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Are you looking for a reliable herbal supplement to support your memory health?

Not sure which nutrients you should consider?

If you are not already familiar with the popular Ginkgo biloba, you may be asking yourself: what is Ginkgo biloba? How effective is it? How does it help prevent memory loss?

Fortunately, you are not alone—Ginkgo biloba is one of the most widely used memory supplements on the market; and one of the most thoroughly studied for its effectiveness.

Are you considering adding Ginkgo biloba extracts into your supplement regimen? It is helpful to understand its benefits and why so many people choose to take Ginkgo biloba to support memory and brain health daily.

Explore a close look at everything you need to know about Ginkgo biloba for memory and brain health; and what you should consider before taking ginkgo leaf extract.

What Is Ginkgo biloba?

Ginkgo biloba is also called ginkgo leaf extract. Originally from the leaf of the ginkgo tree and a plant native to parts of East Asia.

The ginkgo tree and its leaves and fruits have been a critical ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine for thousands of years; to treat ailments from dementia, asthma, and bronchitis to kidney and bladder disorders.

Prized as both a food source and possession of medicinal properties, the gingko tree and its fruits are eaten widely throughout China, Japan, and other cultures. The Ginkgo biloba has become so popular that Tokyo recognizes it as their official tree.

One of the oldest cultivated plants in human history, the ginkgo tree (also known as simply ginkgo or maidenhair) is a fascinating specimen. Ginkgo is considered a living fossil, showing remarkable stability even after millions of years—with the earliest actual ginkgo leaf fossils dating back to the Jurassic period.

Highly resilient and able to live for decades (and in some reported instances, even centuries), the ginkgo tree is known for its ability to withstand extreme weather and changing environments. Ginkgo trees are highly durable, found growing near Hiroshima after the nuclear blast, where other plants had died shortly after impact.

Why Do People Take Ginkgo biloba?

Although the Ginkgo has been used for millennia to treat many ailments, most modern users take the Ginkgo biloba to improve memory, sharpen their cognitive abilities, and boost their brain performance.

Ginkgo is currently among the most used supplements throughout the world, trusted by millions of people worldwide to provide relief for symptoms from a wide variety of ailments.

As a result, there has been much study on Ginkgo biloba effects in treating everything from overall brain health to specific muscular and neurological effects.

How Does Ginkgo biloba Impact Brain Health?

There have long been many traditional reasons individuals take Ginkgo biloba for health. Modern medicine and scientific studies have identified several areas where ginkgo leaf extracts may play a role in protecting overall brain and body health.

Increase Blood Flow to the Brain

Medically, the Ginkgo biloba can increase blood flow throughout the body, particularly to the brain. It can help deliver more oxygen to areas of the brain, which may help stimulate cranial regions responsible for memory.

Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety

According to one study, an extract of Ginkgo biloba may be effective at helping to reduce the symptoms of anxiety related to cognitive decline. It can help avoid risk factors like stress, panic attacks, feelings of fear, and other anxiety symptoms.

Antioxidant Protection from Gingko

Ginkgo leaf extract may act as an antioxidant, which can be highly beneficial to removing free radicals in the body and help protect against diseases like cancer, heart disease, or other ailments. The antioxidant properties of the Ginkgo biloba may also be able to help fight against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Reducing Inflammation

Some studies show that the Ginkgo biloba supports a healthy inflammation response in the brain and may even support the ability to repair physical trauma. It may be highly beneficial for preventing long-term effects such as brain swelling, especially in cases caused by exposure to heavy metals or mold. A 2008 study of the Ginkgo biloba and its impact on mice suggested that extracts from the Ginkgo biloba could hold particularly effective anti-inflammatory properties.

Other Uses of Ginkgo

Ginkgo has been used to treat a variety of circumstances ranging from broad ailments to several specific conditions that include:

  • Asthma and Allergies. Some extracts of the Ginkgo biloba can be a treatment for respiratory illness since it may be able to relieve airway inflammation and suppress the action of compounds that contribute to asthma.
  • Dementia. Ginkgo has been shown in some studies to be more effective than placebo at helping to prevent symptoms of dementia in patients.
  • Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye problems. Studies have shown that Ginkgo biloba may be effective for increasing ocular blood flow, or blood flow to the eyes—which may help protect from eye problems like glaucoma.
  • Peripheral artery disease. According to some studies, Ginkgo biloba extract may be beneficial toward increasing blood circulation in arteries among patients (especially older patients) living with peripheral artery disease.
  • Tinnitus. In some studies, extract from the Ginkgo biloba have shown some benefit in reducing the symptom of tinnitus (also known as ringing in the ears).
  • Pre-menstrual syndrome. A randomized, placebo-controlled study from 2009 suggested that extracts from Ginkgo biloba showed an ability to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms in patients.
  • Schizophrenia. In some studies, extract from Ginkgo biloba have shown promise in improving the efficacy of antipsychotic drugs for individuals living with schizophrenia.
  • Vertigo. The feelings of dizziness and loss of equilibrium associated with vertigo; can be used to treat with extracts from Ginkgo biloba.

