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Gingko Biloba Essay

3950 words - 16 pages

Gingko Biloba

Introduction

We, as consumers, are always trying to find new products to buy in which to improve ourselves. In modern-day American culture, improving oneself has become synonymous with feeling younger and healthier. Gingko biloba extract is one of the popular herbal supplements being marketed to mainstream consumers as a "smart" and "anti-aging" drug (http://www.stevemorow.com/food.htm) which will work to help to increase their overall brain functioning in the normal population, as well as, those who suffer from mental impairment due to aging. Gingko biloba extract has also been labeled an anti-aging drug due to its antioxidant properties, its supposed free radical scavenger properties, as well as its reported increases in people’s overall mental functioning. You see advertisements for it on television, as well as, the Internet making a large number of different kinds of claims of Gingko biloba’s benefits. The claimed benefits range from increasing overall brain functioning in normal people to people with mental impairment, to being a mood enhancer (http://www.televar.com/alpha/biloba.html), to helping with such slight conditions as cough and asthma, to helping increase circulation in patients suffering from painful vascular diseases to actually having "slimming" applications (http://www.mmpinc.com/WHATS.HTM). If all these claims are true, then Gingko biloba extract sounds like a "mulit-cure"drug for the entire population. This paper will attempt to reduce the confusion associated with the large number of claimed benefits of taking Gingko biloba by explaining what the research literature has to back up these claims. I had a hard time myself keeping track of all the reported claims. At this time, Gingko biloba extract is being marketed towards the entire population claiming that it will improve everyone’s overall mental functioning. This paper will also attempt by analyzing the research data to figure out who actually benefits from this drug - the normal population or just people suffering from some condition.

What is Gingko biloba and where does it come from?

The Gingko is one of the oldest living tree species dating back more than 300 million years. Individual trees can live up to 1,000 years. The Chinese have been using Gingko as an herbal treatment for over 5,000 years. Extracts taken from the leaves of the Gingko tree are used to treat a range of symptoms. However, the main mechanism how the Gingko biloba extract works is that it promotes vasodilation increasing blood flow to the brain and the extremities.

http://www.televar.com/alpha/biloba.html. Furthermore, it appears to be composed of a number of useful components such as the antioxidants Vitamin C and carotenoids and free radical scavengers. While the "jury is still out" on what antioxidants are capable of. It is "thought" that antioxidants combat free radicals, assist in skin repair, and the strengthening of blood vessels which is why they are...

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