Ginkgo Biloba (leaf) Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba, commonly referred to as Ginkgo or maidenhair tree, is a member of the Ginkgoaceae family. [1] Botanically, Ginkgo is a deciduous tree growing up to 100m in height. [2] It is a dioecious plant, meaning the male and female flowers grow on separate trees. The leaves have a characteristic fan-like appearance, bi-lobed, and appear with a dichotomous venation. The naked seed of the Ginkgo tree is a nut which is edible and was used in the past as a medicinal agent. However, the leaves of younger trees are now the part of the plant that used for medicinal application. Extracts of Ginkgo exhibit a slightly sour taste.

Ginkgo is an ancient tree that has remained virtually unchanged for approximately 150 million years. It can live up to 1000 years and is considered a living fossil, being the world's oldest living tree species. The Chinese are credited with saving this tree from extinction as they planted it around holy sights as a revered specimen. Ginkgo was used medicinally by the Chinese over 5000 years ago, where it was prescribed for some of the same conditions it is used for today, including enhancement of cognitive ability in the aging population.

There are two main categories of active constituents, responsible for the remedial powers of Ginkgo: Ginkgo flavone glycosides (flavonoid glycosides), and Terpene lactones (terpenoids). [3, 4] Extracts of ginkgo are standardized to contain 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6% terpenoids. The flavone glycosides include quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin (including coumaric acid esters of flavonoids). These important constituents contribute to the antioxidant activity and mild platelet aggregation inhibitory activity of ginkgo.

The terpene lactones comprise the Ginkgolides and bilobalide(s) A, B, C, and J. [5] Terpenoids are associated with increased circulatory activity to the brain and other parts of the body; as well as protective properties for neurons (nerve cells). Other constituents found in the leaves of Ginkgo trees include; biflavonoids, sterols, ginkgolic acids, procyanadins, and polysaccharides.

The standardized Ginkgo extract is the form used for clinical application and in research studies. It is often considered the most effective and beneficial form of Ginkgo, as it contains significant amounts of the medicinally active compounds. Ginkgo extract was actually patented in Germany, and is prepared over a 2 week period where more than 50 pounds of Ginkgo leaves are converted into one pound of extract. [5] If one was to use preparations that were not standardized, the volume of extract needed to be effective would contain high levels of undesirable compounds. Furthermore, the sheer volume of extract required would not be practical to prescribe.

Medicinal actions ascribed to Ginkgo include; [1, 2, 6, 7]

  • PAF (platelet activating factor)
  • antagonist
  • antioxidant
  • anti-atherosclerotic
  • tissue perfusion enhancer
  • circulatory stimulant
  • nootropic (means “acting on the mind”)
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-thrombotic

Products Containing Ginkgo Biloba (leaf) Ginkgo Biloba
Name Price Rating Serving Price # of Servings Manufacturer Health Condition
Cyntol $29.95
$1.00 30 Progressive Health


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