Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: What Is The Leaf Extract Used For? (Overview, Dosage, and Side Effects)

If you feel stressed and on the verge of burnout, this ancient herb can provide you a powerful boost for the mind and body.

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: What Is The Leaf Extract Used For?

We all get stressed and high levels of stress can lead to burnout.

Many people turn to stimulants like caffeine to stay productive, but that can be unhealthy and increase feelings of anxiety.

Instead, Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that you can use to prevent burnout and fatigue without contributing to racing thoughts and increased tension.

Let’s take a deep look at this nootropic. First, what is precisely Ginkgo Biloba, and how can it benefit you?

Contents

What Is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo is a tree that is native to China but is grown around the world for medicinal benefits.

The ginkgo tree is the last living member of the ancient order Ginkgoales, dating back nearly 300 million years. Ginkgo trees can live a long time, up to a thousand years or more.

Many people refer to this tree, also known as the maidenhair tree, as a living fossil tree because it is one of the oldest trees still alive on earth.

It is commonly used as a part of traditional Chinese medicine for various health gains. This makes it one of the oldest medicines still in use today.

In addition, ginkgo biloba extract is also used in manufacturing cosmetics, and the roasted seeds called ginkgo nuts are a culinary delicacy in parts of China and Japan.

How Does Ginkgo Biloba Work?

Ginkgo biloba has several active compounds that include flavonoids, bioflavonoids, proanthocyanidins, and trilactonic diterpenes. Ginkgo leaves include terpene lactones and flavone glycosides that act as antioxidants.

In addition, ginkgo regulates neurotransmitter action by improving activity at the alpha-2 adrenoreceptor. It may also have inhibitory effects relating to catechol-o-methyltransferase.

Indirectly, it may also increase the production of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. This molecule carries production power within cells.

Ginkgo also has vasoactive properties because it antagonizes the platelet-activating factor or PAT. This causes the blood vessels to dilate, which can positively affect blood flow.

Finally, this can have anti-inflammatory and protective effects on the human body (1).

The increased blood flow may help will wellness and brain health. Blood circulation is vital for cognitive function and can help to keep the brain healthy. Cerebral circulation is required to feed the brain with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood.

It also aids in the removal of carbon dioxide and other waste products from the brain.

Ginkgo may also increase dopamine in the brain and act as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) that reduces levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO).

MAO breaks down dopamine, and these effects may be beneficial to overall mental well-being.

What Are The Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba?

Throughout the years, ginkgo has been used for a plethora of different reasons.

The herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for lung ailments such as coughing or wheezing. Others ingest the extract for the nootropic or mental health qualities.

Finally, it also contains compounds that help to fight oxidative stress. Let’s look at the benefits it offers.

Improves Memory and Cognition

By increasing blood flow throughout the body and improving blood circulation in the brain, ginkgo may act as a natural nootropic herb. The increased brain health can contribute to increased cognition and enhance focus and attention spans (2).

Ginkgo may help the brain function by improving the ability to process information. This can lead to improvements in the quality and quantity of completed tasks.

The science behind these effects is simple, and the effects result from the increase in blood flow that could help your brain improve to full effectiveness. This can lead to memory enhancement and improved overall brain health.

Research shows that ginkgo can help with concentration so much that it may be effective for ADHD or ADD (3).

Even for those who do not suffer from attention deficiency, it may be a valuable tool for increasing productivity and unleashing cognitive potential.

Evidence from a separate research study found that ginkgo improved memory, information recollection, information identification, visual recollection, cognitive function, and verbal skills when compared with a placebo (4).

Reduces Anxiety and Depression

There is research that suggests that ginkgo may be beneficial for mental health and wellness. Why Ginkgo biloba is good for anxiety is unknown to science, but these effects are sometimes attributed to the nutrients in the plant (5).

While there are only a few human studies, personal experiences and research are promising for mental health benefits.

Research has found that ginkgo can help to reduce the adverse effects of stressful situations on the mind and help build resilience for anxiety.

This may even be a helpful tool to prevent anxiety or panic attacks while offering nootropic well-being. Ginkgo leads to improvements in mood as well.

The research results from animal studies show that it can help alleviate symptoms of depression and improve mood by making good use of the available dopamine (6).

