Q. I’ve heard so much about the herb ginkgo. What conditions can it treat?
A. The herb ginkgo biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 5,000 years. It has been used to treat memory loss in the elderly and to enhance circulation in patients with hardening of the arteries.
Studies have indicated that the herb possesses medicinal properties and can enhance circulation to your brain and extremities. Its flavonoids regulate the elasticity and tone of your blood vessels and inhibit the stickiness of your platelets.
Studies also show that ginkgo biloba possesses antioxidant properties that can help prevent free radicals from damaging your cells.
The German Commission E — the equivalent of the FDA in the United States — has given approval for ginkgo biloba to be used to treat poor memory, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness and headaches.
A number of research studies also suggest that ginkgo biloba may be helpful in preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s interesting to note that this herb is prescribed more than any other herb in Germany and France. In France, ginkgo biloba is also used to treat varicose veins.
Side effects from ginkgo biloba are rare but can include headaches and stomach upset. Because it can thin your blood, you shouldn’t use this herb if you’re taking blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder. And remember: It’s important to discontinue taking ginkgo biloba at least one week before having surgery.
Be sure to buy a standardized extract of ginkgo biloba that contains 24 percent ginkgo flavone glycosides and 6 percent terpene lactones.
The recommended dosage is 120 to 240 milligrams per day in divided doses.
Article was originally printed in the Honolulu Advertiser, honoluluadvertiser.com