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Ginkgo biloba has been used for more than 4,000 years for a variety of medical uses, and several of them are particularly useful for men’s health. Ginkgo biloba health benefits include promoting blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body supplied by capillaries. This can help improve your heart health as well as your sexual health, as erections require good blood flow.
Also, as you age, you may find that it is harder to concentrate or even find the right words to communicate. You may struggle at work or start to experience memory problems, and that can be both frustrating and somewhat concerning. It can be difficult determining whether your symptoms are due to memory loss or dementia. Clearly, you want to stop losing your keys and repeating questions. Ginkgo biloba might just be able to help you with that as well.
Some studies on ginkgo biloba have found that it might help improve cognitive speed and boost memory, but study results are mixed. While the herb does not appear to prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it does seem to help prevent the symptoms of dementia from progressing. It could be particularly beneficial for people with early stage Alzheimer’s.
How Does It Work?
This Chinese herb acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes several kinds of free radicals that damage brain cells, which is why it can help with memory and cognitive function. Ginkgo biloba also contains flavonoids and terpenoids. The flavonoids protect the heart, blood vessels and nerves from damage. The terpenoids (ginkgoloides) help improve blood flow.
Where To Find It
You want to be wary of food and drink products containing ginko to boost memory. You can find it in soft drinks, nutrition bars and smoothies, promising to enhance mental performance; but these products contain amounts too small to make any difference. Instead, look for it in supplement form. Ginkgo biloba is a top-selling supplement that is commonly found in formulas designed to promote men’s health, such as EveryDay Male; and it is considered one of the natural remedies for erectile dysfunction.
Sexual Health Benefits
There are several studies on using ginkgo biloba for improving sexual health and helping to relieve the sexual dysfunction side effects of taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medication. In a double-blind study on ginkgo biloba, the researchers reported that men who took 240 mg per day of standardized ginkgo biloba extract for nine months experienced an improvement in their erectile function. (Sohn 1991)
Ginkgo biloba is often used to reverse the sexual performance problems that many people get when they take SSRI antidepressants. In one study published in Human Psychopharmacology, investigators reported that taking 240 mg of ginkgo daily produced “some spectacular individual responses” among individuals who were experiencing sexual dysfunction that was associated with the use of antidepressants. Some of these good results also occurred in participants who took a placebo. (Wheatley 2004)
An open preliminary trial of ginkgo involved 30 men who were experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED) related to their use of antidepressant medications. The study also included 33 women who were experiencing medication-related sexual dysfunction. All the participants took either 60 mg of ginkgo four times a day or 120 mg two times a day. Ginkgo biloba had a positive impact on sexual function in 76 percent of the men and 91 percent of the women. (Cohen 1998)
Whether you are having symptoms of ED due to blood flow, medication side effects or changing hormone levels, there are several natural solutions like ginkgo biloba. You should also look at your lifestyle and diet, as taking supplements are just one of the ways to prevent ED.
How Much Ginkgo Biloba Do You Need?
There are not any guidelines for taking ginkgo biloba. Men who want to take it to improve erectile function should look at doses that can help encourage blood flow, 120 mg to 140 mg each day, standardized to contain 24 percent to 32 percent glycosides and 6 percent to 12 percent terpenoids. You can take 120 mg to 600 mg for cognitive function, but doctors recommend starting with the lower dose.
The side effects of ginkgo biloba are rare, but they can include headache, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset and some skin reactions. Ginkgo biloba can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, aspirin, some painkillers, antidepressants and other drugs; so talk to your doctor about any possible drug interactions you should be aware of.
- Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther 1998;24:139–43.
- Sohn M, Sikora R. Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Sec Educ Ther 1991;17:53–61.
- Wheatley D. Triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba in sexual dysfunction due to antidepressant drugs. Hum Psychopharmacol 2004 Dec; 19(8): 545-48.