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Ginkgo biloba helps against poor circulation

- but only few preparations work

Ginkgo biloba helps against poor circulationThe plant extract Ginkgo biloba contains some biologically active compounds that improve circulation through blood-thinning and vessel-dilating actions. However, a study of 29 different Ginkgo biloba preparations revealed that only 10% of the investigated products actually contained Ginkgo extract. You can avoid this problem by only using Ginkgo biloba in the form of natural remedies, because they are registered as pharmaceutical drugs.

A number of different health problems, including such things as tinnitus, poor memory, walking-induced leg pain, and cold fingers and toes, are caused by poor circulation. It therefore hardly comes as a surprise that Ginkgo biloba, a plant extract made from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree, is a popular and frequently used remedy. The leaves contains some biologically active compounds that improve circulation. It goes without saying that the substances must be present in the extract in order to see an effect, but a Canadian study showed, surprisingly, that this is not always the case. A number of manufacturers actually cheat with their manufacturing methods.

90% of the products were useless

The researchers compared 29 different Ginkgo extracts and Ginkgo preparations that were all commercially available. They conducted a thorough analysis of the different preparations, using special laboratory techniques that could identify the exact content of active ingredients. Afterwards, the results were compared with the label declaration.
Only 10% of the preparations contained the compounds that are normally found in Ginkgo biloba leaves. The remaining 90% of the preparations contained foreign substances not even remotely associated with the natural plant.

Impossible to figure out

The study that was published in 2016 in the scientific journal Phytomedicine, revealed a problem, which consumers have no way of identifying. Unless a Ginkgo preparation contains substances that make you sick or cause an adverse reaction, you have no way of knowing if you are taking an ineffective product. The expected outcome (placebo effect) alone makes you believe that your product has an effect, even if this is not the case.

Huge difference in quality

It is not the first time a scientific study reveals quality differences in Ginkgo biloba preparations. In 2003, a British study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The study showed that the effect differed greatly from one Ginkgo product to another. Comparing 18 commercially available preparations, the researchers measured the antioxidant strength of all 18 brands. They observed that the most effective preparation had a 50 times greater antioxidant strength than the product with the poorest performance. What surprised the researchers the most, however, was that there did not seem to be an immediate link between the declared amount of Ginkgo biloba extract and the effect of each product. Several products in the test declared a much greater Ginkgo biloba content that the test winner, yet these products did not come close to having the same effect. The findings in this study actually underpin the findings from the Canadian study from 2016 by showing that the quality of a product does not necessarily correlate with the label declaration.

The advantage of choosing the drug version

The only way to avoid buying bogus products is by choosing Ginkgo biloba in the form of a natural remedy, because these preparations are registered in the same class as pharmaceutical drugs. Contrary to normal food supplements, natural remedies are subject to strict quality and safety control routines, which require that the manufacturer can actually document that the raw material used to manufacture the preparation contains exactly the same ingredients as the finished product.

Improves poor circulation

  • For decades, Ginkgo biloba has been used in Europe to treat symptoms of poor circulation. In many cases, the physician can rule out underlying disease. The symptoms are merely a natural effect of the ageing process.
  • Symptoms may include dizziness, tinnitus, poor memory, walking-induced pain, and cold hands and feet.
  • Ginkgo biloba improves circulation in the brain and in the tiny capillaries, which may help relieve the different symptoms.

Other things you can do for better circulation

You can do a number of other things to improve your blood circulation:

  • Exercise regularly. It strengthens your heart and helps it pump blood to all the different tissues
  • Avoid smoking, as it damages your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Try to stick with a healthy and balanced diet that provides healthy fats and all the nutrients that benefit your circulatory system
  • Avoid stress, which is known to have a negative impact on your circulation


An effective identification and quantification method for Ginkgo biloba flavonol glycosides with targeted evaluation of adulterated products.

Phytomedicine. 2016 Apr 15;23(4):377-87.

Comparison of antioxidant activity in commercial Ginkgo biloba preparations.
Mantle D1, Wilkins RM, Gok MA.

J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Oct;9(5):625-9.

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