Ginkgo biloba is currently considered the oldest living tree species in the world. Traditionally found in China, these tall trees can reach upwards of 150 feet, with branches poking out in all directions. Its short and knobby leaves have been used for centuries as possible cures for everything from digestive issues to lung infections.
Recent studies have trimmed down the uses for ginkgo. These are 10 ways ginkgo has made its way across the globe to improve your health:
1. Improve Alzheimer's or Dementia -- Ginkgo has been used for centuries to help improve cognitive function, social behavior and other daily activities. New studies are showing ginkgo biloba may directly protect nerve cells damaged as a result of Alzheimer's disease. The recommended dosage for a patient with Alzheimer's is 240 mg per day.
2. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) -- This disease is caused by poor circulation to the arms and legs which could lead to significant pain. Ginkgo may improve the circulation of oxygen, act as a free radical scavenger and improve nerve cell functioning and nerve cell transmission, lessening the chance for PAD to set in.
3. Vertigo -- Ginkgo can boost blood flow to the brain, increasing the levels of oxygen and getting rid of the “light headed” feeling. For those with chronic vertigo, ginkgo usually takes eight to 12 weeks to reach full effectiveness and alleviate the symptoms.
4. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) -- Studies conducted by the Natural Medicine Journal found ginkgo was effective in reducing the severity of both the physical and emotional side effects of PMS. Taking a 40 mg ginkgo supplement three times per day from day 16 of the cycle to day five of the next cycle reduced the tenderness of the breasts felt during PMS and also reduced the number of mood swings.
5. Glaucoma -- Glaucoma causes damage to the eye's optic nerve. One small study found people with glaucoma who took 120 mg of ginkgo daily for eight weeks had improvements in their vision. The herb helps manage the disease by increasing blood flow to the optic nerve.
6. Tinnitus -- Tinnitus is a condition in which a person is affected by a constant ringing in their ear, thought to result from blood vessel abnormalities. Although studies are still ongoing, it's thought ginkgo improves the health of the blood vessels which lessens the impact of tinnitus.
7. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) -- Symptoms of SAD vary from person to person but generally include depression, lack of energy and social withdrawal. The lipophilic extracts of ginkgo leaves have shown to have antidepressant and anti-stress effects. There's also a possibility when used in combination with other supplements, ginkgo may reduce stress-induced brain damage, a possible cause of depression.
8. Altitude Sickness -- It’s antioxidant action may aid the body in preventing the onset of illness and disease. As the amount of oxygen in the air begins to lessen, ginkgo's ability to increase blood flow helps to compensate.
9. Improving Concentration in Youth -- It isn't as clear whether ginkgo biloba helps memory in healthy people who have normal, age-related memory loss. However, ginkgo biloba has been known to increase the attention span, strengthen mental processing and increase memory of youth who aren't diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
10. Raynaud's Syndrome -- Those affected with Raynaud's syndrome have a heightened stress trigger to cold temperatures. This blocks the circulation of blood to the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Ginkgo is useful in preventing the trigger by increasing the circulation of blood to these regions.
Please consult your doctor before adding a ginkgo biloba supplement to your regimen as it may interact negatively with blood thinners and cause changes in blood sugar levels.
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