Herb of the Month - Ginkgo Biloba!
Author: Lia Pellizzeri Date Posted:1 October 2016
A true master of the herb world, and referred to affectionately as the ‘living fossil’, Ginkgo biloba is indeed one of the oldest living tree species in the world and may live in excess of a thousand years. Its resilience and longevity are indicative of its strong therapeutic actions in the body including vasodilation, increased circulation and anti-oxidant properties, all of which have been utilized by Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat a range of conditions.
This amazing herb is often standardized to two of its active constituents including flavonoid glycosides, ginkgolides and bilobalides – all of which work synergistically to exert a range of effects. The flavonoid glycosides and ginkgolides are responsible for inhibiting oxidation and platelet aggregation may help reduce blood vessel injury via their antioxidant mechanisms, and bilobalides help to manipulate amino acids in the brain that increase Ginkgo’s neuro-protective properties.
Even though these chemical components are indeed distinctive in their mechanism of action, a truly potent pharmacological effect can be attributed to the synchronicity of these actions and thus the overall confidence of the herbs use.
What can Ginkgo do for you?
Improve Memory & Cognitive function.
Ginkgo has always been associated with improved brain and memory function, its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier allows for increased blood flow and antioxidant activity to occur at targeted sites. These mechanisms, exerted by the constituents ginkgolide and bilobalide, have been shown to improve concentration, attention and short-term memory.
The same study also showed promising results in cerebral function in elderly subjects with mild to moderate cognitive impairment (XJ Xiong et al).
The flavonoids abundant in Ginkgo are largely responsible for the potent antioxidant action exerted in the body. Their ability to clean up free radicals prevents these nasties from reacting with cellular structures like DNA, meaning they are in effect helping to prevent the development of a whole range of conditions that may arise as a result of oxidative damage.
However its close affinity with the brain helps to specifically protect against the oxidation of brain tissue vessels and membranes.
Circulation & Lower Inflammation
The ability to modify blood flow through arteries, veins and capillaries allows Ginkgo to improve risk factors and even aid in treating many instances where blood flow and therefore the delivery of important nutrients is stagnant.
One of the unique qualities of Ginkgo biloba is the combination of its circulatory stimulant and antioxidant actions, which work together to address areas prone to damage from either free radicals or lack of proper oxygenation - not only protecting against cell wall damage through increased micro-circulation but helping to inhibit certain inflammatory pathways occurring as a result.
|Written by Lia Pellizzeri|
Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues.
Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.