What Is Ginkgo Biloba?

What Is Ginkgo Biloba?

As a species of tree dating back well over 270 million years, Ginkgo biloba has long been utilised for holistic purposes. From promoting sleep readiness to potentially improving mood, there is plenty to discover with ginkgo. With that in mind, we delve into the history behind the tree, and show you how to experience it yourself.

With documented use dating back hundreds of years, Ginkgo biloba still has many applications in contemporary life. Often found in supplements, the leaves and extracts from this tree are said to have antioxidant properties and an array of potential health benefits. But what is Ginkgo biloba?

Below, we delve deep into the amazing history behind this plant, why it's still highly revered in modern times, and how you can go about using it yourself.

Ginkgo Biloba: An Ancient Eastern Fix

Ginkgo Biloba: An Ancient Eastern Fix

Otherwise known as the maidenhair tree, Japanese nut tree, or simply ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba is the only living species of the Ginkgoales order, and is native to China. The word “ginkgo” comes from a misspelling of “gin-kyo”—a Japanese term for “silver apricot”. This alternative spelling has led to ginkgo being the most commonly used term for this type of tree.

Combined with the word “biloba”, meaning “having two lobes”, you've got the perfect description for the leaves of this tree. And it is the leaves, and their extracts, that provide some potential benefits to the human body.

Why Ginkgo Biloba Is Called A “Living Fossil”

Something that makes ginkgo truly special is that it's essentially a living fossil. Preserved specimens of the tree have been discovered that date back over 270 million years, with very little difference to modern samples. To say that Ginkgo biloba is resilient would be a massive understatement. The tree even survived the atomic explosion of Hiroshima in 1945, and was one of the only living things remaining in the city after the blast.

Ginkgo is also highly resilient to insects and pests as it secretes an unappealing chemical, ensuring it is well left alone in the wild. The chemical also deters any mould, fungi, or bacteria attempting to grow on the tree. There's little wonder as to why this tree has stood the test of time.

Looking further into the science behind Ginkgo biloba, a study carried out by the Chinese National Institute of Geology and Palaeontology showed that the genetics of ginkgo has not changed for the past 51 million years, and still retains the same DNA as the fossils studied.

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Where Does Ginkgo Biloba Come From?

As the oldest type of tree in existence, ginkgo can be traced back 270 million years. However, it was rediscovered in 1691. Since that point, it has been cultivated in a wide range of countries, continents, and climates. While still mainly associated with China and Chinese culture, ginkgo has also reached prominence in Japan and other Asian countries. It is a hearty and robust tree that can be grown in a variety of environments.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Ginkgo Biloba?

Why Ginkgo Biloba Is Called A “Living Fossil”

Since its rediscovery, Ginkgo biloba seeds and leaves have been used for all kinds of holistic purposes. Seen as an all-natural dietary supplement, ginkgo is still highly sought after. With that in mind, below are some examples of ginkgo's potential benefits to health and wellness.

Influences Blood Circulation In A Positive Way

Traditional Chinese practices used ginkgo as a means to potentially increase blood flow to organs such as the liver, brain, and kidneys. In the modern era, a study[1] from 2008 administered ginkgo extract to coronary artery disease patients in hopes of increasing blood flow to different areas of the body. However, research into the effects of Ginkgo biloba and its influence on blood circulation is hotly disputed, and more concrete evidence is needed to make any conclusions.

May Promote Relaxation And Ease Tension

May Promote Relaxation And Ease Tension

Ginkgo biloba is often cited as a harbinger of tension relief. One particular trial[2] gave 107 participants a ginkgo dose of 240mg, 480mg, or a placebo. Those administered the highest ginkgo dose reported the biggest changes in terms of tension relief, although the smaller dose was also seemingly more effective than placebo. The research concluded that the high levels of antioxidants in ginkgo are potentially responsible for these results.

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May Improve Memory, Focus, And Attention Span

Preliminary research has been undertaken regarding ginkgo's effectiveness in improving memory and focus. However, few high-quality studies point to this being the case. As such, more research is needed to support or deny these claims.

It May Boost The Mood

It May Boost The Mood

While there have been no human studies into the effects of ginkgo on a person's mood, research carried out on mice shows promise. A 2002 study[3] administered mice with ginkgo for up to 82 consecutive days, subjecting them to a stressful situation at day 28 and day 70. In both instances, compared to the control group, the mice treated with ginkgo showed less tension when forced to take part in a maze test.

However, as mood and mental health is obviously a complex and tricky subject, comprehensive clinical research is required to support these findings.

May Enhance Sex Life

With promising research on ginkgo's influence on blood circulation, there have also been studies into its impact on a person's sex life. Sometimes utilised by those with sexual dysfunction or low libido, this is a topic that has undergone predominantly anecdotal scrutiny, and has seen very little in the way of formal studies. Moreover, as with many supplements, the effectiveness can vary from one person to the next.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Ginkgo Biloba?

What Are The Side Effects Of Ginkgo Biloba?

