Ginkgo Biloba trees shaded the earth with their broad, fan-shaped leaves millions of years before the first Homo sapiens appeared on the scene. These living fossils have long been used as medicine, decorative foliage and Bonsai trees. Ginkgo trees contain medicinal substances that are collectively called phytochemicals. Ginkgo biloba dietary supplements often contain an extract made from the Ginkgo leaf. Consult a physician before taking Ginkgo Biloba leaf extract — especially if you are taking prescription medications.
Ginkgo biloba seeds are used in herbal remedies, but leaf extract contains more of the most potent, medicinally active chemicals. Flavonoids and terpenoids are two families of phytochemicals that are responsible for Ginkgo’s health benefits. The extract is not used raw but is mixed with enough dried Ginkgo leaves to produce a standardized product with 24 percent flavanol glycosides and 6 percent terpene lactones. The standard Ginkgo biloba extract found most dietary supplements is called EGb761.