Ginkgo Biloba's Role In Managing Symptoms Of Asthma

  • Urooj FatimaBachelor's degree, Pharm D, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

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Introduction

Millions of people across the world are suffering from asthma, and they are not enjoying the feeling of normal breathing, which is actually a gift from nature. What if you knew that you had a gift from nature? That has the ability to restore your breath. Standing at the frontline of asthma treatment- is nature's hidden treasure, named Ginkgo biloba!

Breath of fresh air with ginkgo biloba!

A natural remedy for most diseases is ginkgo, which is a botanical substance and a great remedy for a natural breath of fresh air for people suffering from asthma. The leaves and the leaf extract are basically used. It has a variety of applications because of its constituents, like flavonoids, bilobalides, ginkgolides, and other bioactive components. Its fan-shaped leaves are used for respiratory health. To reveal more secrets of ginkgo regarding respiratory illnesses, such as a main battle named asthma, you have to delve into its magical workings and pharmacological actions.1

Unveiling the potential of ginkgo biloba in alleviating asthma symptoms

A chronic respiratory disease that leads to the constriction and inflammation of the airways and makes breathing difficult is known as asthma. There are several treatments that could help with breathing normally but with medications, there are some adverse effects too, so why not prefer something natural? Ginkgo biloba perfectly fits in the category to serve its role in managing asthma symptoms. As it contains bioactive compounds such as flavonoids and terpenoids, it shows amazing pharmacological properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, immunomodulatory, bronchodilator, and many more. Through different clinical trials and literature, we get to learn about the amazing ginkgo biloba characteristics. It is a hope for those who cannot breathe normally and provides respiratory wellness.2

The remarkable role of ginkgo biloba in managing asthma symptoms

 If you are looking for a natural remedy for asthma symptoms, it is important to understand what ginkgo can do in this condition as it is a natural substance. It contains amazing bioactive constituents that relieve the inflammation of the bronchial passage, oxidative stress, and the dilation of the bronchioles. Ginkgo biloba is a great natural alternative to medications, which is evident after learning about its mechanisms. This wonder of nature is remarkably useful for asthmatic patients.3

Understanding Asthma

A brief explanation of asthma and its symptoms

A chronic respiratory illness causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Not every asthmatic patient suffers from the same severity and frequency of attack; it varies from person to person. Different external factors can trigger asthma, for instance, irritants, allergens, infections of the respiratory tract and exercise. These factors can obstruct the airflow, because of which breathing becomes difficult.4 

Challenges and impact of asthma on individuals' lives

Asthma affects people's lives very badly as they go through different challenges. Asthma not only leads to different symptoms and limitations on certain activities in the daily life of a person but also affects them psychologically and logically. It is affecting the quality of life, as you can see from the asthmatic patients who always have a fear of asthma attacks, taking medications timely for managing their breathing, and not doing any exercise as it can disrupt the breathing, and affect the sleep cycle too. Factors exacerbate asthma, and patients have to visit the emergency room every other day. Hospitalization has become a part of their lives; taking off from their schools, colleges, or work is causing other problems too. Don’t you think it is also a burden on our healthcare system?5

An overview of conventional asthma treatments and their limitations

In current treatment, symptoms are basically managed; for instance, the inflammation of the airways and the frequency of asthma attacks are reduced. Mostly, bronchodilators are used, which are categorized as SABA- short-acting bronchodilators and LABA-long-acting bronchodilators, corticosteroids that are inhaled, leukotrienes modifying agents, and other biological therapies that reduce the inflammation. These medications work efficiently but they have some disadvantages. Sometimes, it is difficult to adhere to these medications, and visiting the doctor for monitoring and the cost of medication can also be a factor or challenge that the patient has to go through. There is a need for an effective alternative, as the underlying inflammation is sometimes not properly recognized by conventional treatment.6

Exploring ginkgo biloba

Introduction to ginkgo biloba: A brief history and traditional uses

Ginkgo is one of the oldest tree spices that we are using today for different health benefits. It was used in the traditional medicine system for treating ailments like respiratory problems, cognitive issues, and cardiovascular system problems. It is considered the most effective and well-known herb from which supplements are made because of its amazing pharmacological actions and therapeutic uses.

