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Ginkgo biloba May Speed Cognition Recovery After Stroke

According to a preliminary study slated to be presented at the 2024 American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in Phoenix, AZ this week (February 7-9), Ginkgo biloba compounds appear to facilitate the recovery of cognitive function following ischemic stroke if administered intravenously within two weeks of the event.

The gingko tree is noted for being one of the oldest specimens of a living fossil species on the planet and also, ironically, a favorite food of the animal credited with having a long memory: the elephant. The leaves and seeds of this Asian native yield phytochemicals that have been fairly well-studied and attributed with neuroprotective effects via multiple mechanisms, including deterring oxidation and inflammation, increasing cerebral blood flow by dilating brain blood vessels, and countering apoptosis (programmed cell death). Among these constituents are proanthocyanidins, isoflavonoids and flavonol glycosides, most natably quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin.

Gingko compounded therapies are widely used in China for stroke patients, but the use of Ginkgo biloba is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for any purpose. This herb is, however, available in the U.S. as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. In addition, although the results of this preliminary analysis is promising, it is part of a larger trial and its results have yet to be confirmed by other independent trials. Until more research is available, stroke patients should not supplement with gingko biloba without first consulting a qualified health care practitioner experienced in this administration of this herb.

by Karyn Maier


American Heart Association. "Active components of ginkgo biloba may improve early cognitive recovery after stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2024.


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