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What Is Ginkgo Biloba? The Herbal Plant That May Benefit COVID-19 Patients

The sole surviving member of the ginkgoacea family, the ginkgo biloba tree is widely known for its therapeutic properties. The dried green leaves of the tree are used to produce an [1] extract, which is utilised due to its high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids. Ginkgo biloba seed and dried leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 1,000 years.

Today, the ancient plant extract is available in liquid form which is applied in the treatment of mental [2] health conditions, fatigue and Alzheimer's disease. Clinical studies support the claim that the ancient plant extract possesses various health benefits and protects your body from oxidative stress and damages.

The unique combination of antioxidants and phenolic compounds in the plant extract are increasingly inclined towards improving [3] brain function and blood circulation. Ginkgo biloba is mostly used for treating the ailments in older people but is justly beneficial for people of all age groups. It is safe to be consumed by children too, however, the dosage varies according to the age and health of the individual.

Phytochemicals In Ginkgo Biloba

The leaf extracts of the plant contain proanthocyanidins, [4] phenolic acids, flavonoid glycosides, such as kaempferol, myricetin, isorhamnetin and quercetin, and the terpene trilactones, bilobalides, and ginkgolides. The leaves also contain alkylphenols and polyprenols, and [5] ginkgo biflavones.

Uses Of Ginkgo Biloba

From a herbal remedy to therapeutic countermeasure, the ancient plant is applied [6] in the treatment of various conditions. Most commonly, ginkgo biloba is used for treating

  • schizophrenia,
  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • altitude sickness [7] ,
  • blood pressure problems,
  • asthma,
  • erectile dysfunction,
  • insufficient blood flow to the brain,
  • neuropathy,
  • premenstrual syndrome,
  • cancer,
  • macular degeneration, and
  • attention [8] deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Ginkgo Biloba For COVID-19

Researchers at Shihezi University in China found that Gingko Biloba leaves extract contains the most potent SARS-CoV-2 3-Chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) (this virally encoded main proteinase is essential for viral replication in coronaviruses).

Scientists believe that Gingko Biloba can benefit patients with COVID-19, particularly those with underlying health conditions, by treating the major symptoms. Past evidence has shown that Gingko Biloba, also known as maidenhair, can inhibit viral proteins, inhibiting replication.

Ginkgo biloba is an anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-oxidative, and can lower blood pressure [36].

Benefits Of Ginkgo Biloba

1. Improves cognitive health

Ginkgo is known for its ability to improve brain function and health. It helps treat [9] cerebral insufficiency and improves the associated confusion, chronically low concentration, fatigue, headaches, decreased physical performance, and mood changes. Studies have revealed that it contributes towards elevating one's mental performance and well-being. Consuming [10] ginkgo can have a positive impact on your focus, memory and attention span. The benefits of your cognitive health also include better social behaviour and improved performance in carrying out daily tasks.

2. Manages symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's

Various studies have linked ginkgo to the treatment of [11] Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms. It has been asserted that ginkgo can increase the functional capabilities of individuals suffering from Alzheimer's. Another study pointed out that the ancient plant has evidently reduced the symptoms associated with [12] dementia when used for a period of 22 to 24 weeks.

3. Improves heart health

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginkgo have been proven to have an impact on improving the [13] heart health. It reduces the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque which causes arteriosclerosis and reduces the LDL cholesterol levels. The superior antioxidant property possessed by the plant also works towards improving the [14] heartbeat regulation.

4. Reduces anxiety and depression

Consuming ginkgo is observed to have beneficial results in managing the symptoms of anxiety. Studies have revealed that, upon consuming ginkgo, individuals suffering from anxiety disorder were revealed to have better relief. The antioxidant property [15] of the plant works wonders and was asserted that there was a 45% reduction in the individuals' anxiety levels. Likewise, the anti-inflammatory properties of ginkgo help in managing the symptoms related to [16] depression.

5. Fights PMS symptoms

Ginkgo is pointed out to have an impact on managing mood swings, muscle pain, headaches, fatigue and anxiety. It treats both the psychological and [17] physical symptoms and helps improve your mood. Various studies have been conducted to gather a clear understanding on the impact the extract has on the [18] PMS symptoms, and most of the studies revealed a gradual decline in the severity of the symptoms.

6. Treats ADHD symptoms

As aforementioned, ginkgo is extremely beneficial in treating cognitive related issues. Studies have revealed that the plant is beneficial in reducing the symptoms of [19] ADHD in children. It provides relief to individuals and helps improve their concentration skills. It is also shown to have an impact on reducing the symptoms of dyslexia.