Active components

Ginkgo contains several important bioactive components that are responsible for its pharmacological action, such as flavonoids and terpenoids. The antioxidant properties that help reduce the oxidative stress that is the underlying reason for the asthma attack are because of flavonoids. The antiinflammatory properties are because of the ginkgolides and bilobalides, which are types of terpenoids. These terpenoids reduce inflammation so that the immune response modulating asthma attacks is prevented. Ginkgo biloba manages asthma attacks because its components work synergistically and provide therapeutic efficacy through its pharmacological action.1

Mechanisms of action: How ginkgo biloba may modulate asthma symptoms

Ginkgo is a botanical herb that modulates asthma symptoms and manages asthma attacks in multiple pathways, which is why asthma is managed by Ginkgo biloba due to its different pharmacological actions. Ginkgo plays its part in managing symptoms by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent and inhibiting inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and leukotrienes. Another mechanism by which asthma is induced is oxidative stress, which causes damage to the airways, so bronchoconstriction occurs. To prevent this, ginkgo is used because it has antioxidant properties. Additionally, ginkgo is used as a bronchodilator; the constricted airways are dilated because of the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the airways. The airflow in the airway is maintained and asthma symptoms are relieved.1

Scientific evidence

Research studies: review of relevant scientific studies exploring ginkgo biloba's effects on asthma

Different research studies were conducted on ginkgo biloba regarding lowering the pathogenesis of asthma. Ginkgo biloba was experimented with and investigated in various aspects. Different trials confirmed that it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and bronchodilatory properties because of which the underlying mechanisms causing and promoting asthma are reduced and prevented. The inflammatory cytokines and other mediators, as well as the oxidative stress that is causing trouble breathing by affecting the airways, are inhibited.8

Clinical trials: summary of clinical trials assessing the efficacy of ginkgo biloba in asthma management

Ginkgo biloba contains ginkgolide B, which is an essential component for managing the asthmatic condition and reducing its symptoms. Its efficacy is evident in different clinical studies. The ginkgolide B component helps by inhibiting the BALF, abbreviated as bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and interleukins such as interleukin-5 and interleukin-13, which are the types of T-helper 2 cytokines. Administering the Ginkgolide B component also reduces the eosinophil count in BALF. These results showed ginkgolide B provides therapeutic efficacy in modulating inflammatory responses and hyperresponsiveness of the airway.8

Comparative analysis: contrasting ginkgo biloba with traditional asthma medications

The comparative analysis was conducted between ginkgo biloba and conventional medications used for asthma, like bronchodilators and corticosteroids. The component of ginkgo biloba showed prominent efficacy as it inhibited platelet activating factors, which are involved in the pathogenesis of asthma. Ginkgo biloba not only acts as an anti-inflammatory agent but also inhibits the extracellular regulated kinase (ERK)/MAPK pathway and relieves asthma symptoms by reducing airway inflammation, eosinophilia, and excessive mucus secretion. These unique features of the ginkgo biloba make it a perfect candidate to treat asthma symptoms and to be used as an alternative to traditional medicines.8

Benefits and safety profile

Highlighting the effectiveness of ginkgo biloba in managing asthma symptoms

The effectiveness of ginkgo biloba in managing asthma symptoms is evident from a research study conducted using the biloba component ginkgolide B. Results showed that T-helper 2 cytokines, for instance, interleukins (interleukin- 5, and interleukin-13), inflammation,n and hyperresponsiveness of the airways are reduced by using ginkgo biloba. Excessive mucus production is also reduced. Through these pharmacological actions, it is evident that ginkgo biloba is a natural therapeutic agent.8

Discussion on the safety profile and potential side effects

Ginkgo biloba is used as it has a relatively safe profile, but some people may experience some potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, dizziness, constipation, palpitations, anxiety, weakness, and allergic reactions. Ginkgo biloba may also interact with other drugs, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antiplatelet drugs, or other drugs used for blood clotting problems, as it can lead to internal bleeding. So, it is very important to consult any physician if you are suffering from any such disease or taking any of these medications before incorporating ginkgo into your lifestyle.1

Accessibility and affordability compared to conventional treatments

Another problem with using conventional medication is the cost. They are expensive, and not every person can afford them, so for them, ginkgo biloba is one of the best alternatives to be used as it is easily accessible and very affordable. Available in supplement form at pharmacies, over-the-counter drugs, online retailers, and also at health food stores. The cost is very low compared to conventional prescription medications. Ginkgo Biloba is a promising candidate for the management strategy. 

