According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 10 million individuals in the United States have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (Source). This mental illness is characterized by having episodes of mania followed by episodes of depression, and it commonly develops in individuals under the age of 25; however, diagnosis can sometimes take years (Source).
The standard treatment options for this mental illness can vary from patient-to-patient; however, natural health proponents claim herbs such as ginkgo biloba may be used in conjunction with psychotherapy and prescription medication therapies to help reduce the activity of bipolar mania.
What is Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo biloba has a long standing tradition as being a medicinal plant, and evidence of this use dates back for centuries. While this herb contains numerous active compounds, its most active include flavonoids and terpenoids (Source).
Flavonoids are known to have potent antioxidant qualities known to prevent and reverse damage done by free radicals. Terpenoids are used by your body to promote overall blood flow, dilate blood vessels and inhibit platelet sticking, or aggregation (Source).
Scientific Evidence of Ginkgo for Bipolar Mania:
The most widely accepted use of ginkgo is to enhance memory and mental cognition, and while proponents of this herb claim it may help reduce the severity of bipolar mania there is very little scientific evidence to fully support this claim.
Initial studies have found that ginkgo can significantly reduce dementia and depression symptoms (Source), however, no study has determined the effectiveness of this herb on bipolar mania.
According to PsychCentral, ginkgo has the ability to enhance the rate of blood flow to your brain, which is beneficial as this delivers a much higher concentration of nutrients and oxygen to your brain (Source). While unconfirmed, this increase of blood flow to your brain may help reduce bipolar mania symptoms (Source).
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it is generally considered safe for adults to consume 120 to 240 milligrams of ginkgo per day. For maximum effectiveness, only use a ginkgo extract with 12 percent triterpene lactones and 32 percent flavone glycosides. After starting a ginkgo supplementation routine, any positive effects may take up to six weeks to be noticed (Source).
National Alliance on Mental Illness: Bipolar Disorder
University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginkgo Biloba
PsychCentral: Herbs for Bipolar Disorder
AlphaGenics: NutriGenomics of Ginkgo Biloba