM, Berman N, et al. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. North American EGb Study Group. JAMA 1997, 278:1327-32.
6. Hofferberth B. The efficacy of EGb 761 in patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on different levels of investigation. Human Psychopharmacol 1994;9:215-22.
7. Kanowski S, Herrmann W, Stephan K, et al. Proof of efficacy of the Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in outpatients suffering from mild to moderate primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer type or multi-infarct dementia. Pharmacopsychiatry 1996;29:47-56.
8. "A Textbook of Natural Medicine", J E Pizzorno & M T Murray, John Bastyr College Publications, 1985.Update with the new book - An encyclopedia of natural Medicine.
9. Kroegel C. The potential pathophysiological role of platelet-activating factor in human disease. Klin Wochenschr 1988;66:373-78.
10. Braquet P. The ginkgolides: potent platelet-activating factor antagonists isolated from Ginkgo biloba L: Chemistry, pharmacology and clinical applications. Drugs of the Future, 12:643-699, 1987.
11. Dumont E. UV-C irradiation-induced peroxidative degradation of microsomal fatty acids and proteins: protection by an extract of Ginkgo biloba (Egb 761). Free Radical Biol & Med, 13:197-203, 1992.
12. Ferrandini C, Droy-Lefaix MT, Christen Y, eds. Ginkgo biloba Extract (EGb 761) as a Free Radical Scavenger. Paris: Elsevier, 1993.
13. Lebuisson DA, Leroy L, Rigal G. Treatment of senile macular degeneration with Ginkgo biloba extract. A preliminary double-blind, drug versus placebo study. Presse Med 1986;15:1556-58 [in French].
14. Lanthony P, Cosson JP. Evolution of color vision in diabetic retinopathy treated by extract of Ginkgo biloba. J Fr Ophthalmol 1988;11:671-74 [in French].
15. Haguenauer JP, Cantenot F, Koskas H, Pierart H. Treatment of equilibrium problems with extract of Ginkgo biloba. Multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Presse Med 1986;15:1569-72 [in French].
16. Meyer B. A multicenter, double-blind, drug versus placebo study of Ginkgo biloba extract in the treatment of tinnitus. Press Med 1986;15:1562-64 [in French].