Practical Applications

Dosage and administration: Recommendations for incorporating ginkgo biloba into asthma management

When ginkgo biloba is incorporated into your daily lifestyle, always remember to carefully manage and take into consideration the usage and administration of ginkgo. The administration and dosages are based on various factors, for instance, age, gender, physical conditions, comorbidities, and severity of illness. Ginkgo biloba is mainly active in the dosage range of 80-720 mg/day for 2 weeks to 2 years. For your personalized dosage regimen, it is important to consult your doctor. Ginkgo biloba is consumed in the form of extracts, tablets, and capsules and can be personally modified according to the needs and conditions.9

Lifestyle integration: How ginkgo biloba can complement lifestyle changes for asthma management

Whenever there is any medical illness, along with the medications, there should be some lifestyle changes to suppress the symptoms of the illness. So, the diet should be such that it does not affect or exacerbate the asthmatic condition. Exercise is very important for maintaining good health and good breath. Stress-reducing practices must be followed to prevent attacks. In order to maintain good respiratory health, ginkgo biloba should be incorporated into your diet regimen. It's better to use a ginkgo biloba complementary supplement to enhance the effectiveness of the medications. But make sure to consult your physician before using it.10

Consultation: Advising on consulting healthcare providers before incorporating ginkgo biloba

Consultation before using ginkgo biloba as an alternative or complementary supplement is very essential. A personalized dosage regimen can be made after consultation with the doctor based on the health condition, severity of the disease, and other drug interactions. So healthcare providers will adjust the dose, and monitoring will be done regularly to reach the goals and targets of alleviating the symptoms and treating the disease.

Summary

To conclude, ginkgo biloba can be used as an adjunctive for the treatment of asthma and preventing its symptoms, as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. By reducing inflammation in the airways, respiratory function is restored. Ginkgo improved the quality of life, as evident from different clinical trials. Further studies should be conducted regarding optimized dosage regimens, safety profiles, and adverse effects. Studies were conducted on how it basically treats the symptoms of asthma by understanding the pathophysiology. Gingko biloba is actually a natural magical remedy. Researchers, experts in the medical field, and patients suffering from asthma are all eager to investigate the advantages of Ginkgo biloba. To unlock more secrets, ongoing research is essential to realizing Ginkgo Biloba's full potential for promoting asthma treatment and respiratory outcomes.

References

  1. Biernacka P, Adamska I, Felisiak K. The potential of ginkgo biloba as a source of biologically active compounds—a review of the recent literature and patents. Molecules [Internet]. 2023 Jan [cited 2024 Feb 29];28(10):3993. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/28/10/3993
  2. Noor-E-Tabassum, Das R, Lami MS, Chakraborty AJ, Mitra S, Tallei TE, et al. Ginkgo biloba: a treasure of functional phytochemicals with multimedicinal applications. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2022 Feb 28 [cited 2024 Feb 29];2022:8288818. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8901348/
  3. Amoah C. Https://www. Researchgate. Net/publication/259820917_gingko_biloba_and_its_use_in_asthma_treatment [Internet]. 2014. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259820917_Gingko_Biloba_and_its_use_in_Asthma_treatment
  4. nhs.uk [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Asthma - symptoms. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/symptoms/
  5. Stubbs MA, Clark VL, McDonald VM. Living well with severe asthma. Breathe (Sheff) [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2024 Mar 1];15(2):e40–9. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6876145/
  6. 2020 focused updates to the asthma management guidelines | nhlbi, nih [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma-management-guidelines-2020-updates
  7. Diamond BJ, Bailey MR. Ginkgo biloba: indications, mechanisms, and safety. Psychiatric Clinics of North America [Internet]. 2013 Mar 1 [cited 2024 Mar 1];36(1):73–83. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0193953X12001050
  8. Chu X, Ci X, He J, Wei M, Yang X, Cao Q, et al. A novel anti-inflammatory role for ginkgolide b in asthma via inhibition of the erk/mapk signaling pathway. Molecules [Internet]. 2011 Sep 6 [cited 2024 Mar 2];16(9):7634–48. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6264276/
  9. Ginkgo biloba - an overview | sciencedirect topics [Internet]. [cited 2024 Mar 2]. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/ginkgo-biloba
  10. Stoodley I, Williams L, Thompson C, Scott H, Wood L. Evidence for lifestyle interventions in asthma. Breathe (Sheff) [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2024 Mar 2];15(2):e50–61. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6876140/

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Urooj Fatima

Bachelor's degree, Pharm D, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

Urooj Fatima, a pharmacist with vivid writing skills. She navigates the realms of science and storytelling with finesse. As a former content writer for the All Pakistan Student Union, Urooj's pen raves with precision and passion. From decoding pharmaceutical mysteries to weaving captivating narratives, she leaves no topic unexplored. You can rely on her to enlighten, amuse, and fascinate readers with each piece she writes.

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