Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China that has been a part of traditional medicine for centuries. Modern research supports some of these uses. It’s a useful herb for improving blood flow and is used in herbal preparations to treat conditions like decreased blood flow to the brain, amongst others.
Ginkgo has also long been used as part of traditional fertility medications in Chinese medicine and today is a common inclusion in erectile dysfunction dietary supplements and alternative treatments for this condition and for fertility. Is it effective? A study that was looking at its use for memory enhancement found that it had an expected side effect on the male participants in the study! Notably it improved penile blood flow! Another study looked at its effectiveness in restoring sexual function in men who were on antidepressant medications and found that 75% of them reported an improvement in this regard. However, other studies didn’t return anywhere near as effective results, leading researchers to theorize that it may work better with men who are taking medications that cause ED issues. There’s also a belief that Ginkgo biloba may be a better option for managing ED than for curing or treating it.
Ginkgo’s common name is the maidenhair tree and it’s the leaves that are used in herbal preparations. The fruit contains seeds that are toxic. The leaves produce 2 types of compounds that are of interest to modern science. Terpenoids are a particularly powerful plant compound that are amongst a plants’ arsenal of repair, defence, and growth factors. They’re also proven to have cancer preventative properties (some cancer drugs are based on terpenoids). Additionally terpenoids can provide the following benefits:
- Analgesic (pain relieving)
That’s an impressive line up of properties!
The other compounds of interest in Ginkgo leaves with implications for treatment of conditions like ED are its flavonoids. Flavonoids, like carotenoids, are pigment chemicals responsible for giving plants their vivid colors. They have powerful antioxidant benefits and are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.
But aside from improved blood flow, Ginkgo is used to help with concentration and memory. Regular users claim that they feel less mental fatigue after taking it. It’s also used to help with dementia and Alzheimer’s due to its strong antioxidant properties. Additionally there’s evidence to support its use in tinnitus, retinal problems, circulation, altitude sickness, depression, vertigo, and high blood pressure.