Ginkgo Gets Your Mind In Gear (Ginkgo Biloba)

Touted as the "brain herb," Ginkgo Biloba extract (GBE) has received attention for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, particularly to support cardiovascular and neurological and brain health.

Over the past 10-15 years, numerous studies have tested Ginkgo for various actions in treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as preventing cognitive decline in healthy people.

Ginkgo contains a number of biologically active compounds that work in different ways to support brain health. How these compounds act is not fully known – and is still being researched in animal and human studies – but there are some excellent theories. Ginkgo may work by increasing blood flow in the brain, helping to remove free radicals that can damage cells, and reducing inflammation. It may even protect nerve cells already damaged by Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.

Hundreds of published studies have evaluated the effectiveness of Ginkgo in people with dementia and other types of cognitive decline. Several studies show that GBE has a positive effect on memory, learning, and thinking in people with Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia. In fact, Ginkgo may work as well as some prescription medications for Alzheimer’s.

Gingko extracts are standardized to specific dosages when used in studies and medical treatment. GBE can interact with blood clotting medications. Be sure to consult with your holistic practitioner before taking Ginkgo.

 

Resources

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide (4th Ed., Vol 2). “Ginkgo Biloba” (2015). Elsevier Health Sciences. (pages referenced 415-424). Accessed 7 Nov 2016 via Google Books.

Amieva H., Meillon C., Helmer C, et al., “Ginkgo biloba extract and long-term cognitive decline: a 20-year follow-up population-based study.” PLoS One. (2013) 8:1, 527-555. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0052755. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052755

American Botanical Council Online. “Meta-analysis shows Ginkgo to be Effective for Mild Dementia.” Accessed 7 Nov 2016: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/430/041153-430.html?ts=1478527989&signature=6221f74265ae09375aaa227ab00cd1bf

University of Maryland Complementary and Alternative Medicine Database Online. “Ginkgo biloba.” Accessed 7 Nov 2016: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginkgo-biloba

Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. pp 114-117.

Birks J. & Grimley, Evans J. “Ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2009) Jan 21;(1):CD003120. Review. Accessed 7 Nov 2016: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003120.pub2/abstract;jsessionid=4FE40C66E59F3A034709AD3B90735DCF.f02t04

Cieza, A., Maier, P. & Poppel, E. “Effects of Ginkgo biloba on mental functioning in healthy volunteers.” Arch Med Res. (2003) 34:5, 373-381.

DeKosky S.T., Williamson J.D., et al., “Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) Study Investigators. Ginkgo biloba for prevention of dementia: a randomized controlled trial.” JAMA. (2008 Nov 19) 300:19, 2253-62. Accessed 7Nov 2016: http://www.infekt.ch/content/uploads/2013/11/jc_jan09_buehler.pdf (there are various comments linked to this research)

May B.H., Yang A.W., Zhang A.L., et al. “Chinese herbal medicine for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Age Associated Memory Impairment: a review of randomized controlled trials.” Biogerontology. 2009 Apr;10(2):109-23. Accessed 7 Nov 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0028877/

Wang BS, Wang H, Song YY, Qi H, et al., “Effectiveness of standardized ginkgo biloba extract on cognitive symptoms of dementia with a six-month treatment: a bivariate random effect meta-analysis.” Pharmacopsychiatry. (2010 May) 43:3, 86-91. Accessed 7Nov 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20104449

ScienceDaily.com Summary of Study Results on Ginkgo biloba and memory in healthy adults. Accessed 7 Nov 2016: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120924080513.htm