Common name: Ginkgo, Maidenhair tree
Part used: Leaf
Constituents: Flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol), terpenoids (bilobilides, ginkgolides), bioflavonoids, ginkgolic acid (toxic), proanthocyanidins, amino acids, benzoic acid, sugars, waxes, lactones, sitosterol
Medicinal actions: Energy enhancer, cognitive enhancer, neuroprotective, relaxant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, anti-allergenic, anti-asthmatic, brain flow blood enhancer, circulatory stimulant & tonic, peripheral vasodilator, anti-platelet, antioxidant, bitter, nutritive, uterine stimulant, tissue perfusion enhancing, antispasmodic, anti-thrombotic.
- Inhibit platelet aggregation and adhesion (stabilize PGI2 synthesis, PAF antagonism)
- Prevent hemolysis (protect RBC membrane)
- Inhibit lipid peroxidation (antioxidant)
- Regulate arteriolar and venular tone (via metabolic and neuro-mediated pathways)
- Increase cerebral blood flow
- Vasodilate medium and small arteries (secondarily capillaries and venules
- Suppress cerebral vasospasm (PAF antagonism)
- Stabilize capillary permeability
- Enhance tissue O2 and glucose uptake and use
- Increase hypoxia tolerance
- Inhibit cytotoxic brain edema
- Promote Ach receptors in hippocampus
- Reverses loss of serotonin receptors in aging
- Increase turnover of cerebral neuromediators
- Elevate neuronal info. transmission rate
- Decrease cerebral blood flow and thus indirectly anti-depressant
Medicinal uses: Improves brain metabolism of glucose and oxygen and usage of Ach. Promotes blood flow to the brain to improve memory and concentration, cognitive & brain function. In managing Alzheimer’s can serve to enhance cerebral circulation, promote memory and cognition, act as an anti-coagulant and anti-oxidant. It’s strong antioxidant effects can increase energy and be used in allergic inflammatory reactions. Useful in peripheral vascular disease and restricted blood flow for any reason. Can inhibit platelet aggregation, relaxes blood vessels and improves their tone, and can be use topically as an anti-inflammatory.
Pharmacy: Infusion: 1 tbsp/cup, infuse 5 min, TID. Capsules: 250mg, QD-BID. Tincture: (1:5,25%), 2-4ml TID. Note: May take 6 weeks to see effects. Pause 6 weeks every 6 months.
- Flavonoids are antioxidant and protect blood vessels, brain and heart from free radical damage. Increase oxygen and glucose utilization & blood flow, therefore tissue oxygenation and nutriton.
- Terpenoids, ginkgolides may be responsible for neuroprotective effects.
Contraindications: Caution when using Ginkgo with patients on anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication such as warfarin and aspirin. Cases of excessive bleeding may also be contraindicated.
Toxicity: Gingko standardized extract use has very low risk. Use of the raw herb, however, can cause complaints. Side effects from the consumption of the leaf: GI discomfort, dizziness; from the fruit/nut: erythema, edema, vessicles, severe GI irritation.
Interactions: With MAOIs, blood thinners, NSAIDs, SSRIs, thiazide diuretics.