Ginkgo biloba extract is derived from the leaves of China's ancient Ginkgo biloba tree, one of the world's oldest tree species dating back 200 million years. Chinese apothecaries have traditionally used this herb to treat bronchial, pulmonary and asthmatic conditions. Ginkgo biloba has received a lot of press this last decade for its apparent ability to improve age-related memory loss, but the jury is still out on whether or not it can be considered the baby boomers' answer to prolonged mental sharpness.
There is some evidence to suggest that Ginkgo biloba, often shortened to just "Ginkgo", can increase blood circulation to the brain and extremities, maintain blood vessel elasticity and reduce the risk of blood clot formation. It may also increase oxygen and glucose levels in nerve cells. More studies need to be conducted to confirm these claims, however.
Based on anecdotal evidence, Ginkgo biloba may hinder the progression of Alzheimer's, decrease depression and anxiety, and improve concentration in the elderly. It may also relieve leg cramps and improve circulation in the arms and legs of people suffering from Raynaud's disease. Some claim Ginkgo can aid headaches, tinnitus, impotence, stroke recovery, multiple sclerosis and vision loss due to diabetes.
Ginkgo biloba is available in many forms, and be forewarned, it can be quite expensive.