While ginkgo works differently from traditional antidepressants, it may be a helpful tool for treating grief, sadness, and other negative emotions.

Supplements that contain ginkgo extract may be an excellent way to improve the results of therapy.

The evidence shows that ginkgo may be an effective nootropic for reducing or eliminating moderate anxiety and enhancing mood without taking mind-numbing or sleep-inducing anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs.

Improves Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders and Dementia

Ginkgo is a great tool to fight against cognitive decline because it increases blood levels in the brain.

In addition, it can have positive effects on the mind. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can cause increased anxiety, stress, and low amounts of energy.

The plant has properties that may help treat these types of disorders that impact thinking ability and mental health, and using it may help with the recovery process.

Ginkgo can slow the rate of decline associated with aging. When used alongside traditional medicines, ginkgo extract can increase brain functions for those who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia (7).

More studies show similar results with different forms of dementia, especially those of the vascular variety.

Contains Powerful Antioxidants

Ginkgo is a unique nootropic because it offers nutritional satisfaction in addition to cognitive well-being. Many of the effects are related to the high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids.

They fight against damage caused by free radicals that are produced when the body breaks down food and when it is exposed to harmful substances like tobacco or radiation.

Free radicals are associated with a variety of disorders and diseases, including heart disease and cancer. This is because they can damage healthy tissues and accelerate the aging process.

The leaves’ nutrients can help prevent these types of conditions and protect you from oxidative stress.

Research on flavonoids and terpenoids shows the potential for these purposes, even though the science behind this benefit is unclear.

Helps to Fight Inflammation

When a foreign substance invades the body, one of the typical interactions is inflammation, and this involves different components of the immune system to fight it.

Inflammation is also associated with the risk of several ailments, and it can cause permanent damage to tissue and DNA.

Ginkgo can fight against inflammation caused by a multitude of states and situations (8).

For example, ginkgo supplements can be helpful for the treatment of inflammation related to arthritis, cancer, irritable bowel disease, and more.

Improves Blood Circulation and Heart Health

In traditional Chinese medicine, the use of ginkgo biloba was for opening energy channels to different portions of the body.

The ability of ginkgo to increase blood flow may be the origin of its use as a medicine. This effect may even be partially responsible for the nootropic uses of the herb.

Improving circulation may be beneficial in fighting heart disease, high blood pressure, blood clotting, and peripheral artery disease.

Ginkgo biloba dilates blood vessels which can be helpful for people who already suffer from health problems associated with reduced blood flow (9).

Even if you do not currently suffer from poor circulation or heart problems, then you may benefit from taking ginkgo to prevent these issues from arising in the future.

In fact, ginkgo may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

The research is promising, and the studies indicate it may be an excellent addition to more traditional treatment options (10).

Supports Eye Health

One of the most talked-about ginkgo biloba benefits is the improvement of eye health. Ginkgo biloba can increase blood flow to the eye in people with glaucoma.

Studies on the effect of supplements containing ginkgo biloba on age-related macular degeneration are promising, and participants had improvements in their vision (11, 12).

While the research is primarily on people who already suffer from glaucoma or vision problems, there still may be benefits with the vision for those who do not already suffer from eye disease.

The increase in blood flow to the eye cannot be bad either way, and ginkgo shows potential for related uses.

Treats Headaches and Migraines

Ginkgo biloba has been used traditionally for headaches and migraines, and people still recommend it for this use. Ginkgo may be especially beneficial for headaches or migraines caused by increased or tension.

Some headaches may also be related to decreased blood flow, constricted blood vessels, and ginkgo, which may help relieve the pain from these because of vasodilation.

Using ginkgo for this purpose is common and typically considered safe. In addition, research shows that a ginkgo supplement can effectively reduce symptoms of tinnitus or ringing of the ears.

Tinnitus can cause symptoms like vertigo, dizziness, or worsened headaches. People commonly use ginkgo for this reason (13).

Helps With Asthma and COPD

Ginkgo biloba has been used for this reason for thousands of years and can help to improve breathing affected by COPD, asthma, or lung and airway inflammation.

When used alongside glucocorticosteroid medication therapy to manage asthma, ginkgo extract enhanced the treatment results (14).

Ginkgo biloba may even be good for minor respiratory problems like cough and bronchitis. The reasoning behind these benefits is not entirely clear.

