Ginkgo Biloba – Herbs For Alternative Medicine


Chinese herbalists have used the fan-shaped leaves of the ginkgo tree for thousands of years. The ginkgo is the oldest living tree species, geological records indicate this plant has been growing on earth for 150 – 200 million years. It is one of the most well researched herbs in the world.

Ginkgo has proven to be a particularly valuable geriatric drug because of its ability to increase blood flow to the brain and throughout the body’s network of blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the organ systems. It increases metabolism efficiency, regulates neurotransmitters, and boosts oxygen levels in the brain. Benefits of enhanced circulation in the brain include improved short and long term memory, increased reaction time and improved mental clarity.

Claims and Common Uses:

  • Shown to control allergic inflammation, anaphylactic shock, eczema and asthma
  • May help reduce retinal damage from macular degeneration, a cause of blindness particularly threatening for diabetics
  • Improves blood flow in capillaries and arteries, especially in peripheral areas such as the lower legs and feet
  • May help reverse deafness caused by reduced blood flow to the nerves involved in hearing
  • Useful in the treatment of circulation-related disorders such as diabetic peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s syndrome, hemorrhoids and varicose veins
  • Aids in the treatment of insufficient circulation and complications from stroke and skull injuries
  • Ginkgo may also help control the transformation of cholesterol to plaque associated with the hardening of arteries, and can relax constricted blood vessels
  • Being investigated as a potential treatment to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs
  • Increases blood flow and may be extremely effective in treating erectile dysfunction due to lack of blood flow
  • Useful in the treatment of vertigo, PMS, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), depression and headaches
  • Relieves tension and anxiety and improves mental alertness
  • Promotes the flow of blood to the brain and can help increase mental alertness in elderly people.
  • Used to treat elderly persons with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other symptoms of cerebral insufficiency
  • Possesses powerful antioxidant properties and is valuable for fighting age related conditions

Parts Used: Dried leaf

Preparations: Ginkgo leaves are available in dry bulk, capsules, or tincture.

  • You can find a standardized product known as ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) in health food stores.
  • Most herbalists recommend using only over-the-counter ginkgo products.
  • Take for at least two weeks for best results

Side Effects and Warnings of Ginkgo:

  • Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing
  • Ginkgo can cause irritability, restlessness, gastrointestinal disturbance, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache and an allergic skin reaction; if these symptoms develop, check with your practitioner to see if you should lower your dosage or stop taking ginkgo completely
  • Side effects also include
  • Some people are unable to tolerate ginkgo even in small doses
  • Do not use if you have a clotting disorder
  • Do not give ginkgo to children without a doctor’s supervision.
  • Use in medicinal amounts only in consultation with a healthcare professional.
  • Ingestion of the fruit pulp can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation, erythema and edema, and the rapid formation of vesicles resulting in severe itching.