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Ginseng vs Ginkgo Biloba – Which One Should You Take?

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So, you wanna take your health to the next level with supplements. This is the year.

That’s fantastic!

There’s only one problem – you have 300 different supplements to pick from. So how do you choose?

Well, in my Supplement Comparison Series, I take 2 supplements and put them against each other on their benefits, cost, side effects and much more.

The goal isn’t to choose a “winner”, but to help you decide which one is right for you.

In this post we have Ginseng vs Ginkgo Biloba.

Let’s get to it.

What is Ginseng?

ginseng root

Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is an ancient plant that grows in the mountains of Eastern Asia.

The plant can grow up to 2 feet tall and has dark green leaves with clusters of red berries.

Thanks to its wide range of health benefits, Ginseng has been used to treat illnesses in Asian countries for over 2,000 years.

Many of these health benefits are credited to compounds known as Ginsenosides.

These are a type of phytochemical found within Ginseng, and more than 30 of these have been discovered so far.

What is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo Biloba is a herb primarily used to boost brain health and treat a variety of conditions.

Although Ginkgo Biloba supplements usually contain leaf extracts, the plant’s seeds are commonly used for healing purposes in TCM.

A lot of the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba are credited to compounds known as Flavonoids.

Benefits

Benefits of Ginseng

Ginseng may strengthen your immune system

One of the biggest side effects of cancer treatment is loss of immune function.

Thankfully, Ginseng has shown promise at boosting the immune system in a few studies.

One study had 20 subjects who were recovering from stomach cancer surgery take 5400mg of daily Ginseng for 24 months.

Compared to the 19 control subjects, the Ginseng users had a lower recurrence of symptoms and a significant improvement in immune function.

Another study looked at how Ginseng affected immune system markers in stomach cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

After 12 weeks, the patients who supplemented with Ginseng had better immune system markers than the other patients.

Ginseng may reduce inflammation

Inflammation can be your friend or foe depending on the context.

For example, acute inflammation, which occurs during an infection is a normal part of the immune response and is a vital part of the recovery process.

Whereas chronic inflammation is the type that builds up over many years of living an unhealthy lifestyle.

It’s this type of inflammation that increases your risk of many diseases, including stroke, cancer, leaky gut, and heart disease.

So, if you want to lower your risk of said diseases, then reducing inflammation is a must.

Research has shown that Ginseng may reduce inflammation by regulating a cytokine called TNF-alpha.

It’s pleasing to see Ginseng’s effectiveness at lowering inflammation in human studies too.

A study of 18 male athletes compared the inflammatory response to exercise in subjects who took either Ginseng or a placebo.

The results showed that the Ginseng users had a much lower inflammatory response than the placebo takers.

(Related reading: 3 Best Fish Oil Supplements For Inflammation)

Ginseng may improve erectile dysfunction

Ginseng has been shown to help erectile dysfunction (ED) through multiple mechanisms:

It protects against oxidative stress in the penis’ blood vessels.

(Research shows that oxidative stress may contribute to ED.)

And it also increases nitric oxide production.

(Nitric oxide helps the penis muscles relax.)

Ginseng has shown some exciting results in human studies too.

For example, one study concluded that men who used red Ginseng had a 60% improvement in ED symptoms.

Now, the interesting thing about this study was that the men who took ED prescribed medication had only a 30% improvement in ED.

So in other words, Ginseng was twice as effective!

Ginseng may help boost cognitive function

According to human research, Ginseng may improve mental performance and cognitive function.

One study of 30 people looked at how 200mg of daily Ginseng affected their mental performance.

After 28 days, the subjects showed improvement in mood, social skills, and mental wellbeing.

Another study showed that 400mg of daily Ginseng for 8 days improved the subjects’ math skill and mental calmness.

Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba may reduce Dementia symptoms

Although the evidence is fairly limited, research suggests that Ginkgo Biloba may help reduce the rate of cognitive decline in people with dementia.

For example, a review of 4 studies found a significant reduction in symptoms of dementia when Ginkgo Biloba was used for 22 – 24 weeks.

Another review of 21 studies concluded that Ginkgo Biloba may increase mental cognition in those with Alzheimer’s.

(Although it was used alongside standard therapy – not as a replacement.)

Ginkgo Biloba may help reduce anxiety

Here’s a shocking fact for you…

Over 40 million US adults suffer from anxiety disorders.

This makes anxiety the most common mental illness in America.

Now for the good news…

Ginkgo Biloba has been clinically trialled in treating anxiety and the results have been fairly promising.

One study of 107 anxiety patients had them treated with either 240mg of Ginkgo Biloba, 480mg of Ginkgo Biloba or a placebo.