Still, the study indicates that the ingredients in a ginkgo supplement may be beneficial for recovery from respiratory issues caused by the common cold.

Improves Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction

Taking ginkgo may help to improve symptoms associated with sexual dysfunction.

Studies show that men who take a ginkgo supplement have positive results even when compared to more traditional treatment options (15).

The increase in sexual functions is likely due to the increased blood flow caused by the herbs.

Increased blood flow can help sexual function in both men and women, but women have other benefits from ginkgo as well.

Ginkgo biloba can also reduce symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

While the research is slim on this topic, the studies that have been completed show that ginkgo biloba may help both the physical and the psychological PMS symptoms (16).

How To Take Ginkgo Biloba

The beneficial part of the ginkgo herb is the leaves.

These can be prepared in many ways to serve different purposes. It is essential to know how to properly use it at the correct dosage for health and safety.

Dosage

The typical dose for oral ingestion of ginkgo is between 120 and 240 mg per day of ginkgo leaf extract.

It is best to start with low doses and work your way up gradually. This can reduce the risk of developing adverse reactions.

We also recommend that you divide the daily amount into two or three servings. This allows you to space out the herb’s effect and avoid interactions associated with consuming too much.

Available Forms

Ginkgo biloba extracts are collected from the dried leaves of the plant and not as plain herbs. Then, it is made into different forms.

The most common form is capsules, but tablets are increasingly popular as well. It is also available as liquid extracts, which is a good option for people that have trouble swallowing tablets or pills.

This makes consumption easy, and you can mix it with your favorite beverage.

None of the forms seem to alter the effectiveness of ginkgo, but taking it as a liquid may provide faster results. However, most of the benefits of it are felt in the long term.

Many people like to consume ginkgo products before bed because it eases their minds and promotes quality rest. It is important to note that it can take 4 to 6 weeks for the herb to develop to its full potential.

What Are The Side Effects of Ginkgo Biloba?

There are some minor side effects associated with the active ingredients of the plant, like alkylphenols in the herbs and extracts. Some of the symptoms include nausea, headache, dizziness, constipation, heavy heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions.

Some people have also reported increased blood pressure after long-term consumption of this type of supplement.

While the side effects for most people are pretty minor, some people should not consume the leaves without seeking their doctor’s advice.

We recommend seeking advice from a medical professional before using ginkgo for severe issues like blood clotting, extremely high blood pressure, or heart problems.

It is imperative to seek professional advice if you already take prescription blood thinners or anticoagulants because the combination can increase bleeding risk.

In addition, ginkgo seeds and ginkgo nuts are not safe to consume in moderate amounts. More than 10 seeds in a day can cause a severe reaction that includes difficulty breathing, weakened pulse, seizures, and death.

Finally, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid dietary supplements that contain ginkgo biloba because it may contribute to early labor or excessive bleeding during delivery.

Conclusion

Ginkgo biloba can be a beneficial supplement to improve anxiety, well-being, vision, and a plethora of other purposes.

The evidence for the multitude of uses is staggering, and we have found that the experience can benefit both the mind and the body.

Long-term use of Ginkgo biloba can prevent disease and provide a sense of calm concentration.

If you have found that you have trouble focusing because of intrusive thoughts, then ginkgo biloba may be the supplement for you.

FAQs

Does ginkgo biloba increase serotonin?

Ginkgo may increase serotonin slightly and helps with the normalization of tension-related chemicals like serotonin and corticosterone.

Can i take ginkgo biloba and ginseng together?

Ginkgo biloba and ginseng can be taken together safely, and research actually shows that this may improve upon the positive effects of their merged use.

We have found that the combined experience may be beneficial for processing information and other cognitive functions.

Does ginkgo biloba give you energy?

Ginkgo biloba does not directly give you energy, but it can help make you happy, calm, and alert.

A study found that it is highly beneficial for combating fatigue.

Can ginkgo biloba increase IQ?

Ginkgo biloba can improve your IQ score by allowing you to focus without tension or racing thoughts.

This can help productivity and task completion as well.

Is it good to take turmeric and ginkgo biloba together?

Taking ginkgo with turmeric can have increased health benefits and aid in preventing heart problems, dementia, and other illnesses.