7. Improves sleep quality

By impacting the REM function and cycle, the [20] antioxidant property of ginkgo can help manage and improve the lack of sleep. Consuming the extract can help increase your sleep quality, especially in individuals who are using antidepressants.

8. Treats migraine

Ginkgo has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating headache related issues. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties [21] possessed by the plant extract can help limit the onset of a severe migraine. A stress-induced headache can be cured by consuming the recommended dosage. It helps the condition by elevating the blood vessel dilation, thereby eradicating the [22] triggers.

9. Improves libido

Some studies have revealed that ginkgo can aid in treating erectile dysfunction. Consuming ginkgo helps improve the levels of nitric oxide in the blood, thereby improving the circulation through the dilation of the [23] blood vessels. It improves libido by improving the blood circulation to all parts of the body, especially the genitals. Likewise, by managing the hormonal balance, it helps regulate the serotonin levels, blood pressure and circulation which directly impacts the [24] low libido.

10. Maintains eye health

The platelet-activating factors present in ginkgo helps in the prevention of membrane damage that is caused by the free radicals. It helps lower the risk of [25] macular degeneration as well. Ginkgo is also used to treat pink eye symptoms, due to its antibacterial property.

11. Fights fibromyalgia

Studies have revealed that ginkgo is effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia, a disorder affecting the nervous system. It is used as a natural [26] fibromyalgia treatment, as it can help reduce the associated symptoms such as muscle pain accompanied by fatigue, headache, and sleeping difficulty, anxiety and depression.

12. Promotes healthy skin

Regular consumption of ginkgo is asserted to have an impact on improving your skin quality. It is shown to have an effect in reducing the symptoms of [27] vitiligo. Ginkgo also helps in getting rid of skin roughness and wrinkles. It gets rid of the wrinkles and roughness due to the flavonoids that increased the [28] skin moisture.

13. Helps heal haemorrhoids

Being anti-inflammatory in nature, ginkgo is pointed out to have a definite impact in treating painful haemorrhoids. It manages the condition by reducing swelling, pain and bleeding. Regarded as an effective haemorrhoids treatment method, ginkgo decreases the inflammation.

14. Reduces symptoms of asthma

Ginkgo possesses properties that reduce the levels of [29] inflammation and improves the antioxidant activity in your body. It also helps improve the nerve functioning, thereby reducing the difficulties caused during an asthma attack.

15. Increases effectiveness of schizophrenia treatment

Various studies have focused on bringing out the impact ginkgo has on reducing the symptoms related to schizophrenia, when used as an add-on with the drugs used for the treatment. Although it does not cease the symptoms in an extensive manner, it does help increase and improves the responses to the [30] medications.

Dosage Of Ginkgo Biloba

The impact of the extract on your body is dependent on the recommended dosage of it. For each condition, the dosage varies. It is also dependent on the age, and health of the [31] individual.

  • Altitude sickness - 80 milligrams, taken orally two times daily.
  • Cognitive function - 120-600 milligrams, taken orally two times daily.
  • Dementia - 120-240 milligrams, taken orally in divided doses - two to three times daily.
  • Premenstrual syndrome - 80 milligrams, taken orally two times daily. Start on day 16 and continue until day 5 of the next cycle.
  • SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction - 60-240 milligrams, taken orally two times daily.
  • Vertigo or tinnitus - 120-160 milligrams taken orally in divided doses two to three times daily.
  • Raynaud's disease [32] - 360 milligrams, taken orally in divided doses three times daily.
  • Normal tension glaucoma - 40 milligrams, taken orally three times daily for 4 weeks.

*Consult a doctor before starting the medication.

Risks Of Ginkgo Biloba

  • If you are allergic to urushiols, avoid consuming the plant [33] as it can have adverse effects on your body.
  • If you are using medications for any sort of bleeding disorders, steer away from ginkgo as it may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • If you are taking medications like ibuprofen, avoid ginkgo as it can hinder with the clotting of blood and can have severe side effects.
  • Individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia should not take ginkgo as it can lower the blood sugar levels.
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding, do not take ginkgo.
  • It can increase the risk of thyroid [34] and liver cancer.
  • Ginkgo seeds and unprocessed ginkgo leaves can cause seizure and death.

Side Effects Of Ginkgo Biloba

The most common negative outcomes of consuming the extract are[35]

  • restlessness,
  • nausea,
  • diarrhoea,
  • headaches,
  • dizziness,
  • stomach ache, and
  • vomiting.
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