Ginkgo is a large tree with fan-shaped leaves. It is native to China, Japan, and Korea, but is also now grown in Europe and the United States. The ginkgo tree is thought to be one of the oldest living trees, dating back to more than 200 million years.
Ginkgo leaf is often taken by mouth for memory and thought problems, anxiety, vision problems, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
The list of other uses of ginkgo is very long. This may be because this herb has been around for so long. Ginkgo biloba is one of the longest living tree species in the world. Ginkgo trees can live as long as a thousand years. Using ginkgo for asthma and bronchitis was described in 2600 BCE.
In manufacturing, ginkgo leaf extract is used in cosmetics. In foods, roasted ginkgo seed, which has the pulp removed, is an edible delicacy in Japan and China.
Is a Form of:
Tree native to China, Japan and Korea
Memory and thought problems, anxiety
Also Known As:
Fossil Tree, Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf, Ginkgo Extract, Ginkgo Folium
How Does It Work?
Ginkgo seems to improve blood circulation, which might help the brain, eyes, ears, and legs function better. It may act as an antioxidant to slow down Alzheimer's disease and interfere with changes in the brain that might cause problems with thinking.
Ginkgo seeds contain substances that might kill the bacteria and fungi that cause infections in the body. The seeds also contain a toxin that can cause serious side effects like seizures and loss of consciousness.
- Anxiety. Research shows that taking a ginkgo extract for 4 weeks can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- Diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia). Taking 240 mg of ginkgo daily may slightly improve dementia symptoms. But it's unclear how ginkgo compares to conventional medicines used for dementia. Ginkgo doesn't seem to prevent dementia from developing or getting worse.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Taking ginkgo leaf extract by mouth seems to relieve breast tenderness and other symptoms associated with PMS when started during the 16th day of the menstrual cycle and continued until the 5th day of the following cycle.
- Schizophrenia. Research shows that taking ginkgo daily in addition to conventional antipsychotic medications for 8-16 weeks can reduce symptoms of schizophrenia. It may also reduce some side effects like thirst and constipation and adverse effects associated with the antipsychotic medication, haloperidol.
- A movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia). Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder that is caused by certain antipsychotic drugs. Research shows that taking a specific ginkgo extract (EGb 761, Yi Kang Ning, Yang Zi Jiang Pharmaceuticals Ltd.) for 12 weeks can reduce the severity of tardive dyskinesia symptoms in people with schizophrenia who are taking antipsychotic drugs.
- Dizziness (vertigo). Taking ginkgo leaf extract by mouth seems to improve symptoms of dizziness and balance disorders.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- 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 diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia): 60-480 mg per day of ginkgo leaf extract ,divided in two or three doses, has been taken for up to one year. The most commonly studied dose is 120-240 mg per day with 240 mg possibly being more effective. Most of the clinical studies on the effectiveness of ginkgo leaf for dementia have used the standardized extracts EGb 761 (Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals and Ipsen) and LI 1370 (Lichtwer Pharma).
- For dizziness (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 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 a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (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.
You should avoid crude ginkgo plant parts. These can contain dangerous levels of the toxic chemicals found in the seed of the plant and elsewhere. These chemicals can cause severe allergic reactions.
Ginkgo Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
What is ginkgo biloba good for?
People use it for a variety of reasons. The therapeutic properties of the ginkgo plant are said to include treatment for blood disorders and memory problems, enhancement of cardiovascular function and to improve eye health. Also known as the maidenhair tree, ginkgo is one of the oldest species of tree in the world.
Is Ginkgo biloba safe to take daily?
There is no standard dose of ginkgo biloba supplements. A common dose in people with dementia is 40 milligrams of that extract three times daily. For improving cognitive function in healthy people, studies have used between 120 milligrams to 600 milligrams of the extract daily.
Who should not take ginkgo biloba?
If you are older, have a bleeding disorder or are pregnant, don't take ginkgo. The supplement might increase your risk of bleeding. If you're planning to have surgery, stop taking ginkgo two weeks beforehand. Ginkgo might interfere with the management of diabetes.
Does Ginkgo biloba work sexually?
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). Increases circulation and may improve sexual function, although one study found no effect. Helped men with ED improve sexual function, according to one double-blind study. People in the study took 2 weeks off after 8 weeks of treatment.
Should I take ginkgo at night?
