Herbs for healthy hearts and circulation: Ginkgo Biloba

Excerpt from Dr. Susan Lark’s Healing Herbs for Women

The ginkgo biloba tree species originated about 250 million years ago, and a single tree can live as long as 1000 years. This handsome tree is often planted in urban settings, as it resists disease, insects, and pollution. Modern science is finding that this ancient plant can also help slow the aging of the brain, alleviate depression, and, perhaps most importantly, improve circulation and oxygenation throughout the body.

Ginkgo leaf extracts are used by individuals throughout the world for their circulatory and oxygenation benefits. The chemicals found in ginkgo have powerful vasodilating effects: They act by stimulating the release of prostacyclin (a prostaglandin hormone) and a vascular relaxing substance. These chemicals also improve the tone of blood vessels and reduce the stickiness of red blood cells, so that they flow more smoothly through the blood vessels as they carry oxygen throughout the body.

Numerous research studies confirm the benefits of ginkgo extracts on all parts of the circulatory system, improving blood flow and oxygenation to the brain, heart, and other vital organs and the extremities. It is useful for many conditions including coronary-artery disease, cerebral vascular insufficiency, peripheral vascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diseases of the eye due to diabetes mellitus or poor circulation, edema due to PMS, Reynaud’s disease (vasoconstriction of the extremities), impotence due to diminished blood flow, cyclic and even clinical depression (gingko acts as a potent mood elevator).

Many important performance traits are enhanced by the improvement in the oxygenation of the body that occurs when using ginkgo. These include improvements in physical energy, mental clarity, cognitive function, mood, and ability to socialize. Side effects are rare; however, women should be aware that the flavonoid quercetin, which is found in ginkgo, may lower estrogen production within the body.

Suggested Dosage: Only standardized extracts should be used (standardized to 24 percent flavonoid glycosides and 6 percent terpene lactones). Dosages may vary between 40 to 60 mg, two to three times a day.

For more information about ginkgo biloba or other herbs that support heart and circulatory health, see my book Dr. Susan Lark’s Healing Herbs for Women available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle and Womens Wellness Publishing.

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