The Ginkgo biloba tree has been around for hundreds of millions of years without much change. It has no close relatives and most of its contemporaries are found only in fossil form, earning it the label of a living fossil.
The tree was once found only in China. Now cultivated more widely, you might find a Ginkgo biloba tree in your neighbor’s back yard.
Ginkgo biloba has been part of Chinese traditional medicine for many centuries. In the late 20th century, extracts from the plant made their way west and appeared in the form of supplements, mainly for improving cognitive function, in the U.S.
At the time, Ginkgo was marketed to older adults as a way to prevent dementia and memory loss. But it turns out that there isn’t a lot of evidence of Ginkgo having a drastic effect on cognitive function in seniors.
Does that mean Ginkgo has no benefits at all? No, it does not. As the further study of herbal remedies became more common, Ginkgo was discovered to have other health benefits.
When Ginkgo first arrived in the U.S., most people had never heard of an antioxidant. We knew that fruits and vegetables were good for us, but now we’re starting to learn why. They are, as is Ginkgo, filled with antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that help our bodies maintain balance by eliminating excess free radicals. Free radicals are particles that are naturally produced by the body but can also be the result of stress, polluted environments, and other factors.
When there are more free radicals present than our bodies can manage, they can cause cell damage. That damage may lead to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. A diet rich in antioxidants helps restore the proper balance.
Ginkgo contains both flavonoids and terpenes, which are considered to be strong antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich diets are linked to decreased risks of some cancers, heart disease, and even some eye diseases.
Ginkgo also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is, of course, a natural body response to injury or infection. It’s your immune system in action, sending help where it’s needed.
Chronic inflammation, however, can cause damage to body systems including the joints, the brain, and the heart. Our bodies experience chronic inflammation for a variety of reasons, including auto-immune disease, obesity, exposure to environmental toxins, and chronic stress.
Reducing inflammation is good for your body and mind. Chronic inflammation has been linked to diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and cancer.
Like antioxidants, what we consume can help our bodies fight the negative effects of chronic inflammation. A wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and certain kinds of fish are all known to have anti-inflammatory properties. So, too, does Ginkgo biloba.
The truth about Ginkgo biloba is that it is not a miracle cure. It is an herbal supplement loaded with antioxidants that has anti-inflammatory properties and can help our bodies and brains deal with the environmental and cultural stressors to which we are exposed every day. You’ll find this ancient remedy as part of our Focus and Sleep Functional Support products.