Monday, November 5, 2007

Natural Health Plant: Ginkgo

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest existing tree species and its plants are among the most broadly studied botanicals in use these days. Unlike many other natural health herbs, ginkgo leaves are not habitually used in their crude state, but rather, in the form of a concentrated, standardized ginkgo biloba extract (GBE). In Europe and the United States, ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal drugs and it constantly ranks as a top medicine approved in France and Germany.
The Ginkgo, often misspelled as "Gingko", and also acknowledged as the Maidenhair Tree, is a unique tree with no close living relatives. It is confidential in its own separation, the Ginkgophyta, containing the single class Ginkgoopsida, order Ginkgoales, family Ginkgoaceae, genus Ginkgo and is the only present species within this group. It is one of the best recognized examples of a living fossil. Ginkgoales are not known in the fossil record after the Pliocene, making Ginkgo biloba a living fossil.
For centuries it was deliberation to be extinct in the in their natural habitat, but is now known to breed in at least two small areas in Zhejiang province in Eastern China, in the Tian Mu Shan Reserve. Ginkgo trees in these regions may have been leaned and sealed by Chinese monks for over 1000 years. Therefore, whether native ginkgo populations still survive is tentative.
Medicinal Uses for Natural Health
Ginkgo has been used in traditional natural health medicine to indulgence circulatory disorders and improve memory. Scientific studies during the years provide support to these traditional applies. Promising evidence recommends that GBE may be mostly effective in treating ailments related with diminished blood flow to the brain, particularly in old individuals. Laboratory studies have revealed that GBE advances blood circulation by expanding blood vessels and dropping the stickiness of blood platelets.
In 2002, a long-anticipated paper emerged in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) titled "Ginkgo for memory enhancement: a randomized controlled trial." This Williams College study, supported by the National Institute on Aging rather than Schwabe, observed the effects of ginkgo consumption on healthy volunteers older than 60. The conclusion, now cited in the National Institutes of Health's ginkgo fact sheet, said: "When taken following the manufacturer's instructions, ginkgo provides no measurable benefit in memory or related cognitive function to adults with healthy cognitive function." A 2004 discussion paper reviews how a variety of trials indicate that Ginkgo proves pledge in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, even though advance study is required.
A clinical study initiated that a standardized this natural health plant extract may diminish the side effects of menopause as well as risk factors for osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Women are flattering more reluctant to use pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to its unwanted side effects, such as irregular bleeding and an augmented risk of breast cancer. Several human studies have reported that a standardized ginkgo extract has estrogenic action and might be appropriate as an alternative to HRT. A standardized ginkgo extract was reported to extensively recover functional measures (such as coordination, energy level, strength, mental performance, mood, and sensation) in 22 individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Ginkgo may have some unwanted effects, particularly for individuals with blood circulation disorders and those taking anti-coagulants for example aspirin and warfarin, although current studies have originate that ginkgo has slight or no effect on the anticoagulant properties or pharmacodynamics of warfarin. Ginkgo should also not be used by people who are captivating monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or by pregnant women with no first consulting a doctor. Ginkgo side effects and cautions include: possible enlarged risk of bleeding, gastrointestinal anxiety, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and restlessness. If any side effects are knowledgeable, consumption should be stopped immediately.

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