Ginkgo Biloba: Benefits, Health Effects, Uses, Dosage, History, and Risks

Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest living tree species, dating back more than 200 million years ago. It has been used as medicine by the Chinese for 500 years who concocted teas and other medicines from the different parts of the tree to treat asthma and bronchitis. In Germany and France, Ginkgo was a treatment for peripheral vascular disease and central nervous system symptoms, like lack of energy, confusion, dizziness, and headache. Currently, Ginkgo biloba is a popular herbal supplement in the United States and other countries around the world. It is primarily used as a form of neurovascular support. A daily dosage of 120-240 mg is known to help enhance memory and cognitive functions. Ginkgo biloba supplements are produced in pills (tablets and capsules), powder, and tea. Supplement manufacturing companies like Pure Encapsulations, Klaire Labs, and Vital Nutrients utilize a standardized concentration of Ginkgo biloba extract (24% ginkgoflavonoids and 6% terpene lactones).

While the herb is generally safe to use, it may have side effects such as headache, dizziness, constipation, heart palpitations, and allergic skin reactions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified Ginkgo biloba as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). In the United States, medicinal herbs, like Ginkgo biloba, do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the FDA when used as a dietary supplement.

What are the Uses of Ginkgo Biloba?

Aside from its application in traditional medicine, Ginkgo biloba is also effective in the following use-cases:

  1. Oral supplement in treating various health issues
  2. Culinary use
  3. Ornamental plant use

The most notable application of Ginkgo biloba is its role in the supplement industry. It has been used since 1965 to promote cognitive health, support circulation, and alleviate psychiatric symptoms. According to the 2021 annual survey of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that the dietary supplement industry is trustworthy. This increase of five percent from 2020 positively affects the prices of Ginkgo supplements.

The culinary use of Ginkgo biloba is predominant only in Asian cuisine. The Japanese prefer to incorporate Ginkgo seeds in their traditional steamed egg custard dish called chawanmushi. The Chinese include the seeds when cooking congee (a rice porridge) and other vegetarian dishes. 

The Ginkgo biloba tree has been a go-to specimen for bonsai lovers. Because the tree can withstand pollution and environmental stresses, it is widely used to beautify metropolitan areas. Ginkgo trees are easily seen in large cities in Europe, Asia and eastern part of the United States. New York City has the most planted Ginkgo trees in the US.

What are the Health Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba has been widely used since ancient times to treat swelling of hands and feet, vascular disorders, asthma, and neurologic disorders. Since its production as a health supplement, it has also been prescribed for brain health. Research has been done to find evidence of the other medical uses of the herb. The following are the known health benefits of Ginkgo biloba:

1. Provides Antioxidants

Antioxidants are natural substances found in plants that balance out free radicals in the body. The leaves of Ginkgo biloba contain the compounds responsible for their antioxidant property. The main compounds are kaempferol, quercetin, and isorhamnetin. These flavonoids scavenge and destroy free radicals connected with many diseases.

In a study conducted by E. Sadowska-Krepa et al., eighteen healthy, male Physical Education students (aged 18-24 years) consumed 80 mg of standardized Ginkgo biloba extract twice a day. The study aimed at testing the effects that six weeks of Ginkgo biloba supplementation had on aerobic performance and blood antioxidant capacity. After the experiment, there was a 20% increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. SODs are enzymes essential for antioxidant defense against harmful oxygen molecules entering the body.

2. Helps Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s localized response to an injury or infection from bacteria and viruses. The inflamed area becomes red, swollen, hot to touch, painful, and has loss of function. Ginkgo biloba has been used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat inflammatory processes in the body, such as asthma. Modern medicine added arthritis, cancer, irritable bowel disease (IBD), heart disease, and stroke to the roster of health concerns that benefit from the anti-inflammatory abilities of Ginkgo biloba.

A research study by Zhu Tao and his colleagues focused on the anti-inflammatory effect of the active components of in treating pulmonary diseases. They concluded that biflavones inhibited the activity of HNE (4-hydroxy-2-nonenal) post-study. HNE is an active molecule in inflammatory cell signaling. In another research study done by V. Kotakadi and team, EGb 761 (standardized Ginkgo biloba extract) reduced the expression of inflammatory markers (iNOS, Cox-2, and nuclear factor-kappa B) in mice used as study subjects. 

