Ginkgo biloba benefits for memory, hair and skin

GINKGO biloba is one of those pretty easy to find supplements, and not only is it readily available, it's great for a multitude of purposes, including for improving your hair and skin.

The extract, which is what is used by most people, is made from the dried green leaves of the ginkgo tree. Many people say it's used to treat health problems — circulatory problems in particular — but lifestyle and beauty experts have noted its other uses.

“Ginkgo is widely used in some areas to treat problems like dementia and Alzheimer's, helping with memory,” aesthetician Nicola Meredith explained. “It's also said to ease depression and anxiety.”

But, she said, ginkgo biloba is also an effective hair loss treatment, and it's been proven by science.

A 1993 Japanese study, Effect of leaves of ginkgo biloba on hair regrowth… by Kobayashi et al, published in the National Library of Medicine, showed that with the addition of 70 per cent ethanolic extract from leaves of ginkgo biloba (GBE) on the hair in mice whose hair was shaved, gingko had a promoting effect on hair regrowth.

“These results suggested that GBE promotes the hair regrowth and could be used as a hair tonic,” the authors said.

“It won't hurt to try, and you can get the supplements at your health food store,” Meredith said. “It's natural, so you won't have to worry about adverse effects.”

The Mayo Clinic says ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest living tree species. Most ginkgo products are made with extract prepared from its fan-shaped leaves.

The most helpful components of ginkgo are believed to be flavonoids, which have powerful antioxidant qualities, and terpenoids, which help improve circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets.

Ginkgo is commonly available as an oral tablet, extract, capsule or tea.

Regarding its use for the skin, Meredith pointed to another 2014 study, Synergistic effects of green tea and ginkgo biloba extracts on the improvement of skin barrier function and elasticity by Campos et al, which found that formulations containing ginkgo significantly enhanced viable epidermis thickness and the number of cell layers, suggesting a moisturising effect in the skin's deeper layers and increased cell renewal.

“The antioxidants in gingko will neutralise free radicals, which is the main cause of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as erase sun damage,” Meredith said.

She said ginkgo is also extremely rich in Vitamin E which will prevent skin problems like stretch marks, acne, and scars, as well as help to treat conditions like eczema.

So whether you take it in capsule form, as tablets, use liquid extracts, or the dried leaf for teas, there's no doubt that you're bound to see improvements once you add gingko as a supplement.

ALAISHA THOMAS

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