Ginkgo Biloba: An Ancient Herb That Helps Protect The Brain From Neuronal Damage And Improve Recovery From Stroke

What Is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba or maidenhair is a tree native to China. It has been used as a source of food and in traditional medicine. It is a popular supplement and one of the top selling herbal medicines that are associated with several health claims and uses, most of which focus on brain function and blood circulation.

The nuts and leaves of the tree have been known to have high nutrient content which has positive effects on the brain and nervous system. Ginkgo biloba extract is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available as liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets.

Due to its therapeutic properties, the plant is used for a variety of health issues such as memory problems, blood disorders, improve eye health, enhancement of cardiovascular function, dizziness, tinnitus, glaucoma, diabetes, eye problems, sexual dysfunction, headache, vertigo, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and premenstrual syndrome.

Despite this plant’s numerous benefits to our health, one should refrain from using it on self-medication, particularly for severe symptoms. It is important to first consult a health expert or a licensed herbalist before taking ginkgo biloba or any other herbal remedy.

Ginkgo Biloba Against The Effects Of Ischemic Stroke

According to a study from Nanjing University in China, ginkgo biloba may assist in stroke recovery and prevention of brain cell death.

For the study which was led by Dr. Yun Xu from the Department of Neurology at the university, 348 participants suffering from ischemic stroke were involved. Each of them was given either a 450-milligram ginkgo biloba extract in three doses plus 100 milligrams of aspirin (179 people in total) or 100 milligrams of aspirin alone (169 in the control group). One week after being admitted to the hospital due to stroke, the dosage was prescribed every day for six months.

Researchers made their assessments on the 12th, 30th, 90th, and 180th days of the trial using a test that measured attention, memory, and language skills. At the end of the study, better test scores were obtained by those participants who took ginkgo biloba together with aspirin. This combination had helped lessen cognitive and neurological deficits after an acute ischemic stroke without increasing the occurrence of negative vascular effects.

Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. It is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. This keeps blood from flowing to the brain. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. It can also be caused by stenosis, or narrowing of the arteries in the neck or in the head which happens because of atherosclerosis, a disease wherein plaque builds up in the arteries. This type of stroke has two types: Thrombotic and embolic. In a thrombotic stroke, damaged arteries are blocked by blood clots within the brain. Meanwhile, an embolic stroke is caused by a clot which was formed outside of the brain.

Here are some of the early warning signs of stroke before it happens:

  1. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  2. Sudden severe headache with no known cause
  3. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  4. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  5. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination