It is so fascinating how the world is filled with uncountable medicinal and miraculous plants that only require human beings to acknowledge how these plants could be of help. One of such plants is the Ginkgo biloba from the maidenhair tree.
Ginkgo biloba is the only surviving species of the Ginkgophyta and is also known as gingko or ginko. In the late 1600s, Engelbert Kaempfer was the first European to discover ginkgo biloba but Linnaeus named the tree Ginkgo Biloba in the year 1771, which connotes silver plume with two lobes.
The tree is originally from China before spreading to other parts of world and it is also one of the oldest species of trees on the planet. The maidenhair tree is categorized as a living fossil, which implies that it continues to exist despite the extinction of similar species. The Maidenhair or ginkgo biloba tree can survive up to 1,000 years and approximately grows up to 120 ft. The tree is characterized by a long angular crown with erratic branches.
Even though the ginkgo biloba tree normally has short branches, yet the roots are so deep enough to withstand environmental attacks such as erosion and wind effects. The ginkgo biloba leaves are fan-shaped in appearance and the fruit contain inner seeds that are poisonous and inedible with pungent smell. Ginkgo biloba is normally used in traditional medicines and as a remedy for tackling many diseases. The ability of this tree to survive for thousands of years is due to its ability to resist insecticidal attacks, pesticidal attacks and other natural disasters such as wind, erosion and pollution etc. The ginkgo biloba benefits cannot be overemphasised and here are some of them detailed below.
15 winning facts about Ginkgo Biloba
1. Treatment of Alzheimer and Dementia
Studies reveal that ginkgo extract (EGB761) can be used for preventing and treating Alzheimer and dementia diseases. Although this claim was contradicted by some other researchers who emphasized that there is no valid evidence supporting the effectiveness of ginkgo in treating dementia. Studies reveal that ginkgo biloba helps to improve the cognitive functioning of the brain by facilitating blood circulation in the brain as well as gives protection against neuronal damage.
2. Phytochemical Properties
Ginkgo leaf extracts contain kaempferol, phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, quercetin, ginkgolides, flavonoid glycosides, myricetin, alkylphenols, biflavones, isorhamnetin, polyprenols, terpene trilactones and bilobalides, which are all important compounds.
3. Treatment of Raynaud's disease
Ginkgo biloba can be used for treating Raynaud's disease (spasm), which is a disease condition that affects the supply of blood to certain parts of the body especially the toes and fingers.
4. Remedy for Impotency and Low Libido
Ginkgo biloba can be used for treating impotency due to its ability to boost blood circulation through the penis. It can also be used for improving libido and erectile dysfunction by balancing the hormone such as serotonin. It can also help to dilate the blood vessels and improve blood supply to the genital organs, which is very important for reproduction.
5. Treatment of Eye Problems
Researchers reveal that ginkgo is very beneficial for treating eye problems since it improves blood supply to the eyes. It also protects the eye against age-related macular degeneration due to the presence of platelet-activating and anti-oxidizing compounds in the plant.
6. Treatment of Parkinson's Disease
Ginkgo biloba can be used for alleviating the symptoms of parkinson’s disease because it contains dopamine, which is a compound that acts as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances like adrenaline. The absence of this compound in the body is associated with shaking of the body and loss of muscle coordination as well as progressive stiffness, which are all symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
7. Treatment of Hemorrhoids
Researchers reveal that ginkgo biloba helps in alleviating hemorrhoid that causes pain, swelling and bleeding due to the increased pressure in the veins of the rectum and anus.
8. Antioxidizing Properties
Ginkgo biloba contains anti-oxidizing properties that help to protect the body against free radicals and molecular damage. The antioxidants can prevent cell damages thereby slowing the effects of aging.
9. Treatment of Migraine and Headache
Ginkgo is an effective remedy for treating frequent migraines and headaches due to its ability to reduce pains, combat stress and increase the blood vessel dilation.
10. Culinary Purposes
The gametophytes inside the ginkgo biloba seeds are usually used as traditional food in the Asian continent. The nuts are used for making congee and also serve as special dish during special occasions like Chinese New Year and weddings. In Japanese cuisines, ginkgo seeds, which are also known as ginnan are usually added to their meals such as chawanmushi.
The seeds can also be eaten with other meals however, it is advised that the ginkgo seeds shouldn’t be consumed in large quantities especially by young people as the gametophyte of the seed can be poisonous due to the presence of 4'-O-methylpyridoxine, which cannot be killed during cooking due to its resistance to heating. However the effects of 4'-O-methylpyridoxine (MPN) can be prevented or destroyed with pyridoxine. Individuals that are sensitive to the chemicals present on the outer fleshy coverings are recommended to handle the seeds with care during preparation before consumption.
11. Treatment of Respiratory Disorders
Ginkgo biloba nuts can be boiled as a tea and taken for treating chest congestion, lung weakness, coughing, asthma and wheezing.
12. Treatment of Depression
Ginkgo biloba extract can be used for treating patients who suffer from all sorts of vascular inadequacy such as depression, nervousness, and mood swings especially with elderly patients.
13. Anxiety Treatment
Studies reveal that ginkgo can be taken to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
14. Prevents Fibromyalgia
Researchers reveal that taking ginkgo and CoQ10 supplements helps to prevent fibromyalgia, which is a health condition affecting the nervous system. The symptoms of fibromyalgia include sleeplessness, muscle pain, headaches, depression, fatigue and anxiety.
15. Reduces PMS Symptoms
Taking ginkgo helps in alleviating PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) symptoms such as muscle pain, mood swings, anxiety, headaches and fatigue.
Ginkgo biloba Side Effects
Ginkgo biloba has some side effects thus should be taken with care!!!
Some of the ginkgo biloba side effects include; diarrhea, increased risk of bleeding, restlessness, gastrointestinal discomfort, heart palpitations, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and headaches.
Pregnant women should avoid taking ginkgo biloba due to an increased risk of bleeding.
It is noteworthy that the whole seed of ginkgo biloba is not too safe for consumption.
Ginkgo biloba can interact with certain medicines thus if you are taking other medicines, do remember to consult your doctor before taking ginkgo.
Having read through this post, it will be highly appreciated if you leave your opinion or ask related questions in the comment section. Every opinion counts!!!
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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