|Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest living tree species,
dating back over 300 million years, and individual trees can live for over 1,000 years. In
China, extracts of the fruit and leaves of the ginkgo tree have been used for over 5,000
years for respiratory concerns and brain function.
Recently, western researchers have been studying Ginkgo Biloba as a control for senility,
hardening of the arteries, and as a support for oxygen deprivation. More than 34 human
studies on Ginkgo have been published since 1975, showing, among other things, that Ginkgo
can increases the body's production of the universal energy molecule adenosine
triphosphate, commonly called ATP. This activity has been shown to boost the brain's
metabolism of energy-producing glucose and increase electrical activity.
Scientists have also discovered that Ginkgo contains an abundance of useful compounds
including the antioxidants Vitamin C and carotenoids, but it is the flavonoid compounds
collectively known as "ginkgolides" that are the most remarkable. The Ginkgo
flavonoids have been shown to act specifically to dilate the smallest segment of the
circulatory system, the micro-capillaries, which has a widespread affect on the
circulation, especially to the brain. Researchers have also reported that Ginkgo extracts
effectively increase blood circulation and increase oxygen levels in brain tissues. Ginkgo
is also a powerful antioxidant that supports normal platelet aggregation inside arterial
walls, keeping them flexible and full of arteriosclerotic plaque.
Ginkgo's ability to improve blood flow has been shown in numerous studies with the
elderly, leading German researchers to study Ginkgo for peripheral vascular disease. This
condition marked by decreased blood flow to the limbs. One indicator of this condition is
numbing or tingling in the legs. German researchers found that treatment with Ginkgo
extracts improved circulation to the extremities and made it possible for patients to walk
further with much less discomfort. Ginkgo biloba extracts are relatively considered safe
and free of side effects, though taking very large doses may lead to diarrhea, nausea and
vomiting, which can be controlled by reducing the amount consumed.