Thursday, June 13, 2024


What it is?  A concentrated form of the herb, ginkgo biloba extract, is used to make the supplement. Commonly called ginkgo, the extract is obtained by drying and milling the leaves and then extracting the active ingredients in a mixture of alcohol and water.

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What it does?  Ginkgo may have the beneficial effects on both the circulatory and central nervous systems. It increases blood flow to the brain and to the arms and legs by regulating the tone and elasticity of blood vessels, from largest arteries to the tiniest capillaries. It also acts like aspirin by helping to reduce the ‘ stickiness’ of the blood, thereby lowering the risk of blood clots. Ginkgo appears to have antioxidant properties as well, mopping up the damaging compounds known as free radicals and helping to keep blood cells healthy. And some researchers report that it enhances the functioning of the nervous system by promoting the delivery of additional oxygen and nutrients to nerve cells.


Major benefits: The fact that ginkgo aids blood flow to the brain–thus increasing oxygen –is of particular relevance to older people, whose arteries may have narrowed with cholesterol build-up or other conditions. Diminished blood flow has been linked to Alzheimer’s and memory loss, as well as to anxiety, headaches, depression, confusion, ringing in the ears and dizziness. All may be helped by ginkgo.

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Additional benefits: Ginkgo also promotes blood flow to the arms and legs, making it useful for reducing the pain, cramping and weakness caused by narrowed arteries in the leg, a disorder called intermittent claudication. There are indications that the herb may improve circulation to the extremities in those with Raynaud’s disease and chilblains, or help victims of scleroderma, an uncommon auto-immune disorder.

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In addition, by increasing the blood flow to the nerve-rich fibres of the eyes and ears, some studies suggest ginkgo may be of value in treating macular degeneration or diabetes-related eye disease, as well as some types of hearing loss.  Ongoing studies are assessing the possible effectiveness of ginkgo in speeding up recovery from certain strokes and head injuries, as well as in treating other conditions that may be related to circulatory or nervous system impairment, including impotence, multiple sclerosis and nerve damage associated with diabetes. Traditional Chinese healers have long used ginkgo for asthma, because the herb appears to alleviate wheezing and other respiratory complaints.

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How to take it?

Dosage: Use supplements that contain ginkgo biloba extract, the concentrated form of the herb. As a general memory booster and for poor circulation: Take 1000mg twice a day. For Alzheimer’s disease, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, impotence or other conditions caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain: Take 2000mg twice a day.

Guidelines for use : You can take ginkgo with or without food. It commonly takes four to six weeks, and in some cases upto 12 weeks, to notice the herb’s effects. Generally, it is considered safe for long-term use in recommended dosages. No adverse effects have been reported in pregnant or breast-feeding women who take the herb.

Possible side effects:   In rare cases, ginkgo may cause irritability, restlessness, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, though these effects are usually mild and transient. People starting the herb may also notice a headache during the first day or two of use. If side effects are troublesome, stop taking it or reduce the dosage

COMMON USES, summary:

Slows the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms, sharpens memory and concentration, particularly in older people.

Lessens depression and anxiety in some older people.

Alleviates coldness in the  extremities ( Raynaud’s disease) and painful leg cramps ( intermittent claudication).

Helps headaches, ringing in the ears ( tinnitus) and dizziness.

May restore erections in men with impotence

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Narasimha Murthy Chaturvedula
Narasimha Murthy Chaturvedula
CLN Murthy did his M. Tech chemical engineering in NIT Warangal and worked as Scientist in the field of Modelling & Simulation in CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad and retired.


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