March 23, 2022 7 min read

Ginkgo Biloba, an ancient remedy derived from the Ginkgo tree, has been used for centuries to manage certain brain, circulatory, and stomach conditions. The remedy offers a powerful antioxidant boost that’s thought to protect the brain and tissues from damage as we age, as well as therapeutic terpenoids that may help improve circulation and boost immunity.

Of course, the true ginkgo biloba benefits may be even more far-reaching, and there’s some evidence to back it up. If you’re wondering how ginkgo could benefit your daily wellness regimen, here’s what you need to know:

Key Benefits

  • Improves circulation
  • Supports healthy mood
  • Manages inflammation
  • Boosts cognitive performance.

1. Ginkgo is an antioxidant powerhouse.

Ginkgo offers a powerful antioxidant boost that's thought to be a primary reason behind its many health benefits. Antioxidants help ward off free radicals in the body that cause tissue damage, including damage to the brain, skin, and other tissues as we age.

A bowl filled with ginkgo biloba capsules, a convenient dosing method for daily use

2. It may help reduce inflammation.

Thanks to its powerful antioxidant benefits, Ginkgo Biloba may also offer significant anti-inflammatory effects. Because inflammation is at the core of most chronic illnesses and common diseases, this means that Gingko could help reduce the chance of developing one or more serious conditions. Inflammation is also a precursor to pain, so it's been suggested that Ginkgo may be able to help reduce pain by preventing the inflammatory response.

Research has found these anti-inflammatory effects to be present in many cases, such as in the case of diseases related to aging, colitis, arthritis, and more. More evidence is needed to understand how Ginkgo's anti-inflammatory potential may be useful.

3. It may help manage headaches and migraines.

Treating headaches is one of the most commonly recorded traditional uses for Ginkgo, although evidence is currently lacking to help us understand why. Still, many experts attribute this benefit to Ginkgo's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help manage many different types of headaches, including tension headaches and migraines. Ginkgo's potential ability to dilate blood vessels and help improve circulation may also factor into why it's been found to possibly help manage different types of headaches.

4. Ginkgo may help balance your mood.

A review of animal studies suggests that Ginkgo supplementation may help manage mood disorders like depression. This review found that mice who were given ginkgo prior to a stressful experience were less affected than the placebo group when assessed for certain emotional markers. According to this research, the mood-adjusting effects may be due to Ginkgo's anti-inflammatory benefits that can help the body remain stable even when stress hormone levels are inflated.

There are, of course, many different types and causes of depression, but inflammation is a common side effect of depression across the board. This indicates that Ginkgo may be useful in most situations, although more research is needed to verify Ginkgo's true benefits for depression and other mood disorders.

5. It could help lessen anxiety, too.

A study from 2007 evaluated the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba for people with anxiety and found that the participants who took Ginkgo reported higher levels of anxiety relief than the placebo group. It’s unknown why the supplement may have this effect on anxiety, and more research is needed to understand Ginkgo’s potential anxiolytic effects.

6. Ginkgo Biloba may improve circulation and benefit heart health.

Improving circulation and heart health is one of the traditional uses that made Ginkgo Biloba so popular in ancient medicine practices. Modern research has confirmed some of these potential benefits. One study found that people with heart disease supplementing with ginkgo immediately experienced increased blood flow levels, potentially because of a 12% increase in nitric oxide, which helps to dilate blood vessels.

A woman wearing glasses who takes ginkgo to protect her vision from getting worse

7. It may protect your vision.

Some evidence suggests that Ginkgo could help manage some of the symptoms related to glaucoma and other conditions affecting the eyes, potentially in a way that prevents or reverses damage that interferes with vision. One review found that Ginkgo supplementation may increase blood flow to the eyes in people with glaucoma.

Another review mirrored these results in patients experiencing age related macular degeneration, with a small number of participants experiencing improved vision after supplementing with Ginkgo Biloba.

8. Ginkgo may enhance mental performance in healthy adults.

There are a few small studies to support this claim. One study suggests that Ginkgo supplementation may improve various cognitive functions, like visual recognition and memory, in older adults with no cognitive impairments. Another study mirrored these results in healthy adults, showing that Ginkgo supplementation may boost emotional and mental functions and improve general well-being.

Overall, evidence is mixed, although no research has found Ginkgo to be detrimental to cognitive function, so many people consider it a worthy addition to a brain-boosting wellness routine.

9. It could enhance memory in adults with cognitive impairments, too.

A 1996 study found a Ginkgo extract to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s Disease. Another trial the following year offered a similar conclusion–the same Ginkgo extract was shown to be effective in stabilizing and improving cognitive function in dementia patients. The extract was also shown to improve social functions and was well tolerated by all participants.

Researchers believe that Ginkgo may improve brain function by increasing circulation and preventing free radical damage, especially in the case of neurological disorders. However, one study suggests that it may not have the same impact on memory and cognition for healthy adults.