In a human trial led by X. Shiqing, the scientists examined the role of Ginkgo biloba in disrupting the pro-and anti-inflammatory T-cell balance in the blood of arsenicosis patients. Arsenicosis or arsenic poisoning occurs after inhaling or ingesting arsenic – a naturally-occurring carcinogenic element also found in the farming, mining, and manufacturing industries. Eighty-one study subjects consumed three tablets of GBE (Ginkgo biloba extract) per day. Each tablet contained flavonoid glycosides 19.2 mg and terpenoids 4.8 mg. After 3 months of oral GBE administration, the researchers reported that Ginkgo biloba suppresses the pro-inflammatory cells and related cytokines, providing favorable immunological effects.

3. Improves Circulation

Circulation is the movement of blood through the arteries and veins that are caused by the pumping action of the heart. Most of the studies involving Ginkgo biloba find its ability to improve circulation to be the source of its numerous other health benefits.

In a clinical study of 80 patients aged 60 to 75 diagnosed with non-dementia vascular cognitive impairment, the blood flow velocity of the anterior cerebral artery increased in the treatment group. The participants took 19.2 mg Ginkgo biloba tablet thrice a day for 3 months. Another team led by A. Mashayekh quantitatively studied the relationship of Ginkgo biloba with cerebral blood flow by MR perfusion imaging (an imaging technique that assesses cerebral perfusion by measuring blood volume, blood flow, and transit time). Nine healthy men with a mean age of 61 consumed 60 mg of EGb 761 twice daily. After four weeks, imaging results show a small but significant increase in the global cerebral blood flow (CBF) and a mild increase in the CBF in the left parietal-occipital white matter, the brain area responsible for visual memory and cognition.

4. Reduces Risk of Psychiatric Distress

Since ancient times, herbal medicines like Ginkgo biloba have been used in treating mental or psychiatric distress. The practice gathered much attention in modern scientific medicine leading to an investigation of the herb and its role in such mental conditions. 

Psychiatric distress is a mental health condition that affects a person’s emotions, thinking, and behavior. Pedro Montes and his colleagues reviewed the potential clinical use of Ginkgo biloba in psychiatric disorders. They concluded that the antioxidant effect, modulatory action in neural synapses, upregulation in neurotrophic components, and neuroendocrine regulation contribute to the potential therapeutic effects of EGb 761 in both human and animal models.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosed in childhood with trouble controlling impulsive behavior, paying attention, and being overly active. In a research study led by F. Shakibaei, children and adolescents (aged 6 to 12) with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were randomized to the EGb 761 and placebo group. Both groups consumed methylphenidate (the drug of choice for ADHD). The Ginkgo group received 80 mg of enteric-coated Ginkgo biloba tablets daily for those with a weight below 66 lbs (30 kg) and 120 mg/day for those whose weight is more than 66 lbs. After the 6-week treatment, the study subjects in the Ginkgo group showed an improvement in attention. There was also an increase in the overall clinical treatment response with minimal side effects.

In a meta-analysis conducted by Xichuang Chen and his team, the researchers obtained evidence that a daily dose of 240 mg Ginkgo biloba improved the total and negative symptoms of chronic schizophrenia as an adjuvant to antipsychotic drugs. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric illness characterized by positive and negative symptoms, thought disorders, and cognitive deficits.

Meng et al. sampled two individuals using EGb 761 alone at a double dosage of 480 mg per day but observed an increase in severity of persecutory delusions in the study subjects 12 to 14 days into the experiment. The symptoms subsided after discontinuing EGb and adding antipsychotic drugs. This led the researchers to suggest that the safety of EGb treatment in chronic schizophrenia is relative to its dosage. Further study is needed for more evidence. 

 

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5. Treats Dementia

Dementia is a chronic and progressive decline in cognitive abilities, typical in old age, affecting how a person thinks, feels, speaks, and behaves. Ginkgo biloba is a common focal point in research studies on alternative and adjunct treatment for dementia and neurologic illnesses. Though earlier studies reported inconclusive and unreliable results, EGb 761 at 120-240 mg/day in divided doses has shown positive effects on the symptoms of mild-to-moderate dementia in the study done by K. McKeage and K. Lyseng-Williamson in 2018. After 26 weeks, researchers noted changes from baseline in outcomes relative to cognition, behavior, and global change. These favorable effects were attributed to the antioxidant activity and ability to scavenge free radicals of Ginkgo biloba. 

