Clear Your Brain Fog With Ginkgo Biloba
You have a productive day planned. A project to work on, emails to respond to and shopping to get done. You sit down at your computer to write, fingers placed on the keyboard. But for some reason, you can’t think of a single sentence. After a few minutes of staring into space, you decide to go to the store. But only after returning home do you remember those important items you left off your list. What’s going on? It could be a number of factors, but the best way to describe it would be a bad case of “brain fog.” Brain fog can inexplicably creep up at the most inconvenient times. But thankfully, there are also some useful herbs available to help fix it. Keep reading to learn why ginkgo biloba, in particular, is one of the best natural brain fog remedies.
What is Brain Fog and Why do so Many People Have it?
Many of us suffer from it, but due to its very nature, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is. Brain fog is what happens when we feel like something is just ‘off’ with our memory or thought process. It can negatively effect our concentration and even mood. It can last a whole day, or sometimes even longer. We can all agree that brain fog is no fun, but why does it seem to be so common nowadays?
A few of the major causes of brain fog are obvious. A night of heavy or even moderate drinking is likely to result in brain fog the next day. And of course, a lack of sleep is another major culprit. Other commonly overlooked causes are dehydration and a poor diet. Sometimes, getting yourself hydrated may do the trick, but a regular diet full of sugars and processed foods will take longer to fix. But what about experiencing brain fog when you’re otherwise sleeping normally and eating healthy foods?
There’s no way to say for certain what the real cause of brain fog is, as it effects everyone differently. But it’s probably safe to assume that so many people suffer from it nowadays due to our fast-paced and competitive lifestyles. While modern technology helps us get things done more quickly than ever before, we simply fill up our day with more and more tasks. It’s likely that our brains were never meant to keep track of so many things and process so much information at once. This overstimulation and mental burnout is likely the major cause of brain fog.
The first natural reaction when experiencing brain fog is to head right for the coffee machine. Coffee will definitely help in the short term, but it’s far from being a permanent brain fog cure. Fortunately, a number of nootropic herbs are widely available. Ginkgo biloba, in particular, can not only boost memory and concentration in the short term, but it can even help the brain grow new neurons and cells over time.
You may have heard of this popular brain fog remedy before, but let’s take a look at what ginkgo actually is before learning about why it’s one of the best herbs for the mind.
What is Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo is an ancient species of tree which has been highly revered by the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese for centuries. Incredibly, a ginkgo tree can live for up to 1,000 years!
Confusingly, the plant is also often written as ‘gingko.’ This alternate spelling is not technically wrong, as they’re both based off of the original Japanese word: gin kyo, Another name for the tree is the ‘maidenhair tree.’
Though native to China, ginkgo biloba supplements are now one of the most common health supplements globally. The beneficial compounds from the tree’s seeds and leaves are extracted to produce capsules, tablets and teas. Ginkgo biloba extract is used to treat a wide variety of ailments – many of them brain related.
Ginkgo Biloba: One of the Best Brain Fog Remedies
Ginkgo biloba has long been used to improve brain function. The herb can both improve focus and concentration as well as slow memory loss. It’s even given to those suffering from dementia. But how, exactly, does ginkgo biloba work its magic?
The main reason why ginkgo biloba is one of the best herbs for brain fog is because it helps increase blood flow to the brain, stimulating neurons in the process.
One of the most common formulas of ginkgo biloba extract is known as ‘EGb761.’ To use some scientific terms, this particular formula is made up of 24% flavanoid glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. These two groups of compounds are believed to be largely responsible for increasing blood flow to the brain.
Furthermore, lab studies conducted on animals have shown ginkgo biloba to improve memory by producing new cells in the part of the brain known as the hippocampus. The hippocampus could be considered the brain’s “memory center,” responsible for both short-term and long-term memory.
Ginkgo is even considered to be an adaptogen, which helps the body adapt to stress. If you’re someone who experiences lots of stress, you’re likely well aware that too much stress can be a precursor to bad bouts of brain fog.
On top of all that, ginkgo biloba is full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit not just the brain but many other aspects of our bodies and wellbeing. With all that ginkgo has going for it, it’s no wonder why it’s widely considered to be such a powerful brain fog cure.
The Best Ways to Consume Ginkgo Biloba for Brain Fog
There are a number of ways to consume ginkgo biloba. As mentioned, ginkgo extract is widely available at many stores in a variety of forms, making it one of the top-selling brain fog supplements. Or, you could buy your own leaves and produce home-made infusions or teas.
