Ginkgo Biloba Information


Ginkgo (Maidenhair-Tree, Ginkgo 1, Latin: Ginkgo biloba) is the extract from the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba Tree. The ginkgo tree thrives in full sun and average soil. It is very resistant to infection and pollution and can grow up to 120 feet. The small yellow fruit that falls from the female tree has a strong rancid odor. The ginkgo is the oldest living tree species; geological records indicate this plant has been growing on earth for 200 million years.

It was first brought to Europe in the 1700's and it is now a commonly prescribed drug in France and Germany. It is one of the most well-researched herbs in the world.

Ginkgo Biloba is taken as an energizer to improve mood and alertness, as a "smart drug" to stimulate brain function and boost memory, and as an antioxidant to slow the effects of aging and prevent degenerative diseases. It has also been used to relieve tension and anxiety and to restore energy.

Ginko is used in many herbal Viagra® alternative supplements to help with increased blood flow to the genitals. Recent evidence indicates Ginkgo biloba extract appears to be effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction caused by the lack of blood flow to the genitals. If you are using Ginko Biloba for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, select a product that is standardized to contain twenty-four percent ginkgo heterosides (flavonglycosides). Take 40 to 80 mg three times a day for long-term therapy. At least twelve weeks is usually necessary before you see results.

Ginkgo Biloba increases the blood flow to the brain, and improves blood flow through both major blood vessels and capillaries. It increases metabolism efficiency, regulates neurotransmitters, and boosts oxygen levels in the brain (which uses 20% of the body's oxygen). It has been known to increase brain functionality, which is beneficial to those suffering from low concentration and memory loss.

For this reason, Ginkgo Biloba has been used in the early treatment of Alzheimer's disease. It has been proven effective in stopping the advancement of Alzheimer's disease and improving the mental function of elderly people. Ginkgo Biloba has also been used by post-menopausal women with complaints of forgetfulness. It has also been helpful in long-term therapy for stroke victims, by increasing the blood flow to the brain.

It is also used as a treatment for vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and a variety of neurological disorders, circulation problems and cerebral insufficiencies including difficulties of concentration and memory, absentmindedness, confusion, anxiety, dizziness and headache. Benefits of enhanced circulation in the brain include improved short and long term memory, increased reaction time and improved mental clarity.

Standardized ginkgo extract inhibits platelet activity factor (PAF), which is a common allergen in the body. Physical stress and poor quality food can over stimulate PAF production; in other words, blood clotting. Excessive PAF can help cause cardiovascular disease, brain damage, hearing disorders and other immune and inflammatory diseases.

Ginkgo also acts as a powerful antioxidant and contributes to the oxidation of free radicals which are believed to contribute to premature aging and dementia. Antioxidants also protect the eyes, cardiovascular system and central nervous system. Studies have confirmed that ginkgo increases blood flow to the retina, and can slow retinal deterioration resulting in an increase of visual acuity.

Ginkgo may also help control the transformation of cholesterol to plaque associated with the hardening of arteries, and can relax constricted blood vessels.

The herb has been used in treatment of other circulation-related disorders such as diabetic peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud's syndrome, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. It can also aid in the treatment of insufficient circulation and complications from stroke and skull injuries. It also improves circulation in the extremities relieving cold hands and feet, swelling in the limbs and chronic arterial blockage.

Among other things, ginkgo is being investigated as a potential treatment to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, as a treatment for asthma and for toxic shock syndrome.


Few medicinal plants have been investigated as extensively as Ginkgo. While the physiological action of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) appears to be dependent on the flavonoid and terpenoid components, bioavailability is decreased when given in their isolated forms. GBE exerts a protective action on cell membranes, maintaining their integrity by several means. The flavonoids possess profound antioxidant properties, decreasing lipid peroxidation by free radicals. In addition, by activating the cell membrane 'sodium pump', stable intracellular polarity is ensured.

The ginkgolides, notably ginkgolide B, competitively inhibit the action of platelet activating factor. Consequently, this decreases platelet aggregation and degranulation as well as conversion of membrane phospholipid into arachidonic acid. Due to this, and the fact that flavonoids inhibit cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, production of leukotrienes and Prostaglandins decreases. This may, in part, explain GBE anti-inflammatory action as well as its use in the treatment of bronchoconstriction seen in asthma.

The effect of GBE on the vascular system is quite unique. By stimulating the action of the endothelium derived relaxing factor and synthesis of prostacyclin by platelets, it exerts a vasodilatory effect. In addition, it affects the tone of the smooth muscles around the vessels in a way dependent on their original state. In cases of paralysis, GBE increases tone and in cases of spasm it exerts a relaxant effect. This action seems more pronounced in cases of ischaemia.

GBE appears to have an affinity for neuronal tissue and cerebral function. It exerts a protective action especially in cases of low oxygen levels. In addition to inhibiting the lipid peroxidation of the high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids present, it maintains aerobic glycolysis in cases of hypoxia.

It also appears to increase certain neurotransmitter production, notably dopamine and noradrenaline, as well as increase acetylcholine and serotonin receptor numbers in animal models.

It has been suggested that the bilobalides may aid the regrowth of damaged neurons in the central nervous system. The results of GBE in reversing the consequences of decreased cerebral function due to vascular insufficiency have been well documented in numerous clinical trials.


Diterpenes (ginkgolides A, B and C), Sesquiterpenes (bilobalides), Flavonoids (flavonol glycosides), essential oils and tannins.

This standardized extract requires a 50:1 ratio of leaves to extract, resulting in 24% Ginkgoflavonglycosides and 6% Terpene Lactones as its active parts. While both the leaves and fruit possess medicinal properties, most interest has been shown recently in preparations made from the leaves.

Ginkgo has two groups of active substances, flavonoids and terpene lactones, including ginkgolides A, B, and C, bilobalide, quercetin, and kaempferol. The ginkgolides have been shown to control allergic inflammation, anaphylactic shock and asthma.



Potential Side Effects

None reported