6. Improves Eyesight

The function of Ginkgo biloba in eyesight improvement is mostly due to improvement inoptical microcirculation. In a research study headed by H. S. Chung, the team used Color Doppler Imaging in measuring ocular blood flow. Color Doppler Imaging is an ultrasonic technique that combines anatomical and velocity information in creating color-coded maps of blood movement through the heart, arteries, and the rest of the body. A group of eleven healthy volunteers took 40 mg of GBE three times daily for two days. Ginkgo biloba increased the end-diastolic velocity (EDV) by 23% in the ophthalmic artery. After the clinical trial, the researchers concluded that flavonoids and terpene lactones contribute to this ability of GBE. They further suggest that the improved ocular blood flow brought about by Ginkgo biloba may provide an ideal medical treatment modality combined with current medications for ocular diseases.

7. Decreases Anxiety

According to the American Psychological Association, “Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” Anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety drugs, have well-researched effects in treating anxiety. However, the use of medicinal plants, like Ginkgo biloba, is also widespread among patients suffering from anxiety and mood disorders. 

A randomized controlled trial led by Woellk tested one hundred seven participants with a generalized anxiety disorder or adjustment disorder with anxious mood. The researchers divided the study subjects into three clusters. One group took 40 mg EGb 761 three times per day. Another group had 80 mg of EGb 761 three times daily, while the third group had a placebo. After the treatment, there was a decrease in the anxiety rating scale for both groups administered with Ginkgo biloba. This result corroborated with the clinical evaluation of the physicians and the patients’ overall judgment of change. The treatment was well-tolerated. The researchers concluded that Ginkgo biloba is suitable not just for elderly patients but also for young people at work due to its excellent tolerability and absence of risk for dependence.

8. Helps Against Depression

Depression is a common chronic disease characterized by slow thinking, loss of interest and pleasure, reduced willingness to act, serious suicidal thoughts and behavior, and, in some cases, hallucinations and delusions. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated one in twenty adults suffer from depression globally. 

Ginkgo biloba showed positive effects in the treatment of elderly patients with depression. In the study done by Chun-Xiao Dai and team, the treatment of EGb 19.2 mg thrice a day and 20 mg/day of Citalopram (an antidepressant drug) recorded a shorter onset of efficacy compared to the Citalopram control group. The results were observed after two weeks of Ginkgo adjunctive treatment. The neuroprotective property of Ginkgo biloba also promotes the improvement of depressive symptoms. 

In another treatment study on post-stroke depression, 40 mg doses of Ginkgo biloba taken three times daily was gradually introduced to patients taking 75 mg of venlafaxine (a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant drug). Upon administration of Ginkgo, venlafaxine was slowly tapered down. After eight weeks of treatment, both the Ginkgo and the controlled venlafaxine group exhibited improved depressive symptoms. Researchers Xi-Hong Liang and the team suggests Ginkgo biloba extract is a good augmentation of venlafaxine in treating post-stroke depression.

9. Helps Reduce Migraines

According to a 2020 study by Dr. Rebecca Burch and colleagues, migraine and severe headaches affect women 11% more than men. The researchers further found that the ages 18 to 44 had a higher prevalence of migraine at 17.9%. This rate decreases with age as only 5.1% experienced severe headaches over 75. The American Association of Family Physicians lists non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as the first line of treatment for mild to moderate migraines. Owing to the anti-inflammatory characteristics of Ginkgo biloba, it has been well used to prevent and treat migraine both in conventional and modern medicine.

In a preliminary study by Usai Susanna and his team, the scientists focused on one active constituent of Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgolide B. The compound has an anti-platelet activating factor (PAF), a potent anti-inflammatory and nociceptive agent released during an inflammatory process. In addition, Ginkgolide B regulates the action of glutamate acid, the primary excitatory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. Abnormal glutamate levels may cause migraine aura, and the PAF stimulates the trigeminal-vascular endings and induces pain. The researchers populated 24 young patients suffering from migraine without aura. A combined dosage of Ginkgolide B 80 mg, coenzyme Q10 20mg, vitamin B12 1.6 mg, and magnesium 300 mg was given to the treatment group twice daily for three months. After the treatment period, the study subjects reported a substantial reduction in monthly migraine attacks from a baseline of 7.4 to 2.2 episodes. There was also no report of worsening migraine symptoms.