When taken 30 - 60 minutes before bed, gingko biloba supplements have been shown to reduce stress and enhance relaxation. This will help you to relax after a long day and it may even contribute to improved sleep quality.
Can ginkgo cause stroke?
“Could ginkgo cause a stroke?” asks The Daily Mail today. During the study, seven people taking ginkgo had strokes or warning strokes, compared with none in the placebo group. The study was too small reliably to demonstrate any effect that ginkgo may have on dementia.
What medications should not be taken with ginkgo biloba?
Blood-thinning medications -- Ginkgo has blood-thinning properties and therefore should not be used if you are taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dipyridamole (Persantine), heparin, ticlopidine (Ticlid), or warfarin (Coumadin).
Does Ginkgo biloba cause liver damage?
Gingko biloba consumption did not cause any negative changes in biomarkers of liver function, a new study found. It was motivated by two recent studies on rodents, which suggested that high doses of Gingko biloba leaf extract may increase risk of liver and thyroid cancer.
What is the best time to take ginkgo biloba?
Ginkgo biloba extract is made from dried leaves of the ancient ginkgo tree. Evidence suggests taking 250 mg of 30–60 minutes of Ginkgo biloba before bed may help reduce stress, enhance relaxation and promote sleep.
What are the side effects of taking ginkgo biloba?
It can cause some minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions. There is some concern that ginkgo leaf extract might increase the risk of liver and thyroid cancers.
Does Ginkgo biloba actually work?
Ginkgo's effect on memory enhancement has had conflicting results. While some evidence suggests that ginkgo extract might modestly improve memory in healthy adults, most studies indicate that ginkgo doesn't improve memory, attention or brain function.
When should you not take ginkgo biloba?
If you are older, have a bleeding disorder or are pregnant, don't take ginkgo. The supplement might increase your risk of bleeding. If you're planning to have surgery, stop taking ginkgo two weeks beforehand. Ginkgo might interfere with the management of diabetes.
What is the best way to take ginkgo biloba?
Dosage and form
Ginkgo is available in capsule form, as tablets, liquid extracts, and dried leaf for teas. In studies, adults have used between 120 and 240 milligrams a day in divided doses. It appears to take 4 to 6 weeks before improvements are noticed.
How long can you take ginkgo?
For diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia): 60-480 mg per day of ginkgo leaf extract ,divided in two or three doses, has been taken for up to one year. The most commonly studied dose is 120-240 mg per day with 240 mg possibly being more effective.
Does Ginkgo raise blood pressure?
Medications for high blood pressure: Ginkgo may lower blood pressure, so taking it with blood pressure medications may cause blood pressure to drop too low. Medications to lower blood sugar: Ginkgo may raise or lower insulin levels and blood sugar levels.
Is Ginko safe?
When used orally in moderate amounts, ginkgo appears to be safe for most healthy adults. Ginkgo can cause: Headache. Dizziness.
Does Ginkgo biloba give you energy?
Some studies suggest that ginkgo biloba may improve some aspects of mood, including alertness and calmness, in healthy subjects. By making you more alert and calm, it may increase your sense of energy. Ginseng. This relatively safe and popular herb is said to reduce fatigue and enhance stamina and endurance.
Is Ginkgo biloba good for your memory?
Ginkgo biloba extract, derived from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, is often touted as a memory aid. But it appears unlikely that Ginkgo biloba extract can slow or prevent age-related memory problems, or memory loss associated with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.
Is Ginkgo biloba good for hair growth?
Ginkgo biloba has been proven to potentially help slow the hair loss process down and even promote new growth. It's important to note that most research that has been done has been on animals. Additional studies are needed to prove the effectiveness on humans.
Is Ginkgo biloba bad for your kidneys?
The Ginkgo biloba extract (GbE) protects the kidney from damage produced by a single and low dose of carbon tetrachloride in adult male rats.
Does Ginkgo biloba make you tired?
When taken 30 - 60 minutes before bed, gingko biloba supplements have been shown to reduce stress and enhance relaxation. This will help you to relax after a long day and it may even contribute to improved sleep quality.
Should I take ginkgo biloba on an empty stomach?
Ginkgo Biloba Recommended Use:
Take 1 capsule with water or your favorite beverage twice daily on an empty stomach. Take first serving 30 minutes prior to breakfast, second 30 minutes prior to lunch.
Can I take ginkgo biloba and fish oil together?
Interactions between your drugs
No interactions were found between Fish Oil and Ginkgo Biloba. This does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.
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