Health Benefits of Ginkgo
The wide-reaching benefits of ginkgo are thought to be largely due to its effects as an antioxidant, or free radical scavenger. The plant contains compounds that absorb toxic chemicals, preventing cell damage (including that related to aging). The central nervous system and brain are especially susceptible to free radical damage, and it is believed that gingko's antioxidant action is a major contributor to its "anti-aging" benefits.
By preventing free radical damage, ginkgo appears to stabilize cell membranes and render blood vessel walls and red blood cells more flexible, improving the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, limbs, and other areas supplied by tiny capillaries, such as the eyes and ears. By thus enhancing microcirculation, ginkgo can improve a variety of brain functions, including memory, concentration, and problem-solving.
Ginkgo also helps support healthy circulation by inhibiting the effects of a blood clotting substance called platelet activating factor (PAF). The body needs PAF for a number of functions, but excess PAF has been linked to allergies, asthma, inflammatory conditions, and cardiovascular diseases such as stroke.
In clinical studies, standardized ginkgo extract has proven effective in improving brain function and quality of life in people with Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia. The extract has been shown to improve circulation to the limbs, reducing symptoms such as coldness, numbness, and cramping. Benefits have also been reported in ear and eye conditions that include tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dimming vision due to oxygen deprivation.
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