Is Ginkgo Leaf Extract Safe to Take?

Humans have been using Ginkgo biloba medicinally for thousands of years, and the plant, its fruit, and its extracts have become a widely used supplement for supporting healthy brain function and other healthy body functions.

Some studies suggest that moderate, controlled dosages, extracts from Ginkgo biloba are safe to take orally.

Those at particular risk of bleeding disorders may want to consult with a physician before taking the Ginkgo biloba, as the increased blood flow from ginkgo supplements may interact with these conditions.

Similarly, it is crucial to talk with your doctor about your current drug regimen before taking ginkgo extracts, as the effects of the Ginkgo biloba may interact with other chemicals like anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants.

What Do Studies Show about Ginkgo and Memory?

Being heavily used for its many toted health benefits, Ginkgo biloba has drawn particular attention from the scientific community for further study.  Ginkgo has been examined and tested for its impact on many symptoms and ailments in a laboratory setting.

Here is a look at a few essential studies involving Ginkgo biloba that may be of particular importance for those focused on brain health and protecting memory:

Gingko biloba and Memory Loss

In 2008, a study by Dr. Hiroko Dodge from Oregon State University at Corvallis set out to study the link between Ginkgo biloba and memory. The objective: to assess just how effective extracts from Ginkgo biloba could be in delaying the progression of cognitive impairment in healthy patients aged 85 and older.

This study followed 188 subjects for three years, none of whom exhibited signs of memory loss or dementia at the start of the study. Half of the subjects took Ginkgo biloba extract, while the other half took a placebo.

After three years of study, those subjects who consistently took their Ginkgo biloba extract as instructed showed a 70% lower risk of developing dementia versus the control group—a difference deemed statistically significant by the researchers.

This study does suggest that Ginkgo biloba may improve memory and could be pivotal to slowing or preventing the onset of dementia and memory-loss symptoms among older adults.

Read the study here: A randomized placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba for the prevention of cognitive decline | Neurology

Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer’s Disease

In a 2010 study, German researchers led by Dr. Stefan Weinmann performed a meta-analysis of nine previously run studies that tested whether Ginkgo biloba was more effective than placebo in reducing memory loss or on a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

This comprehensive analysis sought to review existing clinical data about Ginkgo biloba and its impact on memory loss. It determined if it could be reliable as a possible treatment for slowing or preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related conditions.

The result of this study found that Ginkgo biloba was, overall, tied to a lower degree of worsening of memory loss or lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in people taking ginkgo extracts compared to the people who took a placebo.

All nine studies analyzed in this meta-analysis found Ginkgo biloba helped prevent memory loss. Some studies found it to be more effective than others at preventing memory loss or worsening symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Read the analysis: Effects of Ginkgo biloba in dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis | BMC Geriatrics | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)

Ginkgo biloba and Memory Performance

In 2003, a team of researchers at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute conducted a study to measure the impact of ginkgo leaf extract on memory. They tested whether people with age-associated memory impairment could see improvement in their memory performance from taking herbal Ginkgo biloba.

The study measured the impact of Ginkgo biloba supplements compared to a placebo in 10 subjects, all aged 45 to 75 years old. While some patients received supplements twice daily, others received a placebo for six months. During this time frame, they tested subjects for factors of verbal recall and other signs of memory loss using positron-emission tomography (PET). This imaging technique helps visualize changes in metabolic or biochemical processes in their brains.

The result: all subjects who received the Ginkgo biloba supplements demonstrated better verbal recall than those receiving the placebo.

The length of time involved in this study and the results observed in subjects provide significant evidence that Ginkgo biloba may be essential in improving memory loss in people experiencing age-related memory loss problems.

Further details on the study: UCLA researchers find Ginkgo biloba may help improve memory.

Want To Protect Your Memory? Ginkgo Leaf Extract May Be Able to Help

If you are looking for ways to protect your memory and improve brain performance, natural herbal supplements may provide significant benefits to keep your brain sharp well into old age.

Ginkgo leaf extract may be one of the most effective herbal supplements for this purpose—combining success in recent clinical studies with thousands of years of traditional use as a medicinal remedy for a wide range of ailments.

Are you considering Ginkgo biloba for memory health? It is worthwhile talking with a trusted medical professional to see just how effective it can be for your brain performance.