Ginkgo Biloba and Memory: What the Science Says

Dec 1, 2023

Ginkgo Biloba, often simply called 'ginkgo', is one of the oldest living tree species in the world. Native to China, this deciduous tree is easily recognized for its distinct, fan-shaped leaves and has been cultivated for centuries for various uses.


The key components of Ginkgo Biloba are primarily found in its leaves and seeds. Extracts of these are rich in bioactive components such as flavonoids and terpenoids, which are widely believed to possess potent antioxidant properties.


Ginkgo Biloba has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Today, it is commonly available as a dietary supplement. The principal uses of Ginkgo Biloba are broadly related to brain health and blood circulation. That is why it is utilized for cognitive enhancement, promoting memory and concentration, treating or preventing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and dealing with disorders related to poor circulation. 


Additionally, Ginkgo Bilobait is also used in managing tinnitus, asthma, depression, disorientation and headaches.

 golden ginkgo biloba lead on tree branchThe Relationship Between Ginkgo Biloba and Memory  

One of the primary mechanisms through which Ginkgo Biloba is believed to influence memory is by enhancing blood flow, particularly in the brain. Terpenoids found in Ginkgo, like bilobalides and ginkgolides, aid in dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets, thus promoting better blood circulation. This improved blood flow is thought to result in more oxygen and nutrients being available to brain cells, thereby enhancing memory and other cognitive functions.


Why Blood Supply Is So Important to Memory Enhancement

A sufficient blood supply to the brain is critical for memory enhancement. It ensures the delivery of necessary nutrients and oxygen to support optimal brain function and remove waste products. Maintaining good blood flow to the brain through healthy lifestyle habits and, if necessary, medical interventions, can contribute to improved memory performance.


Benefits of Increased Blood Supply to The Brain

1. Improved Cognitive Functioning: The brain significantly relies on nutrients and oxygen carried by the blood to function properly. Increased blood flow to the brain Ensures sufficient supply of these essentials to enhance cognitive abilities including problem-solving, decision-making, and memory.

2. Better Mood Regulation: The brain regulates mood through the secretion of various hormones and neurotransmitters. These processes are enhanced with better blood circulation, potentially leading to improved mood and mental health.


3. Faster Brain Repair: Increased blood supply can facilitate faster repair and recovery in the event of brain injuries or damage by supplying necessary nutrients and oxygen.


4. Detoxification: Blood flow through the brain helps to remove waste products and toxins. An efficient blood supply helps to detoxify the brain, maintain the health of brain cells, and ensure optimal function.


Other Ingredients of Gingko Biloba for Good Memory

Flavonoids are another main ingredients that are potent antioxidants that neutralize harmful free radicals, which are believed to contribute to the aging process and various diseases. By mitigating the damaging effects of these oxidative compounds, flavonoids may help protect neurons in the brain from damage and improve memory.


Some research indicates that Ginkgo Biloba may also influence memory by interacting with neurotransmitters — the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. Ginkgo extract may modulate receptors for neurotransmitters, possibly enhancing synaptic plasticity, a process vital for learning and memory.


Ginkgo is also suggested to provide neuroprotection. It may protect neurons from beta-amyloid, a protein that is linked with Alzheimer's, which in turn can help improve memory.


What Scientific Studies Says on Ginkgo Biloba and Memory

On the contrary, a more recent trial conducted by DeKosky et al. (2019) found that Ginkgo Biloba supplementation improved cognitive flexibility, memory, and attention in older adults. Yet, other studies have found little or no effect on healthy adults' memory.


A meta-analysis by Yang, et al. (2018) published in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience examined 21 randomized controlled trials involving individuals with Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia. They found significantly better cognitive performance in the Ginkgo Biloba group, suggesting potential benefits in memory and cognitive improvement.


A meta-analysis published in the "Journal of Alzheimer's Disease" (2015) suggests that Ginkgo extract could have a stabilizing and possibly beneficial effect on cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia sufferers, including memory improvement.


A study by Ihl, et al. (2011), published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, focused on the effects of Ginkgo Biloba on moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's dementia. The study found significant improvements in three neuropsychiatric features: apathy/indifference, sleep/night-time behavior, and irritability/lability, linked to memory and cognitive functions.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental (2005) evaluated the effects of Ginkgo Biloba in healthy middle-aged individuals. The study revealed that a single dose of Ginkgo Biloba extract resulted in a significant improvement in the speed of attention and quality of memory performance.



Some scientific studies say Ginkgo biloba is good for memory and cognitive. Although it is requested more studies for further evidence. Generally,  Ginkgo biloba supplements are supplied with memory-good ingredients. If you also take ginkgo biloba extract, choose one with transparency test reports. 

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