Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ginko Biloba: An Evergreen Wonder Drug?

With healing powers are well known to the practitioners of traditional / alternative medicine for perhaps thousands of years, is Ginko biloba still holds its own as a 21st Century wonder drug?

By: Ringo Bones

As a little medicinal herb that could is probably in use in traditional Chinese medicine to improve blood circulation that dates back centuries, Ginko biloba had been a subject of recent medical studies. With results pointing to the fact that Ginko biloba could also improve memory. While even more recent studies have shown that this herbal wonder drug can also improve the overall brain function in those suffering from dementia.

The 33 previously documented clinical trials of Ginko biloba – some dating as far back as 1976 - are now reexamined by scientists at Oxford University in order to reassess the previous results. The assessment of the previous clinical trials have shown that patients who took up to 200 milligrams of Ginko biloba herbal supplements on a daily basis for up to a year did better in standardized cognitive and memory tests. While further evaluation of the data obtained from past studies points to the possibility that Ginko biloba could slow down the on-going age-related degenerative processes of the brain.

Dr. James Warner, a senior lecturer at London’s Imperial College points out that there is a growing consensus of test results on the on-going medical research into Ginko biloba that it causes blood vessels to dilate, thus improving blood flow to the brain. Ginko biloba also makes blood less likely to clot due to its blood thinning properties. The herb is also high in antioxidants, which protects nerve cells against free radical damage.

With its blood thinning properties an overriding issue on the safety of its use as an herbal health supplement, Ginko biloba – like aspirin – should be prescribed under medical supervision. Also, patients should be mindful if their other medications will have adverse side-effects when taken alongside Ginko biloba herbal health supplements. Just because it falls under the purview of alternative medicine / traditional medicine / herbal medicine doesn’t make Ginko biloba 100% safe.

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