10. Helps Reduce Headaches

The American Journal of Medicine states that Neurology Medicine patients present headaches as their primary concerns. It affects all age groups with the same prescriptions at different doses. Herbal medicines, like Ginkgo biloba, have also been used to treat and prevent headaches. In a follow-up study by U. Susanna, her team examined the effect of Ginkgolide B in the treatment of primary headaches. A study group of 30 young individuals, aged 8 to 18, were subjected to an oral administration of Ginkgolide B 80 mg, coenzyme Q10 20 mg, vitamin B12 1.6 mg, and magnesium 300 mg twice daily, in the morning and the evening, with meals. After three months, there was a decrease in the monthly headache episodes and a reduced number of analgesics usage of the control group. Based on the results, the researchers concluded that Ginkgolide B in Ginkgo biloba is a good option for patients suffering from severe headaches without auras, especially for young patients where a therapy without side effects is preferred.

11. Decreases Asthma Symptoms

Ginkgo biloba established its prominence in treating asthma in Chinese traditional medicine. However, in modern medicine, there is no study showing evidence of sole Ginkgo biloba use in alleviating symptoms of asthma in humans. The published research examined the role of Ginkgo biloba adjunctive to other drugs and Ginkgo biloba in animal study subjects.

Asthma is a chronic disorder characterized by airway obstruction, inflammation and hyperresponsiveness, and mucus hypersecretion. Researcher Yijun Tang headed a team that examined the effects of fluticasone propionate and Ginkgo biloba in asthma. Fluticasone propionate is a steroid used for long-term asthma management. Seventy-five asthmatic patients were divided into four groups. One group was treated with fluticasone propionate for two weeks and another for four weeks. The third group was administered fluticasone propionate and GBE 240 mg daily for two weeks. The last group was given both fluticasone and GBE for four weeks. After GBE and fluticasone propionate treatment, the results indicated a decrease in the infiltration of inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and lymphocytes in the asthmatic airways. The researchers concluded that GBE can be a complementary drug to glucocorticosteroid therapy for asthma.

12. Treats PMS Symptoms

During their reproductive years, women experience a combination of behavioral, psychological, with or without somatic symptoms a week or two before menstruation called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Per the statistical reports of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, over 90% of women experience premenstrual symptoms such as moodiness, headaches, and bloating. While there are available over-the-counter patent medications, herbal medicine is also a beneficial method in alleviating PMS symptoms. Ginkgo biloba is a concrete example of these herbal medicines.

In a clinical trial, A. Tamborini and R. Taurelle evaluated 165 women aged 18 to 45 suffering from congestive symptoms of PMS. The treatment group was administered with EGb 761 from the 16th day of the first menstrual cycle till the 5th day of the next cycle. After the treatment, the experimental group reported improved neuropsychological symptoms and lesser physical manifestations, particularly breast symptoms. In another randomized, placebo-controlled trial, eighty-five university students took 40 mg of Ginkgo biloba leaf tablets three times a day from the 16th day of the menstrual cycle to the 5th day of the next cycle. The researchers, Giti Ozgoli and colleagues, collected data from self-administered questionnaires. There was a decrease of 23.68% in the Ginkgo group in the overall severity of PMS symptoms. The placebo group recorded a 8.74% decrease. However significant the results were, the researchers suggested further studies on the efficacy of Ginkgo’s active ingredients, the safety of different doses, and treatment periods against PMS.

13. Improves Testosterone Levels

Currently, there are no studies that support the effect of Ginkgo biloba on testosterone levels in humans. Testosterone is the male primary sex hormone responsible for increased bone mass and muscle and body hair growth. 

A preliminary study done on diabetic rats investigated the role of GBE on testosterone synthesis in the Leydig cells, testicular interstitial cells that serve as the primary source of testosterone. After 12 weeks, the results on the Ginkgo group showed very slight pathological changes in the Leydig cells and increased luteinizing hormones and testosterone levels.

14. Improves Sexual Life

There are a variety of studies regarding traditional formulations of herbal medicines used as sexual stimulants and aphrodisiacs. Ginkgo biloba gathered much attention in this aspect. Zahra Mashhadi et al. performed a systematic review on the clinical trials involving Ginkgo biloba and its safety and efficacy on sexual dysfunction. The researchers found Ginkgo biloba beneficial in the sexual life of post-menopausal women. 

Several studies had antidepressant users as study subjects. Alan Cohen et al. found evidence that Ginkgo biloba has positive effects on sexual dysfunction caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), an antidepressant drug indicated for anxiety and major depressive disorders. A Ginkgo biloba dosage of 60 mg four times a day or 120 mg twice a day delivered the desired effect.

