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Gingko (Ginkgo biloba)

Gingko (Ginkgo biloba)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Ginkgo biloba is an herb used to treat altitude sickness (prevention), cerebral vascular insufficiency, cognitive disorders, dementia, dizziness/vertigo, intermittent claudication, macular degeneration/glaucoma, memory loss, premenstrual syndrome, SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction, and as a vasodilator.

Documented increases in cerebral blood flow (greater effect in patients 50 years and older).

Documented increase in peripheral blood flow in diabetes, intermittent claudication, and hearing loss.

Studies underway for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-induced erectile dysfunction; initial results are positive.

Ginkgo biloba is available under the following different brand and other names: Eun-haeng, fossil tree, ginko biloba, ginkyo, icho, ityo, Japanese silver apricot, kew tree, maidenhair tree, salisburia, and silver apricot.

Traditionally used for

Mental function.
Vision problems in people with diabetes.
Vision loss (glaucoma).
Leg pain when walking due to poor blood flow (peripheral vascular disease).
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
A movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia.
Vertigo and dizziness.
Age-related vison loss (age-related macular degeneration).
Hayfever (allergic rhinitis).
Altitude sickness.
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Hearing loss.
Quality of life.
Radiation exposure.
Skin toxicity caused by radiation.
Blood vessel disorder (Raynaud's syndrome).
Sexual dysfunction.
Skin discolorations (Vitiligo).
High cholesterol.
"Hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis).
Blood clots.
Thinking problems related to Lyme disease.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Bloody diarrhea.
Urinary problems.
Digestion disorders.
Skin sores.


For anxiety: 80 mg or 160 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761 has been taken three times per day for 4 weeks.

For dementia: a dosage of 120-240 mg per day of ginkgo leaf extract (EGb 761), divided in two or three doses.

For retinal damage caused by diabetes: 120 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761 has been taken daily for 6 months.

For improving mental function: single doses of 240-600 mg of ginkgo extract have been used. A ginkgo extract called EGb 761 has been taken in a dosage of 120-240 mg per day for 4 weeks to 4 months. A ginkgo leaf extract called LI 1370 has been taken in a dosage of 120-300 mg for two days. Also, a combination product containing ginkgo extract and Panax ginseng (Ginkoba M/E) has been taken in a dosage of 60-360 mg for 12 weeks.

For walking pain due to poor circulation (claudication, peripheral vascular disease): a dosage of 120-240 mg per day of ginkgo leaf extract (EGb 761), divided into two or three doses, has been used for up to 6.1 years. The higher dose may be more effective.

For vertigo: 160 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761 has been taken once daily or in two divided doses daily for 3 months.

For premenstrual syndrome (PMS): 80 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761 has been taken twice daily, starting on the sixteenth day of the menstrual cycle until the fifth day of the next cycle. Also 40 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called Ginko T.D. has been taken three times daily starting on the sixteenth day of the menstrual cycle until the fifth day of the next cycle.

For the treatment of glaucoma: 120 to 160 mg of ginkgo leaf extract has been taken in two or three divided doses per day for up to 12.3 years.

For schizophrenia: 120-360 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761 (Yi Kang Ning, Yang Zi Jiang Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Jiangsu, China) has been used daily for 8-16 weeks.

For tardive dyskinesia: 80 mg of a ginkgo leaf extract called EGb 761, three times daily for 12 weeks, has been used.

For all uses, start at a lower dose of not more than 120 mg per day to avoid gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. Increase to higher doses indicated as needed. Dosing may vary depending on the specific formulation used. Most researchers used specific standardized Ginkgo biloba leaf extracts. Some people take 0.5 mL of a standard 1:5 tincture of the crude ginkgo leaf three times daily.

Possible Side Effects

Ginkgo LEAF EXTRACT is SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in appropriate doses. It can cause some minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions.

Ginkgo fruit and pulp can cause severe allergic skin reactions and irritation of mucous membranes. Ginkgo might cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, mango rind, or cashew shell oil.

There is some concern that ginkgo leaf extract might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Ginkgo thins the blood and decreases its ability to form clots. Ginkgo leaf extract can cause allergic skin reactions in some people.

There isn't enough reliable information available to know if ginkgo is safe when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Ginkgo is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. It might cause early labor or extra bleeding during delivery if used near that time. Not enough is known about the safety of using ginkgo during breast-feeding. Do not use ginkgo if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Infants and children: Ginkgo leaf extract is SAFE when taken by mouth for a short time. Some research suggests that a specific combination of ginkgo leaf extract plus American ginseng might be safe in children when used short-term. Do not let children eat the ginkgo seed. It is LIKELY UNSAFE.

Bleeding disorders: Ginkgo might make bleeding disorders worse. If you have a bleeding disorder, don't use ginkgo.

Diabetes: Ginkgo might interfere with the management of diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.

Seizures: There is a concern that ginkgo might cause seizures. If you have ever had a seizure, don't use ginkgo.

Deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD): Ginkgo might cause severe anemia in people have G6PD enzyme deficiency. Until more is known, use cautiously or avoid using ginkgo if you have G6PD deficiency.

Infertility: Ginkgo use might interfere with getting pregnant. Discuss your use of ginkgo with your healthcare provider if you are trying to get pregnant.

Surgery: Ginkgo might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using ginkgo at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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