There is evidence that chocolates can be vitamins for memory. But which cacao treats boost your brain power, and which chocolates mainly boost your waist line? (more…)
The Ginkgo Biloba tree is almost untouchable, thanks to its impressive resume. Have a look at a summary of the achievements of the tree:
Its combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes the Ginkgo Biloba tree long-lived. It is one of the oldest living tree species on this planet, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old. The tree can tower to a height of 120 feet, and can reach a spread of 35 feet.
Not bad, for a tree. But Ginkgo Biloba’s fame reaches much further heights.
When the Japanese city Hiroshima was attacked with an atomic bomb during the second World-war, nearly everything that lived in or around the city was killed or demolished.
Nearly… because guess who was still there. Indeed, Ginkgo the Invincible. One Gingko biloba tree, situated 1130 metres away from the hypocenter of the bomb, was unharmed by the attack, while the temple right next to it was annihilated. When they rebuilt a bigger temple at the same spot, the holy place was built around the tree. Making El ginkgo bigger than God.
Since the World-war the Ginkgo biloba tree is known as the ‘Bearer of Hope’ in Japan and in Buddhism the tree has a special place.
Also in the Western society Ginkgo’s popularity is great. Ginkgo biloba tree leaves are one of the most extensively studied botanicals in use today and in Europe and the United States Ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal medications. Not only are the leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree high in antioxidants, Ginkgo can also treat circulatory disorders. Moreover, Ginkgo has been linked to fewer feelings of depression, and improved social behaviour, activities of daily living, thinking, learning, and memory.
The leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree are vitamins for memory
In this post on vitamins for memory, evidence for Ginkgo as a memory enhancer is critically analyzed and discussed.
The components from the Ginkgo Biloba tree that are believed to be responsible for the herb’s medicinal effects are flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids, which are also found in chocolate, are antioxidants and several studies have found that flavonoids protect nerves and blood vessels from damage (see my post on antioxidants). Terpenoids improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels.
What does this mean for cognitive functions? In one popular article, the Medical Center of the University of Maryland states that scientific studies throughout the years have found evidence to support that Ginkgo enhances memory and that it ‘may be especially effective in treating dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)’.
It is not true that vitamins for memory like the Ginkgo Biloba tree treat Alzheimer’s
This is quite a statement, and it is not entirely true. First, there is evidence that Gingko can serve as a memory enhancer – the list of references under the Medical Center’s article is impressive – but it should be noted that some studies do not find such an effect of Ginkgo on memory.
Second, the claim that the juice of the tree’s leaves is effective in treating dementia seems overstated. Recently the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study found Ginkgo Biloba to be ineffective in reducing the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people. With more than 3000 people followed for 8 years, GEM is the largest study on the Ginkgo as a memory enhancer.
The Ginkgo tree is quite an impressive tree, with an amazing resume. It is however easy to get carried away and attribute more characteristics to the Ginkgo Biloba tree. Although some studies suggest otherwise, Ginkgo Biloba does not seem to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A list of studies suggest that the leaves of the Gingko Biloba tree can serve as vitamins for memory; the ‘Bearer of Hope’ enhances memory and cognition in those reports.