10. It could boost sexual performance.

Some sources suggest that Ginkgo could help boost libido and may even be able to help remedy certain sexual dysfunctions. For instance, Ginkgo is rumored to help manage erectile dysfunction, potentially because it may increase nitric oxide in the blood and improve circulation throughout the body.

One study found that Ginkgo may increase the effectiveness of sexual psychotherapy in women, but Ginkgo was not found to be effective when used on its own. It’s important to note that Ginkgo should not be used to treat sexual dysfunction caused by SSRI’s or similar drugs since it may have some interactions that make the medications less effective.

11. Ginkgo could help manage PMS symptoms.

Some evidence suggests that Ginkgo may help treat symptoms of PMS, including both physical and mental symptoms. One study involving 85 college students found that subjects experienced a significant reduction (23%) in PMS symptoms when supplementing with Ginkgo. Ginkgo’s ability to help manage PMS-related issues may have much to do with its potential ability to reduce inflammation and improve circulation.

12. It may improve respiratory health.

Evidence suggests that Ginkgo’s anti-inflammatory potential may make it useful for managing certain respiratory conditions, like COPD or asthma. Research has found that Ginkgo may help improve lung capacity and general lung function by reducing inflammation in the airways. Another study found that Ginkgo paired well with glucocorticosteroid medication for managing asthma symptoms. In 75 adults, Ginkgo supplementation helped decrease levels of inflammatory compounds in the saliva.

Another small study involving 100 people found that a combination of herbs including Gingko may be useful for treating the symptoms of COPD, including a significant reduction in cough and the occurrence of bronchitis.

Conclusion

Many Ginkgo Biloba benefits have been acknowledged for hundreds, even thousands of years, but modern evidence has only recently begun to uncover the depths of this herbal remedy’s potential. Thankfully, researchers seem to be very interested in exploring Ginkgo’s potential uses, especially for managing various chronic conditions linked to inflammation and neurodegeneration.

Many people who want to experience Ginkgo benefits for themselves choose to combine it with other adaptogenic herbs and powerful nootropics for more complete benefits. Ginkgo can be an essential part of a well-rounded wellness regimen for boosting brain health, immunity, and physical health.

Because Ginkgo supplements are not regulated as strictly as pharmaceuticals in the U.S., it’s important that you look for a high-quality supplement that’s well-made and lab tested. Using a high-quality supplement and the correct Ginkgo dosage is the best way to avoid any of the potential side effects associated with Ginkgo

Always talk to your doctor before adding new supplements or making any changes to your wellness routine, especially if you take prescription medications.

Resources

  1. “Advances in the Studies of Ginkgo Biloba Leaves Extract on Aging-Related Diseases” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758353/
  2. “Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 has anti-inflammatory properties and ameliorates colitis in mice by driving effector T cell apoptosis” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2527648/
  3. “EGb761 inhibits inflammatory responses in human chondrocytes and shows chondroprotection in osteoarthritic rat knee” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23483610/
  4. “The traditional Chinese medicine prescription patterns for migraine patients in Taiwan: a population-based study” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24389028/
  5. “Ginkgo biloba Extract 761: A Review of Basic Studies and Potential Clinical Use in Psychiatric Disorders” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25642989/
  6. “Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16808927/
  7. “Effect of Ginkgo Biloba on Visual Field and Contrast Sensitivity in Chinese Patients With Normal Tension Glaucoma: A Randomized, Crossover Clinical Trial” https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2127938
  8. “Ginkgo biloba extract for age-related macular degeneration” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23440785/
  9. “A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 in a sample of cognitively intact older adults: neuropsychological findings” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12404671/
  10. “Effects of Ginkgo biloba on mental functioning in healthy volunteers” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14602503/
  11. “Proof of efficacy of the ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in outpatients suffering from mild to moderate primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer type or multi-infarct dementia” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8741021/
  12. “A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. North American EGb Study Group” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9343463/
  13. “Is Ginkgo biloba a cognitive enhancer in healthy individuals? A meta-analysis” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hup.2259
  14. “Ginkgo biloba extract improves coronary artery circulation in patients with coronary artery disease: contribution of plasma nitric oxide and endothelin-1” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18446847/
  15. “Short- and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on sexual dysfunction in women” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18274887/
  16. “A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba L. in treatment of premenstrual syndrome” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19678774/
  17. “A novel anti-inflammatory role for ginkgolide B in asthma via inhibition of the ERK/MAPK signaling pathway” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21900866/
  18. “The effect of Ginkgo Biloba extract on the expression of PKCalpha in the inflammatory cells and the level of IL-5 in induced sputum of asthmatic patients” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17828490/
  19. “Effects of Lung Support Formula on respiratory symptoms among older adults: results of a three-month follow-up study in Shanghai, China” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3698174/

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