Ginkgo Biloba Health Benefits, Medicinal Uses and Side Effects

Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree or the “living fossil”, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. As one of the oldest living tree species, ginkgo biloba has long been touted for its medicinal properties. Today, this ancient remedy is gaining traction in modern society as a potential treatment for a variety of ailments, ranging from cognitive decline to cardiovascular diseases. Ginkgo biloba is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and teas. Before taking any supplements, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to ensure it is safe for you. If you’re looking for an ancient remedy with modern-day benefits, ginkgo biloba may be worth exploring. It could help improve blood flow and reduce oxidative stress, which may lead to improved mental clarity, memory, and overall wellbeing.

Origin and History

Ginkgo biloba is native to China and is one of the oldest living tree species. It has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including asthma, memory loss, and even cancer. It was first brought to Europe in 1730 and has since been widely planted in parks and gardens around the world. Ginkgo biloba is called a living fossil as it is the sole surviving species of a group of ancient plants that date back over 250 million years. It is the oldest living tree species, with its lineage unchanged since prehistory. Ginkgo biloba is a living fossil because no other species in its group has survived for millions of years. The ginkgo leaf’s distinctive fan-shaped design is a symbol of longevity, endurance and hope. It has been used as a symbol for many centuries in China, Japan, and other countries. The leaf is believed to represent balance, hope, and peace, and is used in many spiritual and religious ceremonies. It is also a popular symbol of strength and resilience, as ginkgo trees are known to be very hardy and resistant to disease. In recent years, some people have come to believe that ginkgo has spiritual benefits, such as aiding in meditation, promoting inner peace, and enhancing creativity. These beliefs are not widely accepted or supported by scientific research.

Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart

Ginkgo biloba is thought to work by improving circulation, which helps the body deliver essential nutrients to the brain and other organs. This, in turn, could lead to improved mental clarity, concentration, and memory. Studies have also shown that ginkgo biloba can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by increasing blood flow to the heart and brain. In addition, ginkgo biloba may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, two factors that can contribute to a wide range of health issues. It has also been used to treat anxiety, depression, and stress. Nutritional value per 100 g ginkgo biloba:

  • Biotin: 0.0 µg
  • Calcium: 7.0 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 5.3 g
  • Chloride: 28.5 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Choline: 0.0 mg
  • Chromium: 0.0 µg
  • Copper: 0.3 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Energy (Calories): 30 kcal
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Iodine: 0.0 µg
  • Iron: 0.4 mg
  • Magnesium: 11.0 mg
  • Manganese: 0.2 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0.0 µg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.2 mg
  • Phosphorus: 10.0 mg
  • Potassium: 67.0 mg
  • Protein: 2.1 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.0 g
  • Selenium: 0.1 µg
  • Sodium: 10.0 mg
  • Sugars: 0.2 g
  • Vitamin A: 0.2 µg
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.7 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 0.1 µg
  • Vitamin B12: 0.0 µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.7 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0.0 µg
  • Vitamin E: 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin K: 0.0 µg
  • Water: 8.4 g
  • Zinc: 0.2 mg

Ginkgo Biloba In India and Ayurveda

It is widely used in India for its various health benefits, including the treatment of various mental and physical health conditions. The herb is believed to improve memory, circulation, mood, and other cognitive functions. It is also used to treat respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and to boost the immune system. The herb is available in the form of capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. Ginkgo biloba is used in Ayurveda as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It is believed to improve mental clarity and concentration, strengthen memory and help reduce stress. It is also used to reduce inflammation and improve circulation. In Ayurveda, it is believed to be useful in treating anxiety, depression, asthma and even diabetes. It is also used to treat vision and hearing problems.

  • Scientific Binomial: Ginkgo Biloba 
  • Common English: Maidenhair tree / Kew tree / Living Fossils / Gingko Nuts / Duck’s Foot Tree / Golden Fossil Tree
  • Ayurvedic / Nepali: Bal Kumari
  • Unani: 
  • Sanskrit
  • Hindi / Urdu
  • Bengali
  • Marathi
  • Telugu
  • Tamil: Jinko pilopa
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada
  • Malayalam
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi / Sindhi
  • Assamese
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Manipuri
  • Dogri
  • Bhojpuri

Home Remedies

  1. Memory Booster: Grind several herb leaves into a fine powder and mix with honey. Consume twice daily to improve memory and cognitive function.
  2. Headache Reliever and Anti-inflammatory: Boil several leaves in water for about 10 minutes and then strain. Drink the liquid to relieve headaches and to reduce inflammation.
  3. Anxiety Relief: Make a tea with leaves and drink it twice daily to reduce anxiety.
  4. Antioxidant Booster: Mix the herb powder with yogurt and consume it regularly to boost antioxidant levels in your body.
  5. Blood Pressure Lowering: Boil several Ginkgo biloba leaves in water for 10 minutes and then strain. Drink the liquid to lower your blood pressure.
  6. Ginkgo nut porridge is the best late-night snack for jet lag. It helps heal the body from the damaging effects of flying. The ginkgo nuts in this recipe, according to traditional Chinese medicine, are beneficial for relieving coughs and reducing phlegm. Key ingredients in the soup are dried bean curd (foo jook), unshelled ginkgo nuts (bock guo), and Chinese dried scallops (gawn yu chee), along with a generous helping of finely shredded ginger. Some chef like to include flank steak as well.
  7. The seeds of the ginkgo biloba plant act as a tonic to the kidneys and bladder, and have been used for incontinence and excessive urination.

