Composition of Gingko Biloba
Ginkgo is one of the oldest living tree species. Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoids and terpenoids, which are both antioxidants. In your body, harmful particles called free radicals build up as you age, and may contribute to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer disease. Antioxidants like those found in ginkgo fight off free radicals, and stop them from damaging DNA and other cells. A single Gingko tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet.
Health benefits of Gingko Biloba
Ginkgo biloba was found to stabilize or improve several measures of cognitive function and social functioning in Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular or mixed dementia patients. Other benefits may include: Improved thinking, improved memory, better social behaviour and better ability to perform everyday tasks. Researchers believe that ginkgo improves cognitive function because it promotes good blood circulation in the brain and protects the brain and other parts from neuronal damage.
Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky. It is also an antioxidant. Ginkgo biloba is well proven to help circulation and difficulties with circulation to the arms and legs.
Gingko Biloba has long been known to improve blood circulation, presumably by reducing the tendency of blood to clot and thus help maintain blood flow to sensitive tissues, such as the brain and optic nerve. Improved blood flow to these organs, the researchers reasoned, may ease the course of glaucoma. Researchers note that visual field improvement may result from either improved retinal ganglion cell function or improved cognitive function. At this point, it is unclear whether ginkgo’s neuroprotective benefit is derived from improved blood flow to the brain or to the eyes, or both. Regardless, ginkgo has multiple benefits.
History of Gingko Biloba
Revered for its beauty and its longevity, the ginkgo is a living fossil, unchanged for more than 200 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated and was introduced early to human history. Global cataclysmic events caused a decrease in the number of Ginkgo and the extinction of dinosaurs and large reptiles, who helped disperse the seeds, may have also contributed to its decline. It survived in China in the monasteries and temple gardens.
One of the most famous ginkgo biloba trees was located in Hiroshima. It was growing near a temple that was 1.1 kilometers from the blast center where the atom bomb was dropped by the American forces during World War II. The tree was still standing after the bomb was dropped, even though the temple and everything surrounding it was destroyed. The tree began to bud again after the blast with no apparent deformities. The temple was later rebuilt around the tree.
Individual trees may live as long as 3000 years, just another reason to call this plant a “living fossil.” This tree provides a direct link to our prehistory through its unchanging structure.