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Benefits of Gingko


In China an ancient tree can be found having leaves which hold therapeutic powers. The tree is known as Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and is sometimes called the 'maidenhair tree' and 'yinhsing'. The seeds are toxic but the leaves are not. The leaves are packed with the chemicals flavonoids and terpenoids. Both are high performing antioxidants. Flavonoids safeguard the heart muscle, blood vessels, nerves and retina from damage. Terpenoids (ginkgolides) help in promoting blood flow ‘by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets.’

Ginkgo has been used for centuries by the Chinese in their medicine and research done has showed it helps to increase blood flow to the brain and protect nerve cells in the brain from damage. This is why in Europe gingko is used in treating dementia. Alzheimer's disease is another sickness ginkgo is claimed to have the potential to treat.

Since gingko is termed as a brain herb and is claimed to improve concentration and memory some students are known to consume it in the hope it will help them with their studies.

Taking ginkgo is said to bring relief to intermittent claudication sufferers. Intermittent claudication is caused by block arteries and brings about cramps and pain in the legs since there is insufficient blood flow to the legs. Apart from the pain and cramps in the legs, ankles and feet are also known to swell up. By taking gingko it can improve blood flow hence reducing the pain and swelling. Other blood circulation problems the herb is taken for treating is peripheral vascular disease and Raynaud's syndrome.

People taking anti-depressant drugs should avoid taking gingko and so should those taking medication to treat blood clotting. Anti-depressant drugs work on the brain similar to gingko and by taking both it can increase the levels of activity in the areas of the brain these two medications are treating. 

People with blood clotting problems take blood thinner medications and ginkgo too is consumed in treating insufficient blood flow. Again by taking both it can increase the effects of blood flow in such a way it can be harmful to the body.

Gingko can be taken in the form of tea, tincture or capsules. Make sure to consult your doctor before using gingko. 

© Suranee Perera 2012

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