Ginkgo Biloba vs Ginseng

Ginkgo biloba and ginseng are both herbs that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Both are known for their health benefits, but they differ in some ways. Ginkgo biloba is believed to have antioxidant properties, improve mental clarity and circulation, and may even help with conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and age-related cognitive decline. Ginseng is an herb native to Korea, China, and parts of North America. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is believed to have many health benefits, including reducing stress, improving energy, increasing mental clarity, and improving the immune system. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ginkgo Biloba vs Ashwagandha

Ginkgo Biloba is a popular herbal supplement used to improve cognitive function and memory, while Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb used to reduce stress and anxiety. Both herbs have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, but they are not interchangeable. Ginkgo Biloba is believed to improve blood flow to the brain, while Ashwagandha is thought to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Ginkgo Biloba is often taken to improve focus and mental clarity, whereas Ashwagandha can be taken to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Ultimately, it is important to consider your individual needs and consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

Health Benefits

  • Improves Cognitive Function: The herb has been shown to improve overall cognitive function, making it an effective supplement for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also shown that it can help with memory, concentration and focus. 
  • Reduces Anxiety and Stress: It can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. This is due to its ability to increase blood flow to the brain, which helps to reduce the physical symptoms associated with anxiety and stress. 
  • Improves Mood: It has been found to help improve mood and reduce depression. This is thought to be due to its ability to increase serotonin levels in the brain, which is a hormone that helps regulate mood. 
  • Prevents Age-Related Vision Loss: The herb can help prevent age-related vision loss by increasing blood flow to the eyes. This helps to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is a common cause of blindness in older adults. 
  • Reduces Inflammation: It can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. It has been found to be an effective treatment for inflammatory conditions such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Improves Heart Health: The herb can also help improve heart health. It has been found to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the coronary arteries, which can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Male and Female Fertility: It is a popular herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to promote health and wellness. It has also been used to treat a variety of conditions related to fertility, including male and female infertility. Studies have found that it has a positive effect on male fertility, as it can improve sperm count, motility, and morphology, as well as reduce oxidative damage to sperm cells. It is also believed to increase libido and sexual satisfaction in men. In women, ginkgo biloba can improve egg quality and increase the number of eggs released during ovulation, as well as reduce the risk of miscarriage. It may also help to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as mood swings and cramps. Overall, ginkgo biloba may be a beneficial supplement for both male and female fertility.
    • Men: Ginkgo biloba has been used traditionally as an aphrodisiac. Studies suggest that it may improve male fertility by increasing sperm count, motility, and semen volume.
    • Women: Ginkgo biloba has been used to improve fertility in women. It may help to regulate hormones, improve egg quality and increase blood flow to the uterus. It may also reduce stress, which can help to improve fertility. Additionally, ginkgo biloba may help to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Ginkgo Biloba to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

  • Take ginkgo biloba supplements. Ginkgo biloba is available in the form of capsules and tablets, and can be taken as a dietary supplement. Follow the dosage directions on the packaging for best results.
  • Drink ginkgo tea. Ginkgo tea is made with ginkgo leaves, and can be purchased at specialty stores or online. To make your own, steep 1 teaspoon of dried ginkgo leaves in 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water for 10 minutes. Drink 1-2 cups per day.
  • Take a ginkgo tincture. A tincture is an extract of ginkgo that can be taken orally. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging, and start with a lower dose to see how your body reacts.
  • Do breathing exercises. Deep breathing is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress. Take long, slow breaths and focus on how your body feels. When you exhale, imagine any negative feelings leaving your body.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice of focusing on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It can help you to better manage stress and anxiety.
  • Get adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep can increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can help release endorphins, which can lead to an improved mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Ginkgo Biloba for tinnitus or hearing loss

It is an herbal supplement that is sometimes used to treat tinnitus or hearing loss. By improving blood flow to the central nervous system, ginkgo can benefit nerve-related problems such as dizziness, vertigo, nerve deafness, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). However, it is important to note that there is limited scientific evidence to support its use for these conditions. There are some studies that suggest that ginkgo may help improve symptoms, but more research is needed before any definite conclusions can be made. If you are considering taking ginkgo for tinnitus or hearing loss, it is important to discuss this with your doctor first.

  • Take a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba. If you are considering taking ginkgo for tinnitus or hearing loss, it is important to discuss this with your doctor first.
  • Increase your daily intake of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Antioxidants help protect your ears from damage.
  • Use essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, and chamomile. These are thought to help reduce inflammation and improve circulation.
  • Try acupuncture. Some research suggests that acupuncture may help reduce tinnitus symptoms.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Avoid loud noises and protect your ears with ear plugs when you are exposed to loud noises.
  • Reduce stress. Stress can worsen the symptoms of tinnitus.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can aggravate tinnitus.

