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Ginkgo cuts inflammation and pain

As the chills of a Southern Hemisphere winter make themselves felt there will be those turning to the herb Ginkgo biloba. This is not because it makes a warming herb tea or even because its bi-lobed leaves can be knitted into a snazzy green balaclava; but rather because Ginkgo improves circulation to the extremities of the body and can help warm cold hands and feet. This is just the beginning of Ginkgo’s many healing properties however, and now a new study has supported just how powerful Ginkgo is as an anti-inflammatory.

Ginkgo is a tree that can reach 60 metres in height with a six metre diameter to its trunk. This size is impressive but not all that surprising when you consider that each Ginkgo tree will live for 1000 to 4000 years. In addition to each single Ginkgo tree living for a long time, it is also a very old species. Ginkgo is, in fact, the oldest living tree species and can be traced back more than 200 million years to fossils of the Permian period. To survive individually and as a species for such an enormous amount of time, Ginkgo must have powerful properties for living. It has been shown to be resistant to parasites, insects and pollution. For those of a poetic turn of mind, this ancient tree also has many powers as a medicine that make it an anti-ageing tonic for humans.

Ginkgo’s capacity to boost circulation to the extremities of the body also extends to the head. Boosting circulation and also improving communication between neurons makes Ginkgo useful in preventing and reducing age-related loss of mental faculties. Ginkgo is also an antioxidant, an anti-allergic agent, and it has been shown to help prevent the major cause of blindness in older people Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Ginkgo has also been shown to reduce erectile dysfunction in men and now a new study shows just how powerful it is as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

In the new study Ginkgo was tested against the pharmaceutical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug “diclofenac” which is widely available over the counter in pharmacies. Ginkgo and diclofenac were tested to see how they would treat inflammation and pain in the paws of rats. Both of the treatments were given by injection in the paw or by lumbar puncture.

The results showed that Ginkgo matched diclofenac for inflammation and pain reduction. The researchers commented that Ginkgo can play a useful role in treating inflammatory pain.

Since it does have blood thinning properties Ginkgo should be used with caution by people on blood thinning medications like warfarin and aspirin. You should always consult your health practitioner when adding a herb to your health regime but Ginkgo is a largely gentle medicine and with so many healthy effects it will help a great many people.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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