Let’s take a look at the various ways you can use ginkgo biloba as a brain fog cure.
Ginkgo biloba supplements are popular in either capsule or tablet form. One of the brands I’ve tried a number of times are the supplements made by Doctor’s Best. I’ve also tried some other brands of ginkgo supplements, only to later learn that other brands sometimes sneak in extra ingredients into their products, such as soy or other chemicals.
The Doctor’s Best brand tells you exactly how much flavone glycosides and terpene lactones you’re getting, while a number of reviews vouch for the purity of the herbs. There are, of course, plenty of other brands out there online or in your local store, so don’t be afraid to do your own research.
In general, you want to be taking from 120 – 360mg of ginkgo biloba supplements a day to reap its benefits as a brain fog cure.
Ginkgo Biloba Tea
Ginkgo biloba tea is an effective brain fog remedy in liquid form. Unlike with capsules, the ginkgo biloba tea sold in stores often comes mixed together with a few other herbs. One of these is ginseng, a well-known adaptogenic herb that can help boost the stress-reducing properties of ginkgo.
Another herb commonly found in ginkgo biloba tea products is gotu kola. Gotu kola, native to South Asia, is yet another brain-boosting herb that’s common in both Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Ginkgo biloba may even come packaged together with green tea, which we already know is good for memory and concentration.
Ginkgo biloba tea can come in a variety of forms. From tea bags to powdered and liquid extracts, tea lovers have plenty of options. You can also try purchasing some raw leaves yourself and brewing your own loose-leaf ginkgo biloba tea.
Ginkgo & Cayenne Pepper for an Instant Brain Boost
The other week we discussed cayenne pepper and how it works so well with other herbs, as it removes blockages which might prevent beneficial compounds from traveling throughout the body. We also went over how Dr. Schulze, one of the most prominent advocates of cayenne pepper, specifically recommends taking cayenne pepper with ginkgo biloba for an instant brain boost. And he’s not alone.
Lesley Bremness, author of The Essential Herbs Handbook, also has her own cayenne/ginkgo recipe to share. But first, you’re going to need to prepare a special blend in advance.
Bremness advises taking 4.5 teaspoons of both dried ginkgo powder and gotu kola powder, in addition to 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder. Mix all the powders together to create your blend, keeping what you’re not using in an airtight container.
Then, take 1 teaspoon of powder from the blend, steeping it in hot, just-boiled water for about 10 minutes. You can drink a cup of this fast-acting brain fog cure up to three times a day. But if you’re new to cayenne pepper, be sure to check this article for potential side effects.
Ginkgo Biloba Tincture
Another way to experience a relatively fast-acting brain boost is to take ginkgo biloba in tincture form. Tinctures are typically alcohol-based, as alcohol can extract certain compounds from herbs that hot water alone cannot (though the reverse is also true).
Ginkgo biloba tinctures are highly concentrated and can act as a quicker-acting brain fog remedy than tablets or capsules. However, many complain of ginkgo tinctures tasting very bitter.
I personally don’t have any experience with ginkgo biloba tinctures yet, but there are a few kinds I’m hoping to try out soon. This product by Herb Pharm is advertised as a brain and memory booster, and contains both ginkgo and gotu kola, among other herbs.
Meanwhile, this product is promoted more as a circulation enhancer (certainly not a bad thing), but its ingredients consist of both ginkgo biloba and cayenne, meaning it might act as a nice brain fog cure as well.
Potential Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects
As ginkgo biloba acts as a natural blood thinner, you should be cautious about taking it if you’re already on some sort of anticoagulant medication.
In most individuals, side effects are rare, but you may experience things like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. You should discontinue taking whatever form of ginkgo you’ve been consuming if you notice any undesirable side effects.
And as always, be sure to consult with a physician before taking ginkgo biloba supplements, especially if you’re already on prescription medication.
Ginkgo biloba is an incredibly ancient plant. But in our fast-paced modern era, it may be more relevant than ever. As it’s one of the best brain fog remedies, an undesirable ailment which is growing increasingly common, more and more people will likely start turning to it in the near future. Ginkgo biloba goes beyond just being a nootropic, however. As mentioned above, it also acts as an adaptogen and improves circulation. And some cultures have even taken it to increase vitality and sexual energy. There’s a wide range of uses for ginkgo biloba, and also plenty of different forms to take it in. If you need a brain boost or circulation enhancer, you’re likely to benefit by giving it a try.