 

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What are the Ginkgo Biloba Risks (Side-Effects)?

Side effects are documented signs or symptoms experienced by an individual taking a drug or supplement when the treatment goes beyond the expected result, or a problem occurs in addition to the desired therapeutic outcome. Studies on the effects of Ginkgo biloba on different illnesses and organ systems have recorded the following minor side effects:

  1. Headache
  2. Dizziness
  3. Forceful heartbeat
  4. Constipation
  5. Indigestion
  6. Skin allergies

Researches also studied more undesirable and serious side effects of chronic Ginkgo biloba ingestion, such as:

  1. Subdural hematoma
  2. Spontaneous hyphema

There have been a small number of case reports wherein Ginkgo biloba is associated with bleeding disorders. These include six cases of subdural hematoma, one case of spontaneous hyphema, and three cases of postoperative bleeding.

In case studies on the safety and toxicity of Ginkgo biloba extract, its compound Ginkgolide B has been linked to bilateral subdural hematomas after a 2-year consumption history of GBE 120 mg daily. The case report did not mention any history of head trauma or injury. The resulting condition occurred, in part, due to the abnormal platelet aggregability from long-term Ginkgo biloba use. 

Another case report documented spontaneous bleeding from the iris into the anterior eye chamber. Spontaneous hyphema was observed in a 70-year old, which presented after a week’s use of an over-the-counter 40 mg Ginkgo tablet twice daily. The patient also took 325 mg of aspirin tablets daily, which is many times stronger than the 81mg recommended for cardiovascular benefits. There was no known history of eye trauma, ischemia, or vascular occlusion. 

These side effects can be prevented by thorough history taking. While GBE is an over-the-counter supplement, it is best to consult a physician if you have other medical needs. Assessment of the interaction between maintenance medications and Ginkgo biloba extract is essential. Individuals with blood clotting disorders or taking anticoagulants such as aspirin should be careful when taking GBE. Precaution is also needed under antidepressant treatment, whether SSRIs or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Ginkgo biloba inhibits monoamine oxidase, thus decreasing the efficacy of the drug.

A standardized Ginkgo biloba extract is the best for utilization. Some compounds, for example, ginkgolic acids from Ginkgo leaves, may not be present in GBE but may be found in some non-standardized OTC ginkgo products. These acid-like constituents could potentially cause allergies and side effects.

Specific precaution is needed when taking roasted Ginkgo seeds. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states they can be poisonous and may lead to more serious side effects.

How to Determine Ginkgo Biloba Dosage?

The proper dosage of Ginkgo biloba depends on factors such as age, gender, weight in pediatric clients, and the purpose of usage. Results from scientific research also influence the dose of this herbal supplement.

For the middle age group (45 to 65 years old), a standard daily dose of 120-240 mg promotes cognitive enhancement. For older adults already experiencing a cognitive decline such as dementia, 40-120 mg a day can help to alleviate the symptoms. The dosage rises to 240-360 mg daily to reach a therapeutic level in cognitive problems. A similar dosage of 120-240 mg daily has also shown favorable results in enhancing vision, decreasing asthma symptoms, promoting sex drive, and reducing anxiety and depression. Notably, Ginkgo biloba showed significant results in increasing libido in the female gender.

Healthy young adults (aged 18 to 24) can benefit from the antioxidant property of Ginkgo biloba by taking 80 mg twice a day. In the school-age group (six to twelve years old) with ADHD, an 80 mg dosage for weight less than 66 lbs (30 kg) or 120 mg daily for weight more than 66 lbs improved attentiveness. 

What are the Supplement Forms of Ginkgo Biloba?

As with most herbal supplements, Ginkgo biloba is available in two processed forms: whole leaf and extract. The Ginkgo biloba extract is commonly found as a 50:1 concentrated extract. This means that it takes 50 kilograms of dried Ginkgo leaf to produce 1 kilogram of the concentrated extract. Its registered name is EGb 761, a standardized extract containing 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. The following are the supplement forms of Ginkgo biloba:

  1. Pills: This supplement form can be manufactured purely with Ginkgo biloba or with other herbal extracts and compounds. Available in tablet or capsule form, pills can contain the standardized 24% ginkgoflavonoids and 6% terpene lactones.
  2. Powder: This organic form of Ginkgo leaf extract contains no gelatin, carrier oils, or other compounds.
  3. Tea: This delivery form is from the dried leaves of Ginkgo biloba. 0.03 lbs (15 grams) of dried Ginkgo leaves is equal to 300 mg of EGb 761.

