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Ginkgo biloba

What is ginkgo?

Other names: Bai Guo, Ginkgo Nut, Japanese Silver Apricot

Ginkgo originates from China and Japan. It has been used traditionally in China for thousands of years to address a broad variety of ailments.

What are the benefits of ginkgo?

Gingko is of traditional horticultural significance in China, it was primarily used as a treatment for asthma and other upper respiratory disorders. Throughout Asia, this ancient tree has come to symbolise longevity and enlightenment.

Heart health

The two natural components of Ginkgo are flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids aid capillary (small blood vessels) function and are a powerful antioxidant.

Ginkgolides are components owing to the heart benefits associated with Ginkgo. Ginkgolide B is a potent inhibitor of excess platelet activating factor (PAF); reduced PAF has a similar blood thinning effect to aspirin. Excessive PAF is being linked to cardiovascular disease and other immune and inflammatory diseases [i].

Endothelial cells form the lining of our blood vessels, the flavonoid content of gingko also exerts antioxidant effects on these delicate cells, reducing injury from free radical oxidation. This can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which is one of the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. This ability of gingko to strengthen blood vessels, combined with decreased blood clotting leads to better circulation and reduced inflammation.

Respiratory health

Excessive platelet-activating factor is also believed to be involved in the processes which can trigger asthma. Ginkgo biloba’s ability to block excessive platelet-activating factor could help asthma sufferers. This is currently under clinical exploration and one study suggests goldenseal to be effective in reducing asthma symptoms [ii].

Brain health

A study from 2014 showed ginkgo supplementation may benefit people who have already developed Alzheimer’s and take the medication called cholinesterase inhibitors [iii].

According to a 2013 systematic review, ginkgo could be considered an adjuvant therapy for schizophrenia. Researchers found ginkgo seemed “to exert a beneficial effect on positive psychotic symptoms” in people with chronic schizophrenia who take antipsychotic medication. More research is needed for ADHD, autism, and generalised anxiety disorder to confirm the positive effects ginkgo [iv].

Premenstrual syndrome

A randomised, placebo-controlled trial over several months showed that G. biloba L. can reduce the severity of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Symptoms included physical and psychologic symptoms such as associated mood changes and breast tenderness [v].

Eye health

Glaucoma leads to damage to both the optic nerve head and the retina. Ginkgo biloba was explored as an adjuvant therapy for glaucoma patients and it was concluded that Ginkgo would probably be beneficial for glaucoma patients, further investigation is warranted [vi].

Typical use

Ginkgo Biloba Powder: 3 to 5 grams, 1/2 to 1 teaspoons up to three times a day

Ginkgo Biloba Herbal Tincture: 5ml up three times a day, or as directed by a Herbal practitioner.


People on blood thinning medication such as aspirin or warfarin, should consult their doctor before taking Ginkgo. Do not take Ginkgo Biloba if waiting for surgery or dental procedures as it thins the blood and can cause excessive bleeding. You should always consult your doctor or herbal practitioner before taking Ginkgo Biloba to make sure it is safe to take if you are on any prescription medication.

Recommended For

Cardiovascular Health / Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) , Premenstrual Tension/ Syndrome , Eye Health , Brain Health , Allergies (Respiratory) , Raynauds

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