Ginkgo biloba is one of the most common herbal supplements used by Americans. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are many health claims associated with ginkgo biloba, however, studies demonstrate that it is especially effective in the treatment of circulatory disorders and dementia. Ginkgo biloba is available in many different forms including powders, teas, tablets, capsules and extracts. While taking ginkgo biloba may be beneficial, it is important to understand how to use this botanical and its appropriate dosage.
Gingko is one of the oldest living tree species. One tree can live up to 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. The tree has fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruit that contain a poisonous seed. Traditional Chinese medicine used both the ginkgo leaf and seed; however the ginkgo leaves are the focus of modern research. The popular herbal supplement is produced from an extract of dried ginkgo leaves. The leaves contain flavonoids and terpenoids, chemicals believed to be potent antioxidant agents. These chemicals help promote a healthy body by eliminating free radicals and oxidative damage known to cause disease.
How Does It Work
Although widely studied both in the United States and Europe, the mechanism of action for ginkgo biloba is not well understood. It is believed to function as an antioxidant, neuroprotective agent, membrane stabilizer and inhibitor of platelet aggregation. Ginkgo biloba is thought to help prevent cell damage caused by beta-amyloid proteins, which may contribute to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It has also been indicated in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, tinnitus, sexual dysfunction and multiple sclerosis. It helps improve blood circulation throughout the body, which may help your brain, eyes, ears and legs to function better. There are many beneficial effects that have been demonstrated in clinical studies but not yet tested in humans that may contribute to the actions of ginkgo biloba.
Unlike medications, standard doses for ginkgo biloba have not been established. There is inadequate information available to determine the best supplement dosage.Doses are based on the desired outcome. If you are taking ginkgo biloba supplements for memory impairment, cardiovascular function or poor circulation, take 120 to 240 mg per day in two or three divided doses. If you suffer from tension glaucoma, use 40 mg of ginkgo biloba daily for up to 4 weeks. To relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, take 80 mg of ginkgo biloba during your menstrual cycle. For peripheral vascular disease, vertigo or tinnitus, take no more than 120 mg per day in divided doses. For Raynard's disease, take 360 mg of gingko biloba per day in divided doses. It is important to start out with low doses of 120 mg or less to avoid stomach upset.
Ginkgo biloba, like other herbs, can trigger side effects and interact with certain medications and other herbal supplements. For this reason, you should inform your health care provider before taking it. Ginkgo biloba is generally considered safe, and side effects are rare. However, stomach upset, constipation, headache, dizziness, forceful heartbeats and allergic skin reactions have been reported.
An initial period of six to 12 weeks is necessary to assess the effectiveness of this supplement, although you may notice results as soon as four weeks after starting ginkgo biloba. If you develop bothersome or serious side effects, you dosage is likely too high.