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Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a deciduous tree which has survived unchanged for about 150 million years. This living fossil may have been saved from extinction by the Chinese who revered the tree and planted it around their temples. Traditional Chinese medicine prescribes ginkgo leaves for their ability to 'benefit the brain', and relieve the symptoms of asthma and coughs. Ginkgo leaf extracts are now among the leading prescription medicines in both Germany and France.


The typical dose for standardised extracts, range from 40mg-80mg one to three times daily. No restriction on duration of use. In cases of cerebrovascular insufficiency in can take at least two weeks before any benefit becomes apparent.

Potential applications

Alzheimer's Disease, cerebral vascular insufficiency, poor memory, tinnitus / balance problems, sudden deafness, diabetic retinopathy / neuropathy, peripheral arterial insufficiency, stroke recovery, Raynaud's disease, impotence / sexual dysfunction, asthma, oxidative stress, visual improvements in those with poor retinal blood supply, macular degeneration, allergies and eczema. Ginkgo has shown effectiveness in congestive symptoms of PMS i.e. oedema, breast pain and tenderness. Treatment of 240mg ginkgo extract / day has demonstrated significant improvements in Alzheimer disease patients. Anti-depressant effects have been noted using doses up to 80mg three times daily. Ginkgo extract (160mg per day) has been shown to significantly prevent acute mountain sickness for moderate altitude (5400m) and also decreased vasomotor disorders of the extremities.

Known contraindications

Not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. Side effects are rare - symptoms occasionally noted include; gastro-intestinal discomfort, headache, and dizziness.


Ginkgo is not recommended for patients receiving anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medication. E.g. warfarin and aspirin. Studies assessing cardiovascular parameters of those receiving ginkgo extracts, revealed practically no change in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood lipids.

Use in conjunction with

  • Dementia - Flax / Hemp seed oil, vitamin E, multi-phytonutrient complex, rhodiola, alpha-lipoic acid/DMAE

Diet and lifestyle

Regular aerobic exercise, stress management, adequate sleep, antioxidant rich diet (selenium and vitamin E important) - organic fruits and vegetables, low saturated / hydrogenated fats, keep hydrated (1.5 litres water). Avoid heavy metals. Uncontaminated fish or preferably use Organic seed oils such as hemp / flax rich in unsaturated fatty acids. Low calorie, nutrient rich diets appear to maximise life extension. Mercury amalgam removal may prove beneficial.


The Japanese are fond of eating ginkgo nuts after meals as a digestive aid. The ginkgo nuts can be mixed with rice, honey, water, and butter to produce a nutritious porridge.


© Cheryl Thallon at Viridian

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