What Are the Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba is believed to improve memory and sharpen thinking, states WebMD. It may be used to treat Alzheimer's disease, and it also acts as an antioxidant. Evidence suggests that ginkgo biloba relieves pain in the leg caused by clogged arteries, and it may help with other circulatory problems.

Ginkgo biloba may help to relieve symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome, including mood shifts and breast tenderness. Some people take ginkgo biloba for ADHD, depression and other psychological conditions. It may be used to treat vascular tinnitus and multiple sclerosis. People who suffer from high altitude sickness may take ginkgo biloba for relief, according to WebMD.

Depression and Lyme disease are other ailments that can be treated using ginkgo biloba, as well as asthma, bronchitis, sexual dysfunction and macular degeneration, explains WebMD. Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest tree species in the world. Uses of this herb for medical purposes date back to ancient times. A ginkgo tree can live as long as a thousand years. Ginkgo biloba seeds are said to contain certain substances that kill harmful bacteria and fungi that cause infections in the body, which could be one of the reasons why it is so beneficial for treating many medical conditions.

Possible side effects of taking ginkgo biloba include upset stomach, dizziness, nausea, headache and gas. Although rare, allergic reactions can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction to ginkgo biloba include rash, hives, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. There may also be swelling in the mouth, tongue, lips or face, states Drugs.com.

Pregnant and nursing women should avoid ginkgo biloba unless otherwise specified by a health care professional, warns Drugs.com. Children should not take ginkgo biloba.

Research on ginkgo biloba is still ongoing, as of 2015. Studies suggest that there are other health benefits, but they are not yet confirmed, notes WebMD. Because the long-term effects are undetermined, caution should be exercised when taking ginkgo biloba.