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Gingko Biloba for Nerve Pain

By Sharon S. Joag
Gingko Biloba is an herb, which is widely used all over the world.  The herb, Gingko is extracted from the leaves of the Gingko Biloba tree.  Gingko has been used for thousands of years as a supplement for memory enhancement and concentration.  In recent years, it has been proven to increase blood circulation, helping to decrease the risk for clots, and cardiovascular disease.  There are new studies underway showing Gingko’s effectiveness in alleviating nerve pain in rats, however much research needs to be done to prove its true effect on humans.  If you are considering adding Gingko Biloba Extract to your diet, make sure you speak to your doctor first, especially if you are taking other medications. 
What is Gingko Biloba?
The leaves of the Gingko tree are fan shaped, and bi-lobed, giving it the name, “biloba”.  The leaves of the tree cannot be eaten without extracting the potentially harmful toxins in their leaves.  The Gingko tree is native to China and Japan, but the tree is now cultivated in France, Japan and in the United States.  This tree is said to be over 225 million years old, making it the oldest species of tree on earth.
What is Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain is when there is actual damage to the nerve fibers in your body.  This is known as neuropathic pain or neuropathy.  Neuropathic pain is often burning, tingling and severe shooting pain.  Some illnesses have characteristic neuropathic pain, such as Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, and Herpes Zoster.  People with these illnesses may feel intense pain with harmless stimuli, such as heat, cold, or even a light touch. 
Gingko Biloba and the Nervous System
The Gingko herb is said to have many beneficial effects on the central nervous system of the body as well as on the circulatory system.  The Gingko herb enhances the central nervous system in your body by delivering oxygen and glucose to nerve cells, thereby allowing the nerves in your body to function at their optimal level. 
Gingko Biloba and Nerve Pain
The Journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia put forth a research article in June 2009, on Gingko Biloba and its effects on nerve pain.  The study was done on rats and the research was led by Dr. Yee Suk Kim from Catholic University of Seoul, South Korea.  Dr. Yee Suk Kim and his colleagues showed that gingko was an effective method of pain reduction.  The rats with neuropathic pain were exposed to harmless stimuli, such as cold and pressure.  The higher the dose of gingko given to the rats, the higher the pain-relieving effect was. 
This study did not show HOW Gingko works to reduce pain.  Some researchers theorize that the antioxidant activity of Gingko, in addition to its anti-inflammatory effects may contribute to its mechanism of action. 
Gingko is a promising natural option for the alleviation of neuropathic pain, however, much research needs to be done to find its full effect on humans.  It may be beneficial to you, but be sure to check with your doctor first, especially if you are on any other medications.  

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