In addition to its common use for improving memory gingko is useful for heart attack, stroke, impotence and respiratory tract issues to name a few.
Gingko Biloba was used in ancient Chinese medicine as an asthma treatment and it was believed that it was good for the heart and lungs. In modern times gingko is best known for its use with the memory loss of aging. There are many more varied uses for this ancient herb such as:
- heart attack
- intermittent claudication
Gingko Biloba For Use in Heart Attacks, Strokes and Intermittent Claudication
Gingko is beneficial for heart attacks and strokes due to its ability to interfere with PAF (platelet activation factor). PAF is involved in building fibrous tissue which cholesterol accumulates on in atherosclerosis and blood clots which decrease blood flow resulting in some heart attacks and strokes.
Gingko protects against strokes by the inhibition of plaque development and some studies show that it significantly increases blood flow to the brain and may even speed the recovery from a stroke.
Gingko biloba also plays an important role in creating scavengers that remove oxygen free radicals before they can damage healthy tissue.
Intermittent claudication is the pain weakness and cramping in the legs caused by deposits of cholesterol which narrow the arteries. It is most often felt in the calves. Gingko is a common prescription for intermittent claudication in Germany and relief usually occurs within six weeks. The increase in blood flow and inhibition of cholesterol accumulation by gingko is believed to be the beneficial action of the herb.
Benefits of Gingko Biloba in Impotence
Studies have shown that treatment with gingko for six months has recovered potency lost by treatment with drugs for depression. One open clinical study showed that sexual function was restored within four to six weeks. The compounds in gingko which cause blood vessels to relax result in greater blood supply to the penis and more powerful erections.
In addition gingko has been shown to be beneficial in increasing desire, excitement and orgasm in women using anti-depressant drugs.
Tinnitus and Gingko
A French study showed gingko to be conclusively effective in treating tinnitus. Treatment with gingko is most effective when it is begun within six to eight weeks of the onset. One study also showed that gingko is an effective treatment for sudden hearing loss. Medical evaluation should still be sought for sudden hearing loss.
Gingko Biloba is an Ancient Treatment for Asthma
In asthma PAF causes bronchial constriction. Gingko leaves contain gingkgolides which interfere with PAF and help prevent this constriction. Gingko also is beneficial in protecting against exercise induced asthma. This has validated the use in Chinese medicine of gingko to treat asthma for thousands of years.
Improved Memory with Gingko Biloba
Gingko is thought to improve memory through increasing blood flow to the brain and preventing clotting.
The effect of gingko on blood glucose is also a contributing factor to its use as a treatment in the begining stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies in Germany have been done over the past thirty years and the results show that gingko can assist older adults with either Alzheimer’s or dementia caused by atherosclerosis. After four weeks of treatment with gingko dementia was reduced as was depression and an improvement in coping skills in daily life was shown.
German doctors also recognize that gingko may assist in reversing brain damage caused by toxic chemicals. Studies are still continuing on the treatment of Parkinson’s disease with gingko biloba.
Gingko has many exciting possibilities. It is currently under study for use in the rejection of transplanted organs, allergy relief, blood pressure treatment and kidney disease. Research continues in the use of gingko in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Personally I have used Gingko Biloba for the pain of varicose veins. It virtually eliminates the pain of varicose veins and improves blood flow to the feet.
Gingko Biloba has been dated back over two hundred million years and it’s use as medicine goes back at least five thousand years. The latest findings on the effects of this ancient tree on the diseases of human aging inspire gratitude that it has survived into the modern world.
Caution: Gingko Biloba should not be taken by those on blood thinning medication.
White Linda B.M.D., Foster Steven et al, The Herbal Drugstore. Rodale Press Pennsylvania
Balch Phyllis A CNC, Prescription for Herbal Healing, Avery a member of Penguin Putnam New York