The seeds of the Gingko biloba tree are commonly used in Asian cooking, but the leaves are perhaps the most well-known part of the tree. Having been used as an antibacterial agent in traditional Chinese medicine, Gingko Biloba is now one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine in the West.
Interestingly, modern Western studies actually show very little evidence of an effect on physical health. However, the effect of Gingko biloba on mental health has been significantly better documented.
How Does it Work?
There are a number of ways that Gingko Biloba may benefit mental health. However, there are two ways that are understood to have the greatest effect. The first is due to one of the active ingredients found in the leaves: bilobalide. Bilobalide has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and depression and anxiety are often said to be inflammatory disorders. Secondly, the leaves contain flavonoids, which help to protect the brain and slow down the natural degradation of the organ that occurs as we get older.
Yes or No?
The main issue with mental health is, of course, that much of the evidence of successful treatment is based on self-reporting methods. However, in terms of Gingko biloba, some studies have identified physical evidence to back up claims, including improved motor function and hand/eye coordination.
Future Treatment Options
Although the effects do appear to be greater in those with Alzheimer’s disease than in those with dementia, overall Gingko biloba does seem to have a positive effect on cognitive function as a whole. This is great news and could open doors to more treatment options for those with mental health conditions in the future. Gingko biloba is a natural supplement remedy and has so far shown to have very minimal side effects, so the extract may prove to be a safer and more tolerable form of treatment. Its available to buy in most online health food stores.