Those who took 480mg of Ginkgo Biloba reported a 45% greater reduction in anxiety symptoms, compared to those in the placebo group.

(Related reading: Do Cold Showers Work For Anxiety?)

Ginkgo Biloba is rich in antioxidants

An excess of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, which is believed to play an important role in aging and many diseases.

Thankfully, nature has given us molecules than can neutralise free radicals, known as antioxidants.

So generally, the higher your antioxidant intake, the less oxidative stress you’ll have.

(And the younger you’ll look and feel…)

Ginkgo Biloba is rich in flavonoids and terpenoids, which are powerful antioxidant compounds.

Ginkgo Biloba may reduce PMS symptoms

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is the name for the symptoms women may experience before their period.

Early research suggests that Ginkgo Biloba may be able to treat both the physical and mental symptoms of PMS.

For example, a study of 85 students showed that Ginkgo Biloba supplementation reduced PMS symptoms by 23%.

Cost

Ginseng Cost

Ginseng is typically sold as slices or in capsules.

Here are some standard prices for these:

  • Slices: $30 for 4 Oz
  • Capsules: $35 for 200

Ginkgo Biloba Cost

Ginkgo Biloba generally comes in the form of capsules or as a liquid extract.

Typical prices for these are:

  • Capsules: $11 for 120
  • Liquid extract: $14 for 2 Oz

Side Effects

Ginseng Side Effects

Ginseng is well-tolerated by most people, but the following side effects have been reported by some people:

  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blood pressure fluctuations

Women may experience additional side effects such as vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness.

(Who knew Ginseng was sexist?!)

Also, other drugs may interact poorly with Ginseng so if you’re taking any other medication, then please consult a doctor before using Ginseng.

Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects

For most adults, Ginkgo Biloba supplementation is generally safe, but there are cases in which it could cause a lot of harm.

Some people may experience the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach

And these people should NOT be taking Ginkgo Biloba:

  • Those taking NSAIDS
  • Those taking blood thinners
  • Those taking antidepressants
  • Those allergic to plants which contain Alkylphenols

Recommendations

My Ginseng Recommendation: Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng

Click to see on Amazon

Overview

Reasonably priced, long-lasting, and high strength.

Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng is the real deal.

What I like about it

The 100s of amazing reviews show that this a trusted Ginseng supplement, that’s used and loved by many other people.

Also, it’s pleasing to see that the Ginseng used in this supplement contains a minimum of 5% ginsenosides.

This makes it a lot more potent and effective than other Ginseng supplements.

Another great feature is the fact each bottle contains 180 capsules, so each purchase will provide you with 3 months’ worth of top-quality Ginseng.

Potential Drawbacks

It would be nice if Wellbeing Formula expanded a little bit more on the “Vegetable Capsule” ingredient.

(I don’t know about you, but I like to know exactly what I consume when taking supplements.)

Check price and read more reviews of Wellbeing Formula Korean Ginseng on Amazon.

My Ginkgo Biloba Recommendation: NOW Ginkgo Biloba

NOW Double Strength Ginkgo Biloba

Click to see on Amazon

Overview

A top-quality, high-strength Ginkgo Biloba supplement from a trusted supplement brand.

At its super affordable price, you can’t look past NOW Ginkgo Biloba.

What I like about it

NOW are renowned worldwide for providing high quality supplements.

In fact, they’re GMP certified.

This just means that each aspect of their manufacturing process has been overseen and examined for quality.

So it’s not surprising that they’re one of the most successful supplement companies on the market.

Also, the hundreds of excellent reviews show that many other people are using this product and are having great results with it.

And with each capsule containing 120mg of Ginkgo Biloba, this supplement ranks among the most potent available.

(NOW also have a 60mg Ginkgo Biloba supplement if 120mg is too strong for you.)

Potential Drawbacks

Some people have reported stomach pains since taking this product, although this seems to be pretty rare.

Check price and read more reviews of NOW Ginkgo Biloba on Amazon.

Ginseng vs Ginkgo Biloba: The Verdict

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this Ginseng vs Ginkgo Biloba showdown just as much as I have typing it!

By now, you should have a good idea of which of the 2 you want to use and improve your health with.

But if you’re still on the fence, then here’s what I’d suggest as a high-level guide:

You might prefer Ginseng if:

  • You want to lower inflammation
  • You want to improve brain function
  • You want to strengthen your immune system
  • You have a hard time “getting hard” (pun intended…)

You might prefer Ginkgo Biloba if:

  • You suffer from anxiety
  • You want to reduce symptoms of PMS
  • You want to increase your antioxidant intake
  • You want to reduce symptoms of Dementia/Alzheimer’s

Hope this helped!

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