The prices of Ginkgo biloba supplements are relative to the source and quality of ingredients, product form, and packaging, as well as certifications and authentications from third-party organizations. Pills are the most common manufactured form of Ginkgo biloba. Concentration delivery of the standardized EGb 761 formulation is more accurate than powder and tea due to its precise composition. Higher efficacy is likely since each capsule or tablet holds a specific and declared dosage of the herbal supplement. The tea form is less likely to deliver a high Ginkgo biloba dosage, as compared to the other preparations, since it is most often composed of whole Ginkgo leaf.

What are the Most Common Questions for Ginkgo Biloba Usage?

Comparable to other herbal supplements, there are questions about Ginkgo biloba needing answers before taking the supplement. Knowing whether it affects vital organs or not, the frequency of administration, and if our pets are safe are deciding factors to consider. Below are the most common questions for Ginkgo biloba.

Is Ginkgo Biloba Good for Memory?

Yes, Ginkgo biloba is good for memory. The supplement continues to gain traction in the United States because of its ability to promote cognitive health. It has been used widely in patients with Alzheimer’s and age-associated dementia, and normal aging. The memory-enhancing capability of Ginkgo biloba is attributed to its ability to increase cerebral blood flow. A dosage of 120 mg to 300 mg per day in two to three divided doses has shown positive effects when taken for disorders of memory. 

Is Ginkgo Biloba good for the Kidneys? 

Yes, Ginkgo biloba is good for the kidneys in certain conditions. In one study by Xu-sheng Li et al., Ginkgo biloba has shown beneficial effects in protecting the vascular endothelial function in patients with diabetic nephropathy (a long-term kidney disease brought about by high blood pressure in patients with diabetes). It also possesses a renoprotective characteristic against a low dose of carbon tetrachloride in male rats. Carbon tetrachloride is a colorless, volatile, and highly stable hydrocarbon that is toxic to humans when inhaled or ingested. However, more research is needed to further document and examine how Ginkgo affects the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation identified Ginkgo biloba as one of 39 herbs that can be harmful to patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Is Ginkgo Biloba Good for Tinnitus?

No, Ginkgo biloba has not been proven beneficial for persons suffering purely from tinnitus. However, there were instances when individuals with secondary tinnitus from dementia and cognitive decline reported decreased symptoms. Still, more studies are needed to establish this effect. 

Are Ginkgo Biloba Supplements Approved by the Authorities?

There is no requirement for extensive pre-marketing approval by the federal laws for dietary supplements in the United States. The Ginkgo biloba supplements marketed in the US are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are classified as ‘Generally Recognized as Safe.’ 

Is Ginkgo Biloba an Anticoagulant? 

No, there is no substantial evidence that Ginkgo biloba is an anticoagulant. An anticoagulant drug is a type of medicine that inhibits the blood from forming clots reducing the risk of a heart attack. In clinical studies involving Ginkgo biloba and blood thinners (like warfarin and aspirin), there is no significant change in the bleeding parameters with or without the herb. While a few studies recorded the Ginkgo biloba as potent platelet-activating factor antagonists, the doses need to be approximately 100-fold higher than the usual dose of 120-240 mg of GBE daily for the effect to happen. There were also few case reports associated with bleeding and long-standing Ginkgo supplement use, but the case reports compromised only a small population, and no published clinical trials involving thousands of participants documented bleeding complications.

Can you take Ginkgo Biloba at Night?

Ginkgo biloba can be taken at night. It has been proven to aid in relieving stress and anxiety. While this might help induce relaxation and sleep, there is, however, no study supporting the influence of Ginkgo biloba on REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement (the stage of sleep when a person dreams). 

Can you take Ginkgo Biloba after a Meal?


Yes. It is best to take Ginkgo biloba after a meal. Ginkgo contains water-soluble compounds; consuming it with a glass of water aids in fast absorption. 

Can you take Ginkgo Biloba Every Day?

Ginkgo biloba is generally safe to take every day. Precaution should be observed, though, when taking the drug long-term in combination with other medications. There are recorded case reports of subdural hematoma and spontaneous hyphema in chronic GBE consumption.

