Ginkgo may help to improve several conditions, such as depression, dementia, and glaucoma. Although elderly people frequently use ginkgo to help with memory problems, this supplement is also used to enhance general mental functioning in younger people as well. It is important to know that some of these ginkgo benefits are more valid than others and that this supplement should not be used carelessly, as it may cause serious side effects.
Ginkgo (ginkgo biloba) is an herbal supplement derived from the leaves of the ginkgo tree. People claim that ginkgo is beneficial for a wide variety of conditions, such as:
- Various types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease
- Memory loss in the elderly
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Intermittent claudication (a blood vessel disorder that causes pain in the legs when walking)
- Lyme disease
- Sexual problems
- Eye problems, including age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Blood clots
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- High blood pressure.
Although elderly people frequently use ginkgo to help with memory problems, this supplement is also used to enhance general mental functioning in younger people as well.
Some of these benefits of ginkgo are more valid than others (see Does Ginkgo Biloba Work? for more information). As with many supplements, claims for the benefits of ginkgo are often exaggerated, and these claims must be evaluated critically. Most importantly, it is essential to remember that natural products should not be used carelessly, as many natural products can be quite toxic (for instance, many poisons are natural products). Ginkgo can cause serious side effects, especially if taken inappropriately (see Side Effects of Ginkgo for more information).