General Health

General health issues, Medical conditions, Research and studies and more

Mental Health

Natural Medicine

Nutritional supplements, Herbs, Alternative medicine and more…

Wellness & Lifestyle

Nutrition, Diets, Healthy living, Detox, Exercise and Physical Fitness, Sports Fitness and more…

Women’s Health

Relationships, Pregnancy, Birth control, Menopause and more

Home » Natural Medicine

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract

Article / Review by on January 9, 2010 – 5:41 amNo Comments

Gingko BilobaBasic information about the herb ginkgo—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and cooked seeds are occasionally eaten.

Common Names—ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba, fossil tree, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot, baiguo, bai guo ye, kew tree, yinhsing (yin-hsing)

Latin Name—Ginkgo biloba

What Ginkgo Biloba Is Used For

  • Ginkgo leaf extract has been used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears).
  • Today, people use ginkgo leaf extracts hoping to improve memory; to treat or help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia; to decrease intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries); and to treat sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, and other health conditions.

How Ginkgo Biloba Is Used

Extracts are usually taken from the ginkgo leaf and are used to make tablets, capsules, or teas. Occasionally, ginkgo extracts are used in skin products.

What the Science Says

  • Numerous studies of ginkgo have been done for a variety of conditions. Some promising results have been seen for intermittent claudication, but larger, well-designed research studies are needed.
  • An NCCAM-funded study of the well-characterized ginkgo product, EGb-761, found it ineffective in lowering the overall incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly. Further analysis of the same data also found ginkgo to be ineffective in slowing cognitive decline. In this clinical trial, known as the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study, researchers recruited more than 3,000 volunteers age 75 and over who took 240 mg of ginkgo daily. Participants were followed for an average of approximately 6 years.
  • Some smaller studies for memory enhancement have had promising results, but a trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging of more than 200 healthy adults over age 60 found that ginkgo taken for 6 weeks did not improve memory.
  • Other NCCAM-funded research includes studies on ginkgo for asthma, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, vascular function (intermittent claudication), cognitive decline, sexual dysfunction due to antidepressants, and insulin resistance. NCCAM is also looking at potential interactions between ginkgo and prescription drugs.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. More severe allergic reactions have occasionally been reported.
  • There are some data to suggest that ginkgo can increase bleeding risk, so people who take anticoagulant drugs, have bleeding disorders, or have scheduled surgery or dental procedures should use caution and talk to a health care provider if using ginkgo.
  • Uncooked ginkgo seeds contain a chemical known as ginkgotoxin, which can cause seizures. Consuming large quantities of seeds over time can cause death. Ginkgo leaf and ginkgo leaf extracts appear to contain little ginkgotoxin.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Tags: , , , ,

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.