Can a Child take Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba is safe to be taken by children ages six to twelve years old, specifically those with ADHD. The herbal supplement decreased the attention symptoms of the condition. The dosage can be 80 mg per day for weight below 66 lbs (30 kg) or 120 mg daily for weight above 66 pounds. However, there is no published research on the safety and efficacy of Ginkgo biloba for children below six years old and for other case uses. 

Can your Pet Consume Ginkgo Biloba?

There is no recorded evidence of Ginkgo biloba being safe to be taken by household pets. To date, only several mice species have been used in experiments conducted to explore the benefits of Ginkgo biloba extract for human consumption.

Which Tree Produces Ginkgo Biloba?

The Maidenhair tree, the English name for Ginkgo biloba, produces the Ginkgo biloba extract used in traditional and alternative medicine. It is a deciduous tree with characteristic bilobed leaves. The Ginkgo trees continue to grow in China and in the metropolitan areas where they are seen lined in highways due to their ability to withstand environmental stressors.

 

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What is the Nutritional Value of Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba produced in capsules and tablets using the standardized formulation of 24% ginkgoflavonoids and 6% terpene lactones contains 0g calories, 0g total carbs, 0g net carbs, 0g fat, and 0g protein. The Ginkgo biloba tea may contain 10g calories. 

Unlike the leaves, Ginkgo seeds, which have been used in East-Asian cuisine and Chinese traditional medicine, contain vitamins and minerals. They are taken only in limited amounts. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, per 100 grams of Ginkgo nuts have the following nutritional value:

  • Calories 182 Kcal
  • Carbohydrates 37.6 g
  • Protein 4.32 g
  • Total Fat 1.68 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Folates 54 µg
  • Niacin 6 mg
  • Pantothenic acid 0.160 mg
  • Pyridoxine 0.328 mg
  • Riboflavin 0.160 mg
  • Thiamin 0.220 mg
  • Vitamin A 588 IU
  • Vitamin C 15 mg
  • Sodium 7 mg
  • Potassium 510 mg
  • Calcium 2 mg
  • Copper 0.274 mg
  • Iron 1.00 mg
  • Magnesium 27 mg
  • Manganese 0.113 mg
  • Phosphorus 124 mg
  • Zinc 0.34 mg

What are the Top Scientific Research Topics for Ginkgo Biloba?

With the introduction of its medical usage in the 1960s, numerous studies support the positive effects of Ginkgo biloba in promoting health and treating diseases. Here are the top scientific research topics for Ginkgo biloba and its relation to health conditions in PubMed:

  1. Memory
  2. Alzheimer’s disease
  3. Dementia
  4. Tinnitus
  5. Microvascular protection/ blood flow enhancement

What are the Differences Between Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng?

Ginkgo biloba and ginseng are two of the most popular herbs in the world. They are used for different purposes, including improving mental function, boosting energy levels, and improving sex drive. Both the herbs possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Despite their similarities, there are some salient differences between Ginkgo biloba and ginseng.

The Ginkgo biloba extract used in standardized supplements is from the leaves of the Maidenhair tree. The usual daily dosage of 120-240mg of GBE helps increase macrocirculation and microcirculation, improving eyesight. It also relieves symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome in women. Psychiatric Medicine benefits from the ability of Ginkgo biloba to reduce symptoms of psychiatric distress, decrease anxiety, and alleviate depression. It is proven safe to be taken by children as young as six years with ADHD and elderlies as old as 70 for cognitive support. It also relieves migraines and headaches.

On the other hand, ginseng uses its rhizome (often called roots as a misnomer) to harness its medical uses. Ginseng root, usually available dried, increases the male sexual hormone, acts as a stimulant and lowers blood sugar. 

Both Ginkgo biloba and ginseng have been used in certain medical case uses. Ginseng can be used as an alternative in promoting cognitive health, decreasing oxidative stress, and reducing inflammation.

Resources

  1. Isah, T. (2015). Rethinking Ginkgo biloba L.: Medicinal uses and conservation. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 9(18), 140. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.162137
  2. Roland, P., & Nergård, C. (2012). Ginkgo biloba – effekt, bivirkninger og interaksjoner. Tidsskrift For Den Norske Legeforening, 132(8), 956-959. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.11.0780
  3. Nguyen, T., & Alzahrani, T. (2021). Ginkgo Biloba. Statpearls Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541024/
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