The human brain is said to be a powerful computer. It can work at processing so much information at once and is able to store memory, making humans the only creature to have good cognitive function. This enables humans to be a social creature by living in a society. As we all know, brain function does deteriorate as a person ages. Alzheimer, one of the diseases that cause significant memory problems, is common among the elderly. Hence, some people choose to take supplements such as ginkgo tablets in an attempt to help prevent such problems from occurring too early. The question now is, does ginkgo really improve memory? Without a doubt, yes it does.
Before going further on how it does that, you may want to know more about the ginkgo itself first. Ginkgo biloba is described as the oldest tree to ever exist on the earth. This tree with its fan-shaped leaves originated from China. The medicinal properties it possessed is used in ancient traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Ayurvedic medicine for many health issues such as skin infections and cough. Since it possesses many health benefits, ginkgo biloba is still being studied for both traditional and modern medicine.
Ginkgo supplements can be made either from the leaves or seeds. These parts are rich with carbohydrates, protein, fat and phytochemicals. Several series of processes are needed to turn these ginkgo biloba plants into supplements starting from the process of extracting the fresh or freeze-dried ginkgo leaves or seeds and eventually packing the concentrated ginkgo into a capsule. The rich nutrients share the same traits of what a good food should be. Thus, some people do actually use part of the ginkgo biloba in cuisine. Beside the good nutrition values, it contains antioxidants such as flavonoids and terpenoids. Such antioxidants not only help to improve skin health but also improve blood circulation.
Now, how does ginkgo improve memory? As mentioned before, ginkgo do help with blood circulation by expanding the blood vessels, creating more blood flow containing blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to reach many organs in the body including the brain. Memory skill is part of the brain cognitive process of the many cognitive functions. The brain cognitive function lies in a specific area inside the brain, specifically the hippocampus. Simply said, a good blood flow to the brain makes the brain function well. In other words, constant and healthy blood flow supplying oxygen and nutrients to the hippocampus help to preserve the memory function. Aside from the blood flow function, the antioxidant properties of the ginkgo help to protect the brain from damage from free radicals. Free radicals can come from the environment and within the body itself such as from diseases. Thus, protecting the brain from damages in general can help minimise damages to areas accommodating memory skills.
Studies show that regular consumption of ginkgo after 6 months helps to improve cognition performance. Consumption of ginkgo in the long term helps to slow down ageing of the brain. The ageing process has been known to be the reason behind Alzheimer’s dementia that affects the memory and other cognitive functions.
In essence, ginkgo does help improve memory. Beside benefitting the brain function, it also helps with cardiovascular, eye and mental health. This shows that ginkgo is not meant only for the elderly but also for those seeking to improve their health. It is important to take ginkgo at a safe dosage of 240 mg per day. Excessive intake may lead to side effects such as headaches, heart palpitations, seizures and allergic skin reactions. Patients taking blood thinning medications are advised to not take ginkgo as ginkgo may increase risk of spontaneous organ bleeding.