Ginkgo Biloba is unique amongst trees, its other relatives, species-wise, having died off some time ago.
It is known in some quarters as the Maidenhair Tree, and is renowned the world over for its remarkable medicinal properties.
Lately, ginkgo extract has become popular as a supplement to boost alertness, energy levels and concentration, and you may have heard it mention in conjunction with caffeine ad taurine, but the properties of ginkgo biloba go far beyond this fashionable utilization.
Ginkgo Biloba- The most unusual medicinal tree
The use of Ginkgo as a medicine dates back many thousands of years, to the days of ancient China, where it was cultivated by monks and revered as a great natural gift.
Despite its unique status, Ginkgo is a remarkably hardy tree and can grow almost anywhere. It needs little light or heat, and is resilient to a great many pests. It is so remarkably resilient in fact, that Ginkgo trees were among the few living things to survive the epicenter of the nuclear bomb blast in Hiroshima.
Used in cooking dishes
Several parts of the Ginkgo tree are used in traditional Chinese cooking, the vegetarian dish ‘Buddha’s delight’ being particularly good.
Ginkgo nuts are believed to have aphrodisiac qualities, and dishes are created to cater to this angle, often in fun, though some people swear by its potency.
The nuts are usually steamed until they crack open, and then eaten like pistachio nuts.
They are said to be quite delicious as well as healthy, rich in protein, starch, and niacin.
Rejuvenates your mind
Ginkgo leaves are categorized as nootropic, which means that they are believed to have mind-enhancing properties.
Several studies have indicated that regular supplementation with ginkgo can improve cognitive function, memory and mental agility, as well as alertness and a general enhanced feeling of well-being.
It is known to improve blood flow, especially in parts of the body that tend to suffer from reduced blood flow, and it has antioxidant properties which mean that ginkgo extract can combat potentially dangerous free-radicals.
Free radicals can damage any number of bodily systems, including the cardiovascular and nervous system.
Healing several pains of millions of people
Millions of people worldwide are prescribed ginkgo biloba extract every year to treat myriad health problems, and millions more take it as a dietary supplement.
It has been observed to reduce pain in arthritic patients, relieve depression, and clear symptoms of mild discomfort.
Sufferers of dementia and other mental disorders have variously been treated with ginkgo extract, often when other drugs have failed to be effective.
Enhances your energy level
Some athletes swear by ginkgo as a safe and natural way to boost their performance and improve their training intensity, and some authorities recommend ginkgo supplements to school children to raise levels of concentration and mental alertness.
It is also used to treat a collection of conditions known as ‘cerebral insufficiency’, which encompass mental tiredness, exhaustion, malaise, and an inability to concentrate.
Many people who suffer leg pain either after exercise or as a result of being sedentary for long periods of time, have reported that their symptoms have been substantially relieved after taking ginkgo.
This treatment is widely accepted by doctors to be as good if not better than drugs in most cases.
Other implications of Ginkgo Biloba
Sufferers of digestive system diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have observed a lessening of their discomfort after taking ginkgo, and the plant is sometimes used to relieve the symptoms of asthma, and to treat other ear, nose and throat problems.
Ginkgo is believed to aid the healing of wounds, and ginkgo leaves are sometimes applied topically and as part of a dressing.
As mentioned above, ginkgo is often mentioned in the same breath as caffeine.
This is because ginkgo extract has extraordinary properties to improve alertness for short period of time, and without some of the side-effects that caffeine can produce.
Clinical trials currently being expanded upon indicate that ginkgo extract could play an important role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Some couples believe that ginkgo has enabled them to conceive a child where previously they were unable, and this aspect of the tree has indeed persisted for many centuries.
It is possible that ginkgo has some beneficial effect on the reproductive system, possibly with regard to the health and mobility of sperm.
Dosage suggestions and Final Words
The recommended daily amount of ginkgo biloba extract is around forty to two-hundred milligrams a day, though a precise figure is hard to come by because the mechanism behind many of ginkgo’s curative properties is not yet fully understood.
Ginkgo should not be taken at the same time as aspirin, or by anyone currently on a course of MAO inhibitors.
Pregnant women should consults their doctors if they are currently taking, or intend to take ginkgo during their pregnancy, as with all dietary supplements.
Some people may experience side-effects, including dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting. If this happens, stop taking the supplement and consult a medical professional immediately.