An ancient Chinese herb, Ginkgo biloba or Ginko Bilbao as it is commonly referred to, was first brought to Europe in the 1700's.
These days Ginkgo biloba is commonly prescribed in France and Germany, but less well known in the UK. That seems likely to change in the near future with it's perceived use to improve memory.
Ginkgo Biloba is derived from the Ginko Biloba tree (also called maidenhair), a tree native to China. The Chinese have been enjoying the health benefits of this herb for hundreds of years.
There are numerous controlled clinical studies which show that this herb can help to improve memory. It seems to work by increasing blood flow to the brain, especially the cerebellum, thus enhancing neurotransmitters by increasing oxygen levels.
This enhanced blood flow to the brain can improve both short and long-term memory, and increase both reaction time and improve mental acuity. Other clinical uses of this herb include treating early stroke and senility, vertigo, tinnitus, embolism and some eye disorders, such as diabetic vascular disease and macular degeneration. It has various other benefits. It is a powerful anti-oxidant which can strengthen the capillary walls and protect the brain cells from damage. It has also shown some effectiveness as a preventive measure and potential treatment for Alzheimer's and dementia.
Finally, it has also been shown that this Chinese "wonder drug" can help reduce the frequency and intensity of depression. Millions of people world wide are now benefiting from this herb, and it seems its use will only increase as we learn more about it.