Since ancient times gingko biloba has been touted as an aid in preventing Alzheimer’s and other age-related memory problems, but according to a recent study that claim cannot be substantiated.
The study that found gingko biloba wanting was conducted in 2008 by Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., who at the time was head of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh.
Says DeKosky, “We saw that ginkgo had biological activities that made sense in terms of what we know today about Alzheimer’s disease.” Unfortunately, the study (involving 3,069 people age 72 or older from four different communities in the United States) did not show the results the team had been hoping. “If one thought that ginkgo might maintain cognition and prevent or delay decline in some thinking associated with aging, it did not do that,” said DeKosky. DeKosky’s findings were published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
In other studies, it was determined that the main properties in ginkgo are flavonoids and terpenes. Flavonoids are antioxidants that rid the body of free radicals while at the same time help the body maintain healthy cells, improve circulation, and strengthen and protect blood vessels. Terpenes are also antioxidants with a different job. In addition to helping with circulation and metabolism, terpenes protect nerve cells and help maintain and improve mental function.
While further testing is warranted before the medical world can vote for a definite yay or nay when it comes to ginkgo helping prevent memory loss, there are many other ways ginkgo can improve bodily functions.
While more study is needed, according to the Mayo Clinic, ginkgo biloba may:
- improve balance
- improve blood flow
- inhibit swelling in the brain caused by trauma and/or toxins
- reduce retina swelling
- improve dyslexia patients
- improve blood flow to eyes in patients with macular degeneration
- help in the treatment of schizophrenia