Benefits of Gingko Biloba & its Side Effects
Gingko Biloba can be beneficial for people of all age group but people aged 50–59 years seem to benefit the most by taking Gingko Biloba. Most of the health benefits of Gingko Biloba are linked to the functioning of the brain like mental health and memory and concentration improvement.
According to research, Ginkgo Biloba dilates blood vessels and improves blood circulation. Hence, it can also be beneficial for vein and eye health. Ginkgo Biloba helps in the treatment of Alzheimer disease, dementia and intermittent claudication.
The leaves of Ginkgo Biloba contain antioxidants terpenoids and flavonoids. As a person ages, there is accumulation of free radicals in the body, which can contribute to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. The antioxidants present in Ginkgo Biloba help in fighting off the free radicals and prevents them from damaging DNA and other cells. Let us read about the health benefits of Gingko Biloba in detail.
Benefits of Gingko Biloba
Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia
Ginkgo Biloba is widely used for treatment of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Ginkgo Biloba not only improves the blood flow to the brain, but also protects the nerve cells, which are damaged in Alzheimer's disease. Ginkgo Biloba also is beneficial in improving memory in patients suffering from vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Ginkgo Biloba helps with Alzheimer's disease by improving the patient's cognitive function (thinking, memory and learning), patient is more easily able to perform activities of daily living, has less depressive feelings and has improved social behavior.
It has also been found that ginkgo Biloba can work as well as some of the prescription medications for treatment of Alzheimer's disease in delaying the symptoms of dementia.
Thinking & Memory
Ginkgo Biloba is widely proclaimed as a "brain herb," as it has shown to improve memory and cognitive function in patients with dementia. It is not quite clear if ginkgo Biloba helps with the memory in healthy individuals with normal, age-related memory loss. There is some benefit seen in such cases where there is an improvement in thinking and memory in young and middle-aged healthy individuals. According to preliminary studies, Gingko Biloba may be beneficial in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with the effective dose of 240 mg daily. Ginkgo Biloba is commonly added to soft drinks, nutrition bars, and fruit smoothies to help enhance memory and mental performance.
As Ginkgo Biloba improves the blood flow, it is very beneficial in patients with intermittent claudication or other conditions where the patient has pain as a result of decreased blood flow to the legs. Patients suffering from intermittent claudication find it very difficult to walk because of the pain when walking. Ginkgo Biloba is almost as effective as prescription medications in reducing pain with walking. Doing regular walking exercises along with taking Gingko Biloba further improves pain free walking.
A small study of patients suffering from glaucoma have had improvement in their vision after taking 120 mg of Ginkgo Biloba daily for about 2 months.
An extract of Ginkgo Biloba known as EGB 761 can help in relieving anxiety. Patients with adjustment disorder and generalized anxiety disorder have found decrease in symptoms with this specific extract of Ginkgo Biloba.
The flavonoids present in Ginkgo Biloba help in stopping or reducing some of the problems related with retina, which is the posterior part of the eye. Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye, which affects the retina and is the leading cause of blindness in USA. According to research, Ginkgo Biloba can help in preserving eye vision in patients with macular degeneration.
It is believed that individuals with Raynaud's phenomenon have had fewer symptoms with the use of Ginkgo Biloba; however, more research is needed in this regard.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
According to some studies, Ginkgo Biloba may also be beneficial in reducing symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome.
Side Effects of Gingko Biloba
The use of Gingko Biloba and other herbs for fighting diseases and strengthening the body has been for centuries. However, Gingko Biloba can trigger some side effects and can produce some adverse effects upon interaction with other supplements, herbs and medications. It is important to take Gingko Biloba under medical supervision and to inform your physician of the medications which you are taking. There are very minimum side effects of Ginkgo Biloba. Some of the reported side effects include headaches, stomach upset, dizziness and skin reactions. Additional side effects of Gingko Biloba consist of palpitations, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and restlessness.
Some of the patients have also experienced internal bleeding when taking Gingko Biloba; however, it is not clear if the bleeding was caused by Ginkgo Biloba itself or from taking blood-thinning medicines with Gingko Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba should be stopped a couple of weeks before any surgery or dental procedures. Patients with epilepsy should not take ginkgo Biloba as it can cause seizures. Diabetic patients should consult their doctor before starting ginkgo Biloba. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding should not take Ginkgo Biloba.