Ginkgo Biloba : Natural Remedy for Alzheimer's Disease
Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba
The ginkgo trees alive today are exactly like those that lived during the age of the dinosaurs. In Hiroshima, about one kilometer from the epicenter of the detonation of the Nuclear Bomb at the end of World War II , there is a ginkgo tree that survived the blast. In fact, it is said to have budded soon after the blast without major deformation.
A plant that has survived for a long period of time and that can endure the blast of a thermonuclear bomb, implies that this plant has something great to offer mankind, Ginkgo has become one of the valuable herbal medicines that exist in the world today.
It is beneficial in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Recently in Germany, it is approved as a treatment for this progressive form of dementia.
Ginkgo phytochemicals specifically, terpenoids and flavonoids improve blood flow in the brain and throughout the body. They have pronounced antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Testtube studies revealed that ginkgo extracts enhance cellular redox (reduction) state and increase levels of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical that opens up blood vessels. Multiple trials demonstrated that ginkgo therapy can slow down the deterioration of memory and thinking ability in people with Alzheimer’s Disease.
The best known of these studies was published in the “ Journal of the American Medical Association in 1997.” Its authors, LeBars, et al , stated that ginkgo extract is safe and appears capable of stabilizing and in substantial number of cases, improving the cognitive performance and the social function of demented patients for six months to one year.. These effects bear the resemblance of AD medication such as tacrine and Aricept .
Ginkgo also happens to have some powerful anticancer effects. Aside from preventing DNA oxidation , it also hinders angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels to feed tumors) and seemingly have some gene-regulatory actions.
One study revealed a decrease in the proliferation of a highly aggressive human breast cancer strain when ginkgo extract was applied. Another study of ginkgo demonstrated that human bladder cancer cells underwent changes that made them less dangerous. Human studies reveal that ginkgo extracts hinder the precancerous changes induced by ultraviolet and other types of radiation.
The authors of a 2003 review in “Fundamentals of clinical pharmacology”, Defeudis, et al summarize that flavonoid and terpenoid constituents of Ginkgo extracts may act in a complementary manner to inhibit several carcinogenesis-related processes. Research is still in its early stages but so far has a potential outcome.
SOURCE : USER’S GUIDE TO ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTS
By JACK CHALLEM AND MELISSA BLOCK