Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Ginkgo shows amazing new research. Ginkgo improves memory, cognition, ADHD symptoms, restores brain function in depressed seniors, improved recovery from postviral loss of smell, improves stroke recovery, and is beneficial against tinnitus [1-6].
Ginkgo is a medicinal herb from the leaves of the Gingko biloba tree, also referred to as "Maidenhair Tree" because the leaves give the tree the appearance of having the curly lush hair of a young girl. The ginkgo tree is an ancient plant, dating back at least 250 million years. It is the oldest living species of tree in the world and it survived to modern times only in the mountain forests of Eastern China. The tree itself can live as long as one thousand years.
Most often the herb is taken as a 50:1 standardized leaf extract—this means that 50 grams of dried ginkgo leaves have been processed down into 1 gram of extract in a way that preserves a standard amount of the constituents believed to be the most important medicinally (22-27% flavonoids glycosides, 5-7% terpene lactones including 2.8-3.4% ginkgolides, 2.6-3.2% bilobalide, and less than 5 parts per million ginkgolic acids).
Ginkgo is best known for its ability to increase blood flow to the brain and improve impaired memory and mental performance, especially in the elderly. As a result, ginkgo is one of the most researched herbs available, is considered safe except in a few situations with medications, and also has a number of other uses.
Ginkgo can decrease platelet aggregation and prevent strokes and other diseases related to blood clots or emboli. It has been used for migraines, to delay the mental deterioration in early Alzheimer’s, and in treating tinnitus, vertigo, and cochlear deafness. It is also used for diabetic retinopathy, retinal insufficiency, macular degeneration, cataracts, intermittent claudication, Raynaud’s disease, varicose veins, generalized peripheral arteriopathy, and erectile dysfunction. It can also decrease asthma symptoms.
WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE GINKGO?
Gingko leaf extract is very safe and its side effects are almost nonexistent. However, patients who are on anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication such as Warfarin or aspirin should use ginkgo with caution. Generally I use other herbs for these patients so as not to double up on blood thinning. If you want to take it over the long run your anticoagulant medication will need to likely be adjusted down or you run the risk of bleeding internally. Along the same lines, ginkgo probably should not be used in cases of excessive bleeding or hemorrhagic disorders. It also may be contraindicated in anovulatory amenorrhea and infertility. Other drug interactions include the possible potentiation of MAO inhibitors and papverine. Ginkgo can increase blood pressure used concomitantly with thiazide diuretics. The RAW leaf, stem and seed can cause GI discomfort, headache, dizziness, and in severe cases convulsions. If you are on any medications or have any chronic health conditions you should check with your Naturopathic Doctor before starting the use of any herbal medicine such as ginkgo.
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Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum Depression, Chronic Fatigue, Holistic Psychiatry, Depression, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Autoimmunity, Food Sensitivities, Digestion, Dermatology, Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema, and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones, she presents to women the best-integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones, and Naturopathy!
1. Băjenaru O, Prada G, Antochi F, Jianu C, Tudose C, Cuciureanu A, Docu AA, Perrot V, Avram M, Tiu C. Effectiveness and Safety Profile of Ginkgo biloba Standardized Extract (EGb761®) in Patients with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2021;20(4):378-384. doi: 10.2174/1871527320666210208125524. PMID: 33557741.
2. Procházková K, Šejna I, Skutil J, Hahn A. Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® versus pentoxifylline in chronic tinnitus: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Int J Clin Pharm. 2018 Oct;40(5):1335-1341. doi: 10.1007/s11096-018-0654-4. Epub 2018 Jun 1. Erratum in: Int J Clin Pharm. 2018 Aug 28;: PMID: 29855986; PMCID: PMC6208604.
3. Li S, Zhang X, Fang Q, Zhou J, Zhang M, Wang H, Chen Y, Xu B, Wu Y, Qian L, Xu Y. Ginkgo biloba extract improved cognitive and neurological functions of acute ischaemic stroke: a randomised controlled trial. Stroke Vasc Neurol. 2017 Dec 18;2(4):189-197. doi: 10.1136/svn-2017-000104. Erratum in: Stroke Vasc Neurol. 2018 Sep 21;3(3):189. PMID: 29507779; PMCID: PMC5829919.
4. Dai CX, Hu CC, Shang YS, Xie J. Role of Ginkgo biloba extract as an adjunctive treatment of elderly patients with depression and on the expression of serum S100B. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Sep;97(39):e12421. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000012421. PMID: 30278520; PMCID: PMC6181482.
5. Guo YC, Yao LY, Wei YX. [Clinical treatment effect of glucocorticoids and extract of ginkgo biloba on post-viral olfactory dysfunction]. Lin Chung Er Bi Yan Hou Tou Jing Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2017 Oct 20;31(20):1585-1588;1592. Chinese. doi: 10.13201/j.issn.1001-1781.2017.20.010. PMID: 29797955.
6. Li S, Zhang X, Fang Q, Zhou J, Zhang M, Wang H, Chen Y, Xu B, Wu Y, Qian L, Xu Y. Ginkgo biloba extract improved cognitive and neurological functions of acute ischaemic stroke: a randomised controlled trial. Stroke Vasc Neurol. 2017 Dec 18;2(4):189-197. doi: 10.1136/svn-2017-000104. Erratum in: Stroke Vasc Neurol. 2018 Sep 21;3(3):189. PMID: 29507779; PMCID: PMC5829919.