Ginkgo biloba, a tree with multiple benefits

Nicknamed “the thousand crown tree”, ginkgo biloba is an ancestral tree whose leaves are used for their neuroprotective, mnemonic, veinotonic and vasodilator properties. In what forms can it be consumed? What precautions to take? Are there any contraindications? We take stock.

Ginkgo biloba, nicknamed ” the maidenhair tree ” or ” silver apricot “, is a deciduous tree native to China, cultivated for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Appeared long before the dinosaurs , it is currently the last representative of the ginkgoaceae family. Once mature, it can reach up to fifty meters in height and live for almost a thousand years.

Its duck-foot-shaped leaves turn yellow in summer and take on a lemon-yellow color in autumn (hence the nickname of the thousand-coin tree). They are acclaimed for their concentration of flavonoids ( antioxidants ) and terpenoids. In fact, this tree is now grown in Asia, but also in Europe and the United States for the pharmaceutical industry.

Properties: what are the benefits of ginkgo biloba?

The therapeutic virtues of ginkgo biloba leaves have been clinically proven and confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Scientific Cooperation in Phytotherapy (ESCOP). In France, this tree is recognized as a medicinal plant and registered in the list of French Pharmacopoeia.

  • Ginkgo biloba has a neuroprotective effect: it stimulates memory, and helps concentration and reasoning. This is why it is sometimes used to manage senile dementia, memory loss, concentration, and alertness disorders, etc.
  • It also has a vagotonic and anticoagulant effect: it promotes the dilation of blood vessels, guarantees good blood circulation and limits the formation of thrombosis or clots.
  • The golden leaves of this tree also have healing properties. They are also used in the composition of anti-aging cosmetic care to protect and repair the skin. They can also be used in poultices to relieve frostbite.

Finally, the leaves can be used to relieve respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis. Other indications are recommended (but not recognized): the management of superficial phlebitis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, Raynaud’s syndrome, intermittent claudication, urinary disorders, sexual disorders, etc.

Does ginkgo biloba make you lose weight?

Some studies have shown that ginkgo biloba can improve endurance and athletic performance.

Many ginkgo biloba products also claim that this tree boosts metabolism and increases fat burning. However, no study has yet shown that the leaves of this tree promote weight loss or help fight against overweight or obesity .

Is ginkgo biloba good for memory?

As indicated above, several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of this tree on memory and cognitive functions in the elderly. Ginkgo biloba even helps  alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease . Ginkgo biloba extract is also considered by the World Health Organization as a drug to treat dementia.

Bark, leaves, buds… What parts of ginkgo biloba can you eat?

We mainly eat ginkgo biloba leaves (fresh or dried). They are the ones that concentrate the active substances: flavonoids and terpenoids.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the seeds (fruits) of this tree are also eaten.

Instructions for use and dosage: how to use ginkgo biloba?

Ginkgo biloba can be consumed in tablets, ampoules, herbal teas, decoctions and mother tinctures.

  • In tablets and ampoules , the dose of 500 mg of ginkgo biloba leaf extract is not exceeded.
  • In herbal tea and decoction , 20 to 40 g of fresh leaves are used for one liter of water or two to three teaspoons of dried leaves. Then leave to infuse for five minutes and consume one to two cups a day.
  • In mother tincture  : dilute between 20 and 40 drops in a glass of water, two to three times a day.

Several medicines contain ginkgo biloba extracts: Ginkgo Biogaran 40 mg, Ginkgo EG Labo Conseil 40 mg, Ginkgo Zentiva 40 mg, Ginkor Fort Capsule, Tanakan 40 mg/ml drinkable solution, Vitalogink 40 mg, etc.

Choose the right ginkgo biloba!

To make the most of its benefits, it is better to opt for ginkgo biloba products from the original regions of the tree  : China, Japan and Korea. Favor trees from organic farming, guaranteeing a sustainable and chemical-free culture.

Don’t forget to consult the list of components to make sure that your product does not contain excipients or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a substance which can prove to be a potential carcinogen.

What are the contraindications of ginkgo biloba? Is this tree dangerous?

Ginkgo biloba can sometimes have “mild” side effects: stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness or even skin reactions (itching, hives).

Its anticoagulant properties require special precautions: read the instructions carefully, do not exceed the regulatory doses and do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before using it!

Dangers and contraindications

The consumption of ginkgo biloba is not recommended:

  • pregnant women  ;
  • people with hemophilia  ;
  • people with epilepsy  ;
  • people on anticoagulants  ;
  • people on antidepressants
  • and people who are about to undergo surgery.