Ginkgo biloba is a latin term, which has different common names such as fossil tree, gingko, Japanese silver apricot, baiguo, kew tree, bai guo ye, yinhsing and maidenhair tree. It is also known as memory tree. Ancient Chinese used gingko seeds for their traditional medicine thousands of years ago. They also cooked gingko seeds that were eaten occasionally. Nowadays, the extract from gingko biloba leaves has been proven effective in treating different conditions and disorders such as bronchitis, asthma, tinnitus and fatigue.
Now, extract from the leaves of gingko biloba is used to enhance memory and it helps in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of dementia. It can lessen leg pain due to the narrowing of the arteries. Gingko is also included in many supplements for sexual dysfunction and multiple sclerosis.
Gingko biloba leaves are extracted and made as capsules, teas and tablets. Some skin products also use gingko extracts.
Many researches prove that gingko has several health benefits and is efficient for dementia, tinnitus and Alzheimer’s disease but advance studies are still necessary. Certain smaller studies show hopeful results that gingko biloba is helpful as memory enhancement but a test made by National Institute on Aging in two hundred adults over sixty years old who use gingko for six weeks did not experience memory improvement.
Though gingko biloba has many health benefits, it also has some side effects including nausea, headache, diarrhea, skin allergies, dizziness and gastrointestinal problems. Other studies suggest that gingko may cause higher risk in bleeding. For this reason, people who have bleeding disorders and those who are taking anticoagulant medications should avoid using gingko. In addition, if you are going to undergo dental procedures or surgery, it is necessary to consult your doctor before taking gingko so that you can avoid certain health problems.
Ginkgotoxin chemical is present in raw gingko seeds that are known to cause seizures. Over dosage of gingko seeds may even cause death. The leaves and leaf extracts has small amount of gingkotoxin. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a doctor regarding different herbal medicine and dietary supplements including gingko.
You need to be aware about drug interactions during your intake of ginkgo to prevent certain side effects. If a person is taking medications for blood thinning, it is recommended not to use gingko because it may increase the result of the blood thinner drug.
The use of antidepressants together with ginkgo may cause to higher risk of seizures. Remember not to take immunosuppressant medications such as cyclosporine with gingko because it may lessen the effect of the medication. Gingko may also interact with certain drugs for diabetes including insulin. It must not be taken together with drugs in preventing seizures.
If you are suffering from bleeding disorders, the use of ginkgo biloba leaf extracts must be avoided. In addition, you must discontinue using gingko if you have seizures because it may increase the danger of more seizures. Make sure that you ask a physician’s supervision before taking gingko especially if you have problems with the levels in your blood sugar.