Although rare, there are some side effects associated with taking Ginkgo biloba. Much like introducing any new vitamin or supplement into your diet or daily routine, it is always worth consulting a doctor before taking ginkgo.

Some side effects of note include:

  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Stomach cramping/pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Rashes

How To Take Ginkgo Biloba

How To Take Ginkgo Biloba

Available in numerous forms, such as dried leaves, powdered extracts, and capsules, there are many ways to add ginkgo into your daily life. There is no uniform way to administer, so it's largely down to personal preference. However, we've listed a few ways you can do so, and the associated benefits.

Dried Leaf (Tea Or Vaping)

One of the easiest methods is to utilise the dried leaves; they are essentially ready to go as soon as you receive them.

Brewing a tea is a truly effortless task. Simply bring water to a boil and add your chosen amount of leaves. Allow the water to take on all of the nutrients and flavour for around 10–15 minutes. Then, strain the concoction and serve. This is a delicious way to experience the taste and potential benefits of ginkgo leaves.

Another method is to vape the leaves. Using any dry-herb vaporizer, this is easy to achieve. Take a pinch of the leaves and pack the chamber. Once in place, heat the device to a low temperature setting to allow the flavours and aromas to really shine through. A few pulls is all it takes to get the best out of your Ginkgo biloba leaves. Rich in antioxidants, it's easy to enjoy.

Those looking for great-tasting and potent leaves will want to check out Zamnesia's stock of Ginkgo biloba. Available in a pack of 50g, you can make plenty of tea and enjoy numerous vape sessions before needing to restock.

Liquid Leaf Extracts (Sublingual Or Oral Intake)

Liquid Leaf Extracts (Sublingual Or Oral Intake)

Not just available in dried leaf form, there are plenty of liquid ginkgo extracts on offer. From tinctures to sprays, it's very easy to take a daily dose at your convenience. Tinctures allow you to administer a drop or two directly under your tongue so it can be absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. This method is known as sublingual administration, which is an easy and fast-acting way to take ginkgo. However, being a tincture, you can also apply a few droplets into your morning coffee, smoothie, or water as well.

Similarly, ginkgo mouth sprays are available, which are similar to tinctures, except these allow you to dose into your mouth or atop food via a fine mist.

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Capsules Or Tablets (Oral Intake)

As arguably the most discreet way to take ginkgo, capsules and tablets allow users to dose at any time of day. With no aroma, those conscious of taking supplements in public needn't worry. The capsules are small in size and can easily be taken at home or on the move. Capsules tend to have a high ginkgo content, offering a concentrated dose of this prized herb.

How Much Ginkgo Biloba Should I Take?

How Much Ginkgo Biloba Should I Take?

There is no standard ginkgo dose. If you're purchasing tinctures or capsules, they will have a recommended dosage on the bottle. This is usually 2–3 drops, up to three times daily.

Research cited in our article references daily doses of between 120mg and 600mg of ginkgo extract. Of course, when using a new supplement, it is important to start off with lower amounts, as this will curb any potential side effects. Once your body has become used to ginkgo, it is then possible to increase your dose.

If taking ginkgo orally, drink a glass of water alongside it to boost absorption.

When To Take Ginkgo Biloba?

This really comes down to preference and what you’re trying to achieve. That said, let’s look at the benefits of taking ginkgo in the morning versus the evening.

Morning

As with most daily vitamins and supplements, ginkgo is often taken in the morning. Those looking to relieve tension or soothe the nerves during the day may find morning administration to be the most beneficial. This is also true for those looking to experience benefits to attention and focus. Introducing ginkgo into your morning routine is easy, and often favoured by those with a busy lifestyle.

Evening

Ginkgo biloba also has some benefits as a nighttime supplement. With the potential to ease the nerves and boost the mood, there’s little wonder as to why ginkgo is popular among those looking to achieve a healthy night's sleep. There have even been some studies[4] into the effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba as a sleeping aid.

Ginkgo Biloba: This Ancient Herb Is Ready And Available Now

Ginkgo Biloba: This Ancient Herb Is Ready And Available Now

Regardless of how or when you consume ginkgo, there's no denying it has a promising future, and a storied past, as a daily supplement. With research continually being carried out, we will learn more about this herb as it unfolds. And as a tree that's over 270 million years old, there are still many surprises to discover!

In the meantime, if you're looking to try some ginkgo extract for yourself, head over to the Zamnesia store. Browse our Ginkgo biloba products, and experience the benefits for yourself.

Disclaimer:
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. Ginkgo biloba extract improves coronary artery circulation in patients with coronary artery disease: contribution of plasma nitric oxide and endothelin-1 - PubMed - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  3. Ginkgo biloba Extract 761: A Review of Basic Studies and Potential Clinical Use in Psychiatric Disorders - PubMed - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. Polysomnographic effects of adjuvant ginkgo biloba therapy in patients with major depression medicated with trimipramine - PubMed - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov