By now most people know that ginkgo is good for memory. Yes, there have been many studies showing that the use of ginkgo (especially the concentrated extracts) can improve memory recall. But ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) as an herb has many more functions. With a better understanding of how ginkgo works, we call more clearly see the impact it can have on the whole body.
“The brain is one of the hungriest organs of our body. For proper function, it needs to be continuously bathed in oxygen and nutrient-rich blood.”
Bioflavonoids have long been considered great antioxidants and specific for protecting the microcirculation in small blood vessels. The bioflavonoids in ginkgo are no exception. They have a strong capability to protect and repair problems in the microcirculation of the capillaries. What makes ginkgo special is that its bioflavonoids have a stronger biological activity than most other bioflavonoids, and seen to have a specific affinity for the capillary beds of the brain.
Brain Function Effects
The brain is one of the hungriest organs of our body. For proper function, it needs to be continuously bathed in oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. Little malfunctions in the circulation of the capillaries can cause memory problems in the brain. By repairing these malfunctions in brain circulation, ginkgo can increase brain function, including memory. Ginkgo also has the capacity to increase the oxygen content of the blood. It has been shown that memory is enhanced by oxygen-rich blood.
When it comes to brain function, ginkgo goes even further. All neural functions in the brain are achieved by neural transmission. Ginkgo both increases the amount of neural transmission and increases the number of receptor sites for neural transmission. Again, this dramatically improves brain functions.
Even though ginkgo is one of the most important herbs for the brain, it is important to understand that its components don’t go directly to the brain. The ginkgosides work as herbal antioxidants throughout the body, and enhance the microcirculation of capillary beds throughout the body. This is why Ginkgo is beneficial to all organs that have rich blood supplies, including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and spleen, to mention only a few.
Ginkgo has also been shown to be beneficial for headaches, vertigo (dizziness), hearing loss, allergies, and many more common ailments.
1. M. Auguet, et al., “Effect of an extract of ginkgo biloba on rabbit isolated aorta,” Gen. Pharmac., 1982, 13:225
2. Brunello, N., Ralagni, et al., “Effect of an extract of Ginkgo biloba on noradrenergic systems of rat cerebral cortex”, Pharm. Res. Com. 1985, 17:1063-1072
3. M. Le Ponein-Lafitte, et. al., “Ischemie cerebral apres ligature non stimultalee de arteres carotide chez le rat; effet de l’extrait de ginkgo biloba” Sem. Hop Paris, 1982,58:403
Adapted from VR, November 1995