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Both ginseng and ginkgo biloba are herbal supplements widely used in alternative medicine for memory enhancement and stress relief. They can be consumed in capsule form or as a tea, and are generally accepted as safe. Although these supplements both can function to help improve the same aspects of human health, they can also differ in their effects. Some evidence suggests that they can function together to increase stamina and endurance, but evidence is mixed and has not been proven in subsequent studies.
In alternative medicine, the herbs ginseng and ginkgo biloba are used to stimulate memory and relieve stress from the body. Studies have shown that compounds in both herbs act on the adrenal glands, which secrete hormones related to stress and stimulation. Research is not conclusive if both herbs can relieve chronic or severe stress, but they do show promise in calming the nervous system, as well as providing the mind with a sense of calm. They are both widely used for these conditions, and most natural herbal supplements sold with the intent of relieving stress and enhancing memory contain some form of each herb.
Both herbs are usually extracted from different parts of the plant from which they are derived. Ginseng is extracted from the roots, whereas ginkgo biloba is extracted from the leaves and seeds. Both contain naturally occurring chemicals that are the active components responsible for their health benefits and effects. The active components in ginseng are ginsenosides, whereas flavonoids and antioxidants make up the active components in ginkgo biloba.
Ginseng and ginkgo biloba share similar side effects, such as headache and nausea, but these often are not severe. Ginkgo biloba produces the most side effects; ginseng is generally considered safe with minor irritation or adverse reaction. Some herbalists recommend that people who want to avoid stress combine natural stress management techniques along with these herbs to make it more effective. Most supplements sold on the market that contain some form of ginseng or ginkgo biloba are available in capsule form, but they can also be easily infused in water and consumed as a tea.