Ginkgo Biloba for Brain and Memory

Ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is now being studied for its potential use in improving brain and memory function. Studies have shown that ginkgo biloba can improve cognitive function, particularly in older adults. It appears to enhance memory and other aspects of cognitive performance by improving blood flow to the brain and protecting nerve cells from oxidative damage. Ginkgo biloba may also help reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. More research is needed to understand the full effects of ginkgo biloba on the brain and memory. Ginkgo biloba is widely used to support brain and memory function. It has been used to enhance cognitive function, improve memory and protect the brain against age-related decline.

  • To use Ginkgo biloba for brain and memory support, you can take a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba in capsule or tablet form. Before taking Ginkgo biloba, it is important to consult your healthcare provider first, especially if you are taking any medications. Ginkgo biloba can interact with some medications, so it is best to check with your healthcare provider before taking it.
  • Ginkgo biloba can also be taken as a tea. To make ginkgo tea, steep 1–2 teaspoons of dried ginkgo leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the tea and drink it twice a day.
  • You can also find Ginkgo biloba supplements in the form of tinctures, liquid extracts, and essential oils. The recommended dosage for these forms is usually 20–60 drops per day.

Plantation and Cultivation

China is the world’s largest producer of Ginkgo Biloba, accounting for over 90% of the global production. Other major producers include South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. The tree is easy to cultivate and can thrive in a variety of soil types. When growing ginkgo, it is important to provide the tree with the proper conditions to ensure it reaches its full potential. The first step to successful ginkgo cultivation is to choose a site that has full sun and is well-drained. The tree prefers acidic soil with a pH of 5 to 6.5, but can tolerate a wider range of soils. If the soil is too alkaline, it is important to amend it with organic matter to lower the pH. Ginkgo can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. Seeds should be planted in the spring, while cuttings should be taken in the summer or fall. Cuttings should be planted in a pot and kept in a warm, sunny spot for two to three weeks before transplanting. Once planted, ginkgo needs regular watering, especially during the summer months. The tree should also be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer two or three times a year. Pruning should be done every few years to keep the tree healthy and its shape attractive. Ginkgo is a hardy tree that is generally disease and pest-resistant. However, it may be affected by some pests, such as the ginkgo billbug, so it is important to monitor it and take action if needed. 

  1. Plant your ginkgo biloba in a sunny location in well-draining soil.
  2. Water your ginkgo biloba regularly but allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
  3. Fertilize your ginkgo biloba with a balanced fertilizer twice a year.
  4. Prune your ginkgo biloba to maintain its shape, but be careful not to prune too much.
  5. Mulch your ginkgo biloba with organic material, such as bark mulch, to protect its roots and conserve water.
  6. Watch for signs of disease and pests, and treat promptly if necessary.

Ginkgo biloba grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic soils in full sun to partial shade. It prefers moist conditions but is tolerant of some drought once established. It tolerates a wide range of temperatures, from -10°F to 100°F (-23°C to 38°C).

Side Effects and Disadvantages

  • Common side effects of ginkgo biloba include nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, and headaches. Rarely, more serious allergic reactions may occur, including skin rashes, hives, and difficulty breathing.
  • In addition, ginkgo biloba may interact with certain medications, including anticoagulants, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications. It can also interfere with blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should use caution when taking this supplement.
  • Ginkgo biloba may cause seizures in people with epilepsy, and people with bleeding disorders should avoid this supplement due to its anticoagulant properties. Lastly, ginkgo biloba should not be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • For kids or children: Ginkgo Biloba is not generally recommended for use by children. The long-term safety of Ginkgo Biloba for children is not known, and it may interfere with other medications. Consult your child’s pediatrician before giving Ginkgo Biloba to a child.
  • Coffee: It is not recommended to combine ginkgo biloba with coffee. Caffeine can have a stimulating effect on the body, while ginkgo biloba has a calming effect. Combining the two can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous. Additionally, ginkgo biloba may interfere with the effects of caffeine, reducing its effectiveness. It is best to take them separately to avoid any potential risks.


Q. How much and when to take Ginkgo Biloba supplements?

  • Ginkgo biloba supplements are widely available in health food stores and online, and are typically taken in capsule or tablet form.
  • For best results, make sure to take a good quality supplement. When choosing a ginkgo biloba supplement, it is important to make sure it is made with the highest quality ingredients. Look for one that is made from an extract of the ginkgo tree, and is standardized to 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.
  • Take the supplement on a regular basis. In order to get the most benefit from ginkgo biloba, it is important to take it on a regular basis. Be patient. While some people may notice an improvement in cognitive function shortly after starting a ginkgo biloba supplement, it may take several weeks or even months for the full benefits to become apparent.
  • Speak to your doctor. Before taking ginkgo biloba, it is important to speak to your doctor. Doctor will be able to advise you on the best dosage for your individual needs, and may also be able to tell you if the supplement could interact with any other medications you are taking.

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