Discovering Herbs: Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba is extremely well known as a wonderful remedy for improving circulation and memory. The biggest problem for people with poor memory can be
a. remembering Ginkgo’s name when asking for it in stores, and
b. remembering to take it…
It is one of the best-researched herbs we have and trials are still going on to enable us to understand this fascinating herb more fully.
Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally by the Chinese for many thousands of years. The tree is deciduous and has been around for about 150 million years – quite impressive! In the 1960s the leaves were used in tests on circulation, with excellent results. It appears that Ginkgo makes capillaries more stable and stops small arteries from going into spasm, which makes it easier for blood to reach the extremities. This is good news for people who suffer from cold hands and feet, or poor memory or concentration due to sluggish blood flow to the head.
Ginkgo also stops platelets from sticking together and thereby inhibits thickening of the blood. This brings up Ginkgo’s contraindication – it must not be used with anticoagulants such as Aspirin or Warfarin. It has the same effect as these medications and, if it is used alongside them, the blood becomes too thin to clot properly. Of course, it is good for keeping the blood moving freely in people who are not on anticoagulants.
Many Ginkgo trials focus on the positive effect it has on brain function and problems such as senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Elderly people feel the benefit of taking this herb, improving their mental clarity and feeling more in control of their lives as a result. It is also often taken by menopausal women to counteract the mental fog that tends to descend at this time of their lives.